Koivu returns to practice for the Wild

TUESDAY’S STORY LINE: As expected, Wild captain Mikko Koivu joined his teammates at practice for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury Jan. 14.

Koivu, who has 33 points in 41 games this season, was happy to be back with his team.

“It feels good, to be practicing with the rest of the team, mentally it is a lot more fun,” Koivu said.

Still, there is no timetable for his return. Koivu looked good skating and shooting but didn’t take any contact. His ability to withstand contact will be a key to his return.

“The fact that he is on the ice with us right now means that he is much closer,” coach Mike Yeo said.

Yeo sexpects both Koivu and Guillaume Latendresse to travel with the team on its upcoming road trip, which begins Thursday at Colorado.

HE SAID IT: “I find that not too many times do you look at a team that is successful and they are bouncing back and forth from one goalie to another. I think we were able to do that earlier in the year, but certainly down the stretch it is a lot easier for guys to prepare to get into a groove, to get feeling good about their game the more that they are playing. Having said that, we are not just going to give it to anybody, someone is going to have to step up and grab it.” – Yeo on either Josh Harding or Niklas Backstrom starting in goal for the Wild