Wild notes: Koivu loosens up

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 30, 2013 - 10:18 PM
hide

Wild captain Mikko Koivu enters the season with two strong linemates in Zach Parise and Jason Pominville.

Photo: Ann Heisenfelt, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

– The Wild captain is relaxed, happy and smiling. It’s been that way throughout training camp, quite the contrast for the normally serious, steely-eyed Mikko Koivu.

“You almost think, ‘Should I be more tense?’ ” Koivu joked last week.

But Koivu, drafted sixth overall by the Wild 12 years ago and now the longest-tenured Wild player, looks around the locker room and is optimistic going into the season.

He’s on a line that could be dubbed “Tres Capitanes,” as former New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise flanks Koivu’s left and former Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville flanks his right. And Koivu sees a solid balance between youth and veterans.

“Culture wise, you see the guys, their work ethic on and off the ice, and how everybody takes care of themselves, that’s a big change for us,” Koivu said Sunday, an unconcealed denunciation of a few former teammates. “I feel we’re going in the right direction right now when you look at the young kids and veteran guys.”

It was a long summer for Koivu. It took awhile to get over the Wild’s first-round playoff loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a series in which Koivu received much criticism for going without a point.

“You’re playing well during the year, and the downside at the end, of course it bothers you,” Koivu said. “If that’s the middle of the season, no one even remembers that. It happens at that point, you want to learn from that. Every day counts, and I learned that big-time last year.”

Koivu may be 30 now, he may be 40 points from passing Marian Gaborik for the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, but he’s still learning every day. He badly wants to lead the Wild to something special, and coach Mike Yeo believes the Parise-Koivu-Pominville line has that capability.

“Those are the guys, when the puck’s dropped and they go over the boards, all eyes go on them and that’s what you want,” Yeo said. “We have a great deal of leaders now. But when they step on the ice, they’re leading by example.

“We’re real fortunate to have that kind of character.”

Koivu and the rest of the line wasn’t happy with their game in Friday’s preseason finale in St. Louis. Koivu and Pominville were on the ice for all four Blues goals, Parise for three — not something you’d expect from three strong two-way forwards.

“We have the makings of being a good line, but it was a reminder that it starts defensively,” Pominville said. “We all work hard. The offense will come when we have the puck and take care of it.”

Koivu wasn’t with the Wild practicing or golfing in Duluth on Monday. He’ll join for Tuesday’s practice, spending an extra day at home with his fiancée, Helena, and newborn daughter, Sofie.

“It definitely brings another aspect to my life and makes you look at things a little different,” Koivu said. “Bad practice or bad game or one mistake, it’s not going to be the end of the world anymore like it was when I was younger.

“So far the change has been in a good way. It’s still fun coming to work and playing the game and being around the guys here. But I’m in a little more rush to go home now, too.”

Back home

Monday was a homecoming for Justin Fontaine, who played four years at Minnesota Duluth and won a national championship with the Bulldogs in 2011.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close