Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

Email Michael to talk about hockey.

Koivu believes he will return to the lineup before the Olympic break

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild pregame skate Updated: January 11, 2014 - 12:53 PM

Mikko Koivu, on crutches, met with members of the media after the Wild’s morning skate today. It didn’t take long to get the impression that, while the pain in his surgically-repaired right ankle is already fading, it will take much longer for his frustration to do the same.

He, along with other key Wild players, has to watch his team play. And then there is the question of the upcoming Winter Olympics, where he is expected to captain the Finnish team.

“I’m not going to sit here and say I haven’t thought about it,” said Koivu, who took a puck to the skate in the Wild’s game with Washington Jan. 4. He left the game briefly, then returned long enough to pick up assists on two Ryan Suter goals before ultimately leaving the game for good. He had surgery two days later. The prognosis for his return is about four weeks.

“More than anything, I think it’s just the frustration, when you’re in the middle of the season, you feel good and we were starting to get on a roll again, things like that,” Koivu said. “The frustration, that’s the biggest thing, not being able to do the things with the team.’’

The Washington victory was the team’s second straight after ending a six-game losing streak. Since then the injury-riddled Wild has won two more and is bringing four-game winning streak into tonight’s game with Colorado.

That said, Koivu  said he believes he will play in the Olympics, and he is confident he will have returned to action with the Wild before the Olympics begin. Given the general four-week timetable, that will be cutting it close. The Wild plays 13 more games before breaking for the Olympics, with games Feb. 1, 4 and 6.

“I’m pretty confident on the Olympics, that I’ll be there,” Koivu said. “But it’s too early to make that call. What the time schedule will be, I don’t know that right now. I don’t think anyone does. But, talking to people who have had (the same surgery), and talking to the doctors, I think I’ll be playing games here before the Olympics start.’’

Asked if he’d be willing to wear extra skate protection going forward, Koivu wavered, saying he’d heard the protection makes skating less comfortable. “If they can make a good one, make it comfortable? I’m sure I’d wear one,” he said. “But we’ll see.”

Here are some other notes from this morning:

--Josh Harding skated on his own with goalie coach Bob Mason before the rest of the team took the ice Saturday. Wild coach Yeo says it's a good sign for Harding, who has missed the past four games due to not feeling well. Prior to a two-game return in losses to the Islanders and St. Louis, Harding missed another four games to make what was termed "a minor adjustment" to his treatment protocol for multiple sclerosis. Yeo said it was a good sign to see Harding on the ice, but didn’t have a specific timetable for Harding’s return. “I talked to him this morning and he’s been feeling better the last couple days,” Yeo said. “So we’ll look for him to join the group here soon.

--Yeo said there is no specific timetable for Zach Parise to return to practice. Parise, who has a broken foot, has missed eight straight games.  Yeo said the hope is for Parise to get back on the ice next week, most likely skating on his own a few times before the decision is made for him to return to practice. “He’s getting there,” Yeo said. “He’s feeling better. Obviously, we’d be very anxious for him to rejoin the group here. So, hopefully, sometime next week we can get him with us.’’

--Defenseman Jared Spurgeon (foot) is scheduled to meet with a doctor some time Saturday evening, after which a timetable for his return to action might be available.

--Yeo said he’d be going with the same lineup tonight as he did in Phoenix, which means defenseman Jonathon Blum will be in the ice again. Yeo wouldn’t say who would start in goal, but it appears Niklas Backstrom will get the start tonight, with Darcy Kuemper going tomorrow in Nashville. 

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 2 Top 9th Inning
Washington 4
Baltimore 5 Bottom 7th Inning
NY Yankees 2
Kansas City 7 Bottom 8th Inning
Cleveland 0
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 2 FINAL
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 10
Chicago WSox 0 Bottom 8th Inning
Detroit 3
Philadelphia - LP: C. Hamels 0 FINAL
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 2
Pittsburgh 3 Top 9th Inning
Atlanta 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3
Tampa Bay 5 Bottom 8th Inning
Boston 1
Houston 0 Top 6th Inning
Texas 2
St. Louis 3 Top 6th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Arizona 1 Bottom 5th Inning
Minnesota 4
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 0 FINAL
Buffalo 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Columbus 2
Boston 2 3rd Prd 7:31
Montreal 2
Nashville 2 3rd Prd 11:25
Tampa Bay 2
Philadelphia 0 3rd Prd 5:33
Toronto 4
Detroit 1 2nd Prd 8:33
Chicago 0
San Jose 0 2nd Prd
Vancouver 1
Arizona 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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