It appears that Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu will finally be returning from a separated shoulder that he suffered against the St. Louis Blues on January 14th. Koivu has been battling to get back, and was thought to have a good chance of hitting the ice on Tuesday in the team’s 3-1 loss in Columbus, but that was not the case. However, forward Jed Ortmeyer has been sent back down to Houston, which would make enough room on the roster for Koivu to play tonight night against the Vancouver Canucks.
Mikko’s return is badly needed by the Wild right now. It has not been playing as well as it can or with enough energy consistently, and that is a big problem for a team that is hanging onto the 8th spot in the Western Conference by a point. Koivu has shown us time and again that he is the leader on this team and makes everyone around him better. When he steps on the ice, his motor never stops, and after awhile it becomes contagious.
Minnesota starts a four game home stand against Vancouver tonight, and will need to play an up-tempo game for all 60+ minutes. They should have some extra motivation after dropping a game to the worst team in the NHL on Tuesday night. The Wild is 1-2-1 against Vancouver this year, winning the one match played in St. Paul. The Canucks are hot right now, but goaltender Roberto Luongo, who has shut out the Wild in three straight starts, will be on the bench tonight, giving way to Cory Schneider. Minnesota has won five of their last six games at home against Vancouver, and another tally added to that win column may prove to be incredibly important down the stretch.
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