Wild center Mikko Koivu

Ann Heisenfelt, Associated Press


Koivu not ruling out All-Star appearance

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO
  • Star Tribune
  • January 18, 2012 - 9:55 PM

TORONTO - The NHL has agreed to delay for a few days naming a replacement for injured Mikko Koivu in the All-Star Game because the Wild captain still hopes to play.

General Manager Chuck Fletcher said he spoke with league executive Brendan Shanahan on Wednesday.

Koivu suffered a shoulder injury Saturday in St. Louis and is sidelined "week-to-week."

"Medically, whether this happens or not, I don't know," Fletcher said. "But I never doubt Mikko. Mikko is a proud guy, and in a perfect world, he'd love to play."

"I just don't know. I've seen guys come back in two weeks from these type of injuries and I've seen it take quite a bit longer, so we'll see."

Needed words

The Wild had a team meeting before Wednesday's practice because coach Mike Yeo said his team must channel its frustration "the right way."

Players are trying to compensate for injured scorers and doing too much. The team is so fragile, bad things that happen in games seem to compound in more bad things. And players are starting to take bad penalties, including Cal Clutterbuck, who took four against the Flyers.

The Welland, Ontario, native said he woke up in a "good mood" and "happy" Wednesday and is ready "to go win a hockey game" in front of friends and family Thursday against the Maple Leafs.

"Yeah, it's tough," Clutterbuck said. "Guys care so much, they want to do so much to win hockey games. Once we get down by a goal, we all try to do more than we're supposed to, and that's what's giving us fits.

"We all want to win really bad, I can guarantee that. We're competitive guys. It's not fun for us right now. We're trying to get things back on track."

New top line

Thursday, fourth-line checker Warren Peters will center snakebit top-liners Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley.

"We're ready to experiment and try new things," Yeo said. "Status quo is not what we're looking for right now. We're also trying to learn from the last time Mikko was out and the way we performed in those games, not just as a team but also what that did to individuals as well."

Yeo said the Wild has been struggling so much with its execution in the defensive zone, it has led to Heatley (one goal in seven games) doing "an awful lot of defending."

Yeo hopes Peters' defensive prowess will "give Heater and Seto a chance to get back to their game, which is playing in the offensive zone."

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