Koivu plans on returning for Olympics

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 11, 2014 - 11:50 PM
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Mikko Koivu was helped off the ice and to the Wild dressing room after sustaining an injury during second-period play against Washington.

The pain in Mikko Koivu’s surgically repaired right ankle already is fading. The same can’t be said for his frustration.

Koivu, on crutches, said Saturday that he plans on returning to action before the Olympic break, and that he expects to be ready to play for Finland when those Olympics begin. But, for the near future, Koivu will have to watch. And that isn’t easy.

“I’m not going to sit here and say I haven’t thought about it,” said Koivu, who took a puck to the skate Jan. 4 in the Wild’s game with Washington. He left the game briefly, then returned long enough to pick up assists on two Ryan Suter goals before leaving the game for good. He had surgery two days later. He is expected to be out 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 in a row after a six-game losing streak. Since then, the injury-riddled Wild has won two more and brought a four-game winning streak into Saturday’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.’’

If available, Koivu is expected to be the captain of the Finnish squad, though he said Saturday he had not been told that yet.

A good sign: Harding on skates

Josh Harding skated on his own with goalie coach Bob Mason before the rest of the team took the ice Saturday for the pregame skate.

Wild coach Mike Yeo said it’s a good sign for Harding, who had not been feeling well and had missed five games in a row. Before 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 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.”

Injury updates

• Yeo said there is no specific timetable for Zach Parise to return to practice. Parise, who has a broken foot, has missed eight consecutive 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 he is cleared 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) was scheduled to meet with a doctor Saturday evening, after which a timetable for his return to action might be available.

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