Less than a week ago, General Manger Chuck Fletcher announced that Minnesota's fourth leading scorer Pierre-Marc Bouchard would be out indefinitely with a concussion. The news didn't get better today for the Wild, as the team leader in points, Mikko Koivu, said he is "week-to-week" with an upper body injury.
Koivu, who was selected to his first All-Star game last week, said he will most likely be re-evaluated by doctors next Monday.
The newest injury is "frustrating" to Koivu who was just feeling 100 percent after a lower body injury he suffered in December.
The team captain, who has nine Goals and 24 Assists, was injured after he took a hit in the corner from Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka in the first period Saturday at St. Louis. The clean hit from Sobotka didn't look particularly bad, but Koivu said he knew right away something was wrong.
"I was ready for the hit. I was steady, I hit him back a little bit. I took the hit like always, there is nothing you can do differently," said Koivu. "It just got me in the right spot."
Koivu said the injury is not as bad as he first thought. The injury will still allow him to skate and keep his conditioning up, something he says is "huge."
"As long as you can stay on your skates and keep the conditioning up on your skates, it is obviously way better than riding the bike or just doing stuff at the gym," added Koivu.
Being able to stay in shape will make Koivu's transition back into the lineup easier. But when that transition will come is unknown.
For now, life goes on without Koivu. Mike Yeo said he doesn't expect Koivu back before the All-Star break. The Wild will head into a difficult four-game stretch before the break without their star player.
To be successful without Koivu, the Wild will have to replicate the hard-fought battle Saturday against the very tough Blues. The Wild played most of the game without Koivu, and even though they didn't win, the effort was there. The Wild were able to earn a point in the 3-2 shootout loss.
"You saw what we did the last game," said Kyle Brodziak. "It was a good job by everybody. The battle level was as high as we have seen in a long time. Guys were taking hits and making plays, diving to block shots. Just things like that we have to keep doing. It is a huge void to fill, but collectively if everyone can just give that much more," added Brodziak.
Giving more while trying not to do too much will be a key to Minnesota's success without Koivu. Yeo didn't like the way his team played the last time Koivu was out of the lineup and he feels that is a learning experience his team can draw on.
No one can fill Koivu's shoes and his players need to realize that.
"All we need is for each player to go out and do what he does and do it really well. 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," added Yeo.
Koivu's play isn't the only thing the Wild will miss, the captain's leadership is an intangible that won't show up on any score sheet. Yeo said leaders need to step up in Koivu's absence.
"The biggest thing we need right now, with Mikko being out, is leadership. We have our assistant captains right now and those guys, like always, will be counted on," said Yeo. "But we also believe we have some younger guys that have the ability to be really good leaders, we need those guys to step up big," said Yeo.