Found December 26, 2011 on
Fox Sports North:
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Wild have struggled to stay healthy as of late, but they got one of their key players back on the ice Monday night.
Wild captain Mikko Koivu was back in action Monday against Colorado after missing four games with a leg injury. While the Wild fell 4-2 to the Avalanche for their seventh loss in a row, they were glad to see their captain back.
"It's so nice to have our leader back in the lineup," said Wild forward Matt Cullen. "He was good tonight. I thought he did a good job. An important part of our team."
Despite missing Minnesota's last four games, Koivu led the Wild with 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists) prior to Monday. He added to his team-leading 29th point total with an assist in the second period.
Koivu played the puck behind the Avalanche net and found a cutting Cal Clutterbuck. Koivu's centering pass hit Clutterbuck on the tape, and he buried it past Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov to give the Wild a 2-1 lead.
"Obviously that second goal, things are looking pretty good when he goes in and makes that play," said Wild head coach Mike Yeo. "But so many other areas, it's where he helps you out defensively, faceoffs, penalty killing and then obviously the ability to make a play."
A year ago, Koivu was again one of Minnesota's top scorers. He had a team-high 45 assists to go along with 17 goals for 62 points. That tied him with winger Martin Havlat for most points on last year's team.
In the four games Koivu missed, Minnesota never scored more than one goal. They were shut out 4-0 by Vancouver and scored just one goal each against the Islanders, Flames and Oilers.
With his assist Monday, Koivu now has points in 14 of his last 15 games (seven goals, 12 assists). Koivu finished with 23:32 of ice time Monday - second among all Wild players - and had three shots on goal.
"He's such a big part of our team," Cullen said of Koivu.
Like his teammates, though, Koivu is frustrated with the Wild's current seven-game losing streak. His return to the lineup Monday wasn't enough to halt the skid.
"I know I can do better," Koivu said. "I think we all can do better, and we have to."
While the Wild got one healthy player back, they lost another to injury Monday. Defenseman Jared Spurgeon was at the wrong end of a vicious check from behind by Colorado forward Cody McLeod in the first period. Spurgeon slammed into the end boards and remained on the ice for several minutes before he was helped off the ice. McLeod was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.
Spurgeon did not return to the game after the hit. Yeo did not have an update on Spurgeon after the game, but said he didn't believe Spurgeon ever lost consciousness after the hit. Spurgeon was not available to the media for postgame comments.
"I didn't like the hit one bit," Yeo said. "On top of that, to me I felt like it was something that they looked like they were targeting him. They hit him from behind two times before that. I thought that one could have been called, too. That one was dangerous. Twice ... five minutes into the game, he gets hit from behind. That one was ugly."
Now, Minnesota must do what it's done far too often lately: replace an injured player in the lineup. Koivu's return provided some offense Monday, but the Wild now lose a solid defenseman in Spurgeon.
"He's been so good for us and such a good player," Cullen said of Spurgeon. "He's been so steady, so good. Obviously we hope he's OK."
Yet while the losing streak continues, the Wild say they won't use injuries as an excuse.
"Every team faces injuries. That's the way it's going to be. You never know who you're going to have in the lineup," Koivu said. "Injuries are a part of the game. You have to battle through. Every single player who's in the lineup has to be ready to play and do the best we can. That's not for us to worry about. We all have to worry about ourselves and prepare the best we can and help this team to win some hockey games again."
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Minnesota Wild's current seven-game losing streak has been marked by a dramatic dip in the offensive output and by absences of key players, most notably Captain Mikko Koivu. The Wild went into the Christmas break on a 0-5-2 run while scoring only 9 goals in those seven games.
That's why you bank as many points as possible early in the season, so when injuries strike...
SAINT PAULMINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - General Manager Chuck Fletcher announced Tuesday the Minnesota Wild has recalled right wing Jon DiSalvatore and defenseman Nate Prosser from the Houston Aeros. The Wild also placed defenseman Clayton Stoner on injured reserve.
The 30-year-old DiSalvatore leads the Aeros with 26 points in 32 games while serving as team captain. He led the Aeros with...
Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu returned Monday against the Colorado Avalanche after missing the past four games with a leg injury. Minnesota (20-11-5) hasn't won since Koivu, its leading scorer, was injured against Chicago on Dec. 14. Koivu has eight goals, 20 assists and a plus-9 rating this season.
Mikko Koivu, the Wild's top center, captain and leader, will return to the lineup after missing five games with a leg injury.
Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu returned Monday against the Colorado Avalanche after missing the past four games with a leg injury.
Not even the return of captain and leading scorer Mikko Koivu could help the Minnesota Wild end their losing streak.
If the Nashville Predators are going to break out of their brief funk, they'll have to do it without their own leader.
The Wild will look to snap a seven-game skid Wednesday night while the Predators try again to adapt to life without star defenseman Shea Weber...
Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon left Monday's contest against the Colorado Avalanche.
7:00 PM CT – Wild (20-12-5) @ Predators (18-14-4)Players to watch:MIN- Dany HeatleyWith 18 points in 14 career games, Heatley has been a Preds killer in recent seasons.NSH- Roman JosiJosi logged 20-plus minutes on Monday night for the first time in his month-long career. The coaching staff will be relying on him to see more ice with Weber and Klein out.Starting goaltenders:MIN...
Season's greetings everyone. I hope that you're Christmas holiday, whether you observe it or not was an opportunity to spend some time with your family. For young kids, its usually all about the gifts. The anxious expectation of running to the family living room to see a tree stocked full of presents that taunt for you to open them. I have to admit, I was the kind...
Enough is enough, these kind of hits make my blood boil and they are unnecessary, the NHL needs to through the book at Avalanche forward Cody McLeod for his ridiculously stupid and dangerous hit on Wild Defenseman Jared Spurgeon. There is no reason this hit shouldn't command at least a 2-4 game suspension.
In the last 13 days the Minnesota Wild have seen Lennart Petrell...
What to Watch For...
Wednesday – Nashville vs Minnesota Wild
Nashville is 0-1-0 against the Minnesota Wild this season. Minnesota will make their first trip of the s...
There are, as everybody knows, only two ways to get out of working on New Year's Eve: the first is to book the day off well in advance. The second is to do something stupid that gets you sent home.
Unfortunately for Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McLeod, with a December 31 tilt with the Anaheim Ducks just five days away, his only viable option was the second approach. Think...
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #9 Mikko Koivu
2. #15 Dany Heatley
Jan Hejda scored the go-ahead goal at 10:20 of the third period and the Colorado Avalanche snapped a nine-game road losing skid by beating the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Monday night. Colorado won on the road for the first time since Oct. 22 and extended Minnesota's winless streak to seven games. Ryan O'Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog and TJ Galiardi also scored for Colorado (19-17-1).
Jan Hejda scored the go-ahead goal at 10:20 of the third period and the Colorado Avalanche snapped a nine-game road losing skid, beating the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Monday night.