Souhan: Wild needs more out of Koivu

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 8, 2013 - 1:50 PM

Isn’t it time for Mikko Koivu to punch someone? Or something?

Isn’t it time for Captain Cipher to display a smidgen of emotion, even if he can’t provide a point or make one memorable play?

With an 8:30 p.m. starting time, following a rousing victory at home two days earlier, the Wild’s Game 4 against the Chicago Blackhawks promised to produce the kind of combative play and alcohol-infused crowd response that is the signature of playoff hockey.

Instead, Game 4 turned into one of those mixed martial arts bouts that begins with a flurry of punches and ends with one combatant getting the other into an awkward position and holding on until time, or his opponents’ breath, runs out.

There have been more violent games of Scrabble.

The Blackhawks’ 3-0 victory on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center was not the product of the kind of physical play or anger both teams have talked about so much this week. They were simply the more skilled team, and their 3-1 lead in the series is indicative of their edge in talent and depth.

If the Wild was going to make a game out of Game 4, or a series out of its matchup with a No. 1 seed, it was going to need a leader, and what has been established in this series is that the reputation of its captain would have been better served had the Wild missed the playoffs.

Koivu is minus-5 for the series and has yet to score. Asked whether his team needs to assert itself physically the way it did in Game 3, he said “We’ve got to find that again. Obviously, when you’re down and chasing it’s a different game, but you’ve got to find a way to create that pressure and a lot of times that’s how we create offense. We’ve got to put more pressure on them.”

Captain Cipher has given his team less than nothing.

Chicago already had taken a 1-0 lead on a Patrick Sharp goal when Wild starting goalie Josh Harding, playing all series in place of the injured Niklas Backstrom, was injured late in the first period.

With Darcy Kuemper taking over in the second period, Chicago’s next shot, a long wrist shot from Sharp that seemed intended to test Kuemper, went through the rookie to make it 2-0.

That goal, like Sharp’s first, was the result of a turnover by Wild forward Zach Parise, a big part of another mediocre performance by the Wild’s first line.

That first line combines the Wild’s current franchise player (Parise), their former franchise player (Koivu), and their best young forward (Charlie Coyle.)

Other than a slick pass from Coyle to Parise in Game 3 for a goal, that line has produced nothing in this series, with Koivu being particularly invisible. Parise is minus-6 for the series.

“We’ve got to score,” Parise said. “That’s no secret.”

After two periods Tuesday, Koivu, Parise and Coyle were all minus-2. Koivu and Parise were also part of a power play that, to that point, was 0-for-13 in the series.

When the power play reached 0-for-14, the fans jeered. When the power play reached 0-for-15, the fans hardly seemed to notice. The crowd began dispersing after Chicago made it 3-0 in the third period.

Parise has created chances and put shots on net in the series. It’s hard to say what Koivu has contributed. He hasn’t been particularly physical. He hasn’t created scoring chances for his teammates. He hasn’t been effective defensively.

Koivu produced one good shift near the end of the game, with his team down 3-0, putting one shot on net and harassing a couple of Blackhawks near their goal. A couple of minutes later, as time expired, the fans booed their team off the ice.

What promised to be a great night for hockey in St. Paul became the quietest — and dullest — night of the series. Whether on the power play or along the boards, The Captain did nothing to incite the crowd or inspire his teammates. That has become a trend.

 

Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
UCF 45 FINAL
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
UMBC 39 FINAL
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
NJIT 71
TCU 70 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
USC 74 FINAL
UCLA 85
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
UNLV 58
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close