Foster: From one Koivu to another

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 28, 2011 - 1:28 AM

Kurtis Foster, who became good friends playing with Mikko Koivu with the Wild, now is skating alongside Saku Koivu with the Ducks.

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Defenseman Kurtis Foster during his days with the Wild.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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On Sunday, Kurtis Foster made his season debut for the Anaheim Ducks. The former Wild defenseman scored a goal -- ironically assisted by Saku Koivu.

"My wife [Stephanie] had a good laugh about it because she said the way Saku celebrated was the exact same way Mikko did back in the day when I scored against Nashville my first game here," Foster said before playing the Wild on Thursday.

Foster and Wild captain Mikko Koivu, a groomsman at Foster's wedding, became close friends during their four years together in Minnesota.

"So it's been fun getting to know Saku. The first day I met him in camp, it's like I had known him for years," Foster said of Koivu's legendary brother, who is 8 1/2 years older. "They're different in their own ways, but very similar, too."

Foster said the Koivu Bros. share identical intensity, comparable moves and skating styles.

"The only difference is Mikko is a lot bigger," Foster said. "Saku's the wily veteran. He takes his optional."

Wednesday night, Mikko Koivu invited Foster and his brother to his new home in Edina for a sauna, then dinner.

"Mikko and I were giving each other a hard time. I think Saku sees a different side of Mikko when he's with me because he's such the older brother," Foster said.

Foster's excited to be back in the Ducks lineup. It's been more than three years since Foster broke his left femur with the Wild, but just before Anaheim's training camp, Foster had a complication that required thigh surgery.

"A day before camp, my left quad was sore. I didn't think anything of it. I woke up the morning of fitness testing, and my leg had ballooned up," Foster said.

Tests showed that a wire that was wrapped around his bone during that previous operation had untied.

"It was sticking horizontally right into my muscle," he said. "So I had bleeding and bruising in my quad. They reopened me, lifted the muscle off the wire and snipped it right at the bone."

Stoner injured

The Wild played the final 37 minutes during Thursday's 3-2 loss without defenseman Clayton Stoner, who suffered a finger injury when it by a shot six seconds into his second shift of the second period.

Coach Mike Yeo didn't have an update on the seriousness after the game.

Latendresse returns

Guillaume Latendresse returned to the lineup after missing a game because of a groin injury, but the power forward began on the fourth line and logged 13 1/2 minutes.

Yeo said he's happy with Latendresse's play, but "I'm not big on guys missing a week's time and all of a sudden he has one practice and jumps back in."

Latendresse called it a "coach's decision," saying, he'd work his way back up to his quality ice time and role. He did see parts of the game on the first line

Etc.

• With Latendresse back and Nick Johnson earning another look, Brad Staubitz was scratched one game after committing two costly penalties in Vancouver.

"This guy's an unbelievable teammate and all he wants to do is help his team," Yeo said. "We have a couple guys that almost the harder you try and the more you want to impact the game, that's a great thing, but you have to stay in control.

"Stauby, it's just a matter of, 'OK, just calm down and play your game.' He knows and we'll continue to reinforce that we can't have him taking minor penalties." ...

• There was a moment of silence before Thursday's game to honor Gordy Lee, the timekeeper at Wild games since 2000 who died Sunday.

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