ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu decided his surgically repaired right ankle has not healed enough to allow him to play for Finland in the Olympics.
Koivu, who had surgery after fracturing his right ankle while blocking a shot on Jan. 4, has been out the past 15 games for Minnesota heading into the Olympic break.
”I just don’t feel healthy enough to feel that I can play at the level that I want,” Koivu said. ”I really think it’s not fair for my teammates with Minnesota, with Team Finland, the management in Team Finland and most important it’s not fair for myself either.
”It’s been going on the last two weeks, but for sure the last week, just back and forth the emotions have been up and down. Had a good day, then following day it would be worse.
”Just the level that I’ve been skating by myself, I haven’t practicing with my team that’s here, I just don’t think it’s fair to anyone to play for Team Finland.”
Koivu, a two-time Olympian, was the likely captain for Finland, which won the bronze medal in the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
Koivu captained the 2011 and 2012 Finnish world championship teams, including the 2011 team that won the gold medal. Koivu’s brother, Saku, has captained the team the past four Olympic teams for Finland.
A captain for the Wild, Koivu has eight goals and 27 assists in 44 games this season.
Koivu had surgery on Jan. 6, hoping the surgery would accelerate his timetable for recovery. He’s been skating on his own, said he was frustrated about having pain after his attempts at skating.
Koivu said he will take some time off and is hopeful the rest will allow him to return when Minnesota comes back after the Olympic break with a game Feb. 27 at Edmonton.
”That’s definitely the goal,” Koivu said. ”But I don’t want to say anything right now. I thought I would be going to Sochi right now if you asked me that three weeks ago.
”Now I’m just going to go day by day and make the plan with the doctors and the trainers and then keep working on it and try to get better and stronger each and every day.”