Mikko Koivu practiced today with the Wild as it prepares for tomorrow night’s game against Vancouver, but it’s still not certain the Wild captain will play, three weeks after separating his left shoulder in a game at St. Louis on Jan. 14.
“It’s getting better each and every day it’s getting stronger. That’s a good sign,” Koivu said. “Being in practice and being involved physically and having contact, you get more comfortable each and every time it happens. It helps a lot conditioning-wise but more important timing-wise.”
Jed Ortmeyer was placed on waivers so he can return to Houston, however, so it seems likely Koivu will return.
Coach Mike Yeo will make a decision tomorrow on Koivu, but said after practice, “He had a great practice today and was involved in every battle drill. But obviously we have to see how he is tomorrow. But encouraging today that’s for sure.”
It’s likely Koivu would center Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi upon his return.
“We have to make sure with Mikko coming back, he’s such an important part of our team, that we surround him the right way,” Yeo said. “Putting him with Seto and Heater gives us a chance to get that line going and contributing. ... We need more than one line scoring right now. This time of the year, you need lines to go out and be real solid defensively. Lines that can go out against top players. But you need different lines contributing.”
Yeo also said this about a possible trade: “The one thing our entire team needs right now is just to go out on the ice with the idea that we’re good enough because we are. Obviously, if we can do things to make our team better I know there’s not a GM in the league who’s working harder than Chuck [Fletcher] on this. But having said that, we’ve beaten all the good teams in the West. We’ve proven ourself. When we play our game, we’ve proven what we can do.”