It has turned into hard fought battle out every night in the wild Western Conference as only 10 points separate the Phoenix Coyotes in 3rd place and the St. Louis Blues in 13th place. Things had been looking good for the Minnesota Wild as they fought their way up the standings – that is until team leading scorer Mikko Koivu (tied with 49 points with Martin Havlat) left the last game with a hand injury.
With 67 points the Minnesota Wild currently sit in 10th place in the west; however they have one or two game sin hand on everyone above them in the standings (except the Detroit Red Wings whom sit in 2nd place with 78 points and just happen to be in town today to take on the Wild for a 12:30 EST showdown for Hockey Weekend Across America).
But do the Wild have what it takes to push forward without their captain? Mikko Koivu became the first ever permanent captain for the Wild last season then signed a 7-year contract extension that kicks in next season. Koivu looks to be the long haul captain for the Wild that his older brother Saku was for the Montreal Canadiens before becoming a Duck.
A game that saw Koivu versus Koivu brought mixed feelings for the fans in Minnesota. Though the team won the much needed two points over the Ducks closing the point gap between the teams they may have lost Mikko Koivu.
Mikko Koivu blocked a shot in the first period and did not return to the game after intermission. Reports are out that it’s a hand injury. No word on how severe or how long the team will be without one of their best producers and their leader. It is a crucial time in the season for a team that is currently sitting outside a playoff spot by one point. Depending on the severity of the injury and how long Koivu will need to recover it is possible to see some movement before the trade deadline. Either way the entire team is going to have to step up as life in the west just got a little harder.
Keep in mind heading into the game today versus the Red Wings is that 1 point earned would tie them with the Calgary Flames (who are playing in the Heritage Classic today) while 2 points would push them up to 6th place. A regulation loss would leave the team in 10th place as 11th place Chicago Blackhawks are 3 points behind.
They say “back when the west was wild” clearly ’they’ have never watching the Minnesota Wild nor the Western Conference; The west is still about as Wild as it gets.