By MICHAEL RUSSO
As anticipated all summer after GM Chuck Fletcher and coach Todd Richards made clear the years of monthly captaincy rotations were history, Mikko Koivu was named the first-ever permanent captain of the Wild today.
The natural born leader, who grew up in the same household as longtime former Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu, has the respect of his teammates.
Koivu, 26, performed marvelously under the weight of the `C' last season, leading the Wild in scoring and helping the team to a 31-19-6 record during his four stints as captain.
It seemed logical that Richards' first captain would be a core part of the future, only the coach decided to wait a month to observe the players on and off the ice.
"He has the demeanor for it," Andrew Brunette said during training camp.
Besides talking to refs, the captain is the liaison between playerand coach. He also is responsible for speaking up in the locker room, coordinating team functions and being accountable to the media on asemi-daily basis.
"That's the fun part of the job," quipped Koivu last month.
In other news, Wild defenseman Jaime Sifers cleared waivers, so the Wild can send him to the minors if it chooses.