The hits keep coming for Wild: Koivu will miss a month

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 7, 2014 - 9:58 AM

The Wild, already missing three key players, will be without its captain because of ankle surgery.

 

– As if missing a first-line left winger, a No. 1 goalie and a top-four defenseman wasn’t big enough, the Wild got another kick from the hockey gods.

Leading scorer and team captain Mikko Koivu had surgery to repair a fractured right ankle Monday and is expected to miss a month. Koivu’s third Olympic Games appearance for Finland also is in jeopardy, and the Wild will attempt to climb into the playoff race without the help of its first-line center.

The news came as the Wild touched down in southern California to begin a two-game road trip that starts Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The Wild is 1-8-1 in its past 10 road games.

“Timing stinks. We were starting to play better, and now we have a few of our key guys out,” said General Manager Chuck Fletcher, referring to Zach Parise missing the past six games, goalie Josh Harding out six of the past eight and defenseman Jared Spurgeon sidelined for a couple of weeks.

“I don’t think you’d ever want to have four of those guys go out at the same time. If you can, you prefer to stagger it. You don’t get these choices. There’s an opportunity now for [Mikael] Granlund and [Charlie] Coyle in particular to take on a bigger role on the team. I know there will be challenges ahead, but we’ll embrace them.”

Erik Haula, 22, was recalled from Iowa of the AHL and will center the third line. Coyle, 21, assumed Koivu’s spot on the top line with veterans Dany Heatley and Jason Pominville.

Coyle has four goals and eight assists and is minus-9 in 32 games. Granlund continues to center an all-21-year-old line with Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker.

“Those three guys are going to get a real taste of a heavy workload,” coach Mike Yeo said.

Koivu was injured early in the second period in Saturday’s victory over Washington. He was struck by Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom’s dump-in from a few feet away. Koivu struggled to the bench but returned three minutes later and assisted on Ryan Suter’s power-plays goals 42 seconds apart.

Koivu, who is five points from becoming the Wild’s all-time leading scorer, didn’t play the final eight minutes of the game and was in such pain that Yeo sent him to the locker room.

“If there’s any question about his character or how high his competitive level is, I think this incident certainly should answer that,” Fletcher said.

Besides leading the Wild with 35 points, Koivu ranks third among all NHL forwards in average ice time (21 minutes, 34 seconds a game), ranks 16th in faceoff win percentage (.557) and seventh in faceoffs taken (888).

Fletcher said the hope is Koivu can return by early February and still head to Sochi, Russia, for the Olympics. Koivu, who won a silver medal at the 2006 Olympics and bronze medal at the 2010 Olympics, or his older brother, Anaheim’s Saku Koivu, is expected to captain Finland.

“We’ll see how the recovery and the rehab goes,” Fletcher said. “The surgery speeds up the recovery by about four weeks.”

Parise, recovering from a broken foot, might start skating late this week, said Fletcher, who has been exploring trade options.

“It’s just a very difficult league to do things in,” he said. “Nobody’s moving their good players right now and everyone is still in the race. So we’ll see what this does, but we can’t overreact. I think certainly [Tuesday] night we’ll see how we do and try to get a feel for what this group needs.”

 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota - T. May 6:05 PM
Baltimore - M. Gonzalez
NY Yankees - C. Capuano 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Buehrle
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. deGrom
Boston - A. Ranaudo 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Miami - T. Koehler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - E. Santana
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll
Texas - S. Baker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Colorado - C. Bergman 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Oakland - J. Lester 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Los Angeles - D. Haren 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Washington - J. Zimmermann 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 7:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix
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: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close