Wild's Koivu 'week-to-week' with injury
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Less than a week after learning it would be without its fourth-leading scorer, Pierre-Marc Bouchar (concussion symptoms), indefinitely, the Minnesota Wild on Monday got even worse news: Center Mikko Koivu, the team leader in points, said he is "week-to-week" because of an upper-body injury.
Koivu, selected to his first All-Star Game last week, said he will most likely be re-evaluated by doctors in a week. The team captain had just gotten back to 100 percent after suffering a lower-body injury in December.
Koivu, who has nine goals and 24 assists, was injured when he took a hit in the corner from St. Louis forward Vladimir Sobotka in the first period Saturday. The hit, which was clean, didn't look particularly bad, but Koivu said he knew immediately something was wrong.
"I was ready for the hit; I was steady," he said Monday. "I hit him back a little bit. I took the hit like always; there is nothing you can do differently. It just got me in the right spot."
Koivu said the injury is not as bad as he first thought and that it will allow him to skate and keep his conditioning up.
"As long as you can stay on your skates . . . (that) is obviously way better than riding the bike or just doing stuff at the gym," he said.
The ability to stay in shape will make Koivu's transition back into the lineup easier. But when that transition will happen is unknown.
For now, he would have to be considered questionable for the Jan. 29 All-Star Game. Wild coach Mike Yeo said he doesn't expect Koivu back before the break, and the team is clinging to the eighth spot in the Western Conference after holding the league's best record in mid-December. Minnesota is about to play three of four games on the road before the All-Star break.
Yeo didn't like the way his team played the last time Koivu was out of the lineup, and the coach believes the Wild will draw from that experience.
"All we need is for each player to go out and do what he does and do it really well," Yeo said. "Whatever it is, you are supposed to bring to the table what role you have, you have to continue to do that. You have to continue to do that really well."
Koivu's scoring isn't the only thing the Wild will miss. His leadership is just as important.
"We have our assistant captains right now, and those guys, like always, will be counted on," Yeo said. "But we also believe we have some younger guys that have the ability to be really good leaders, and we need those guys to step up big."