How much do the Minnesota Wild
miss Mikko Koivu
As Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher told NHL.com, "Clearly he's an irreplaceable player. There's nobody on your farm team that can come up and replace his role or the job that he does."
Koivu suffered an upper-body injury early in Saturday's game against the St. Louis Blues
and is considered week-to-week. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting the injury, to Koivu's shoulder, will sideline him about a month.
Koivu has led the team in scoring in three straight seasons, and his 33 points in 41 games is tops on the team this season.
And with just two wins in their last 15 games (2-10-3) and in the midst of a stretch where they play eight of 10 on the road, the Wild are preaching what Fletcher said -- no one can replace Koivu, so don't try to.
"We can't worry about anything other than just preparing to play our 'A' game," center Matt Cullen
told NHL.com. "Every individual guy has to bring his 'A' game and that's it. Can't focus on picking up the slack or doing something for somebody else -- you have to do your job and you've got to do it your best.
"We don't need every guy to go out and score every time he touches the puck. … You have to go out and do your job, play the game the way you play it."
Cullen said he believes the key to working through the team's issues and missing players right now is to prepare like it's a playoff game.
"At this point in the season you get into these big games, especially when you're down like that, everybody needs to prepare as if it's playoff-style hockey," he said. "That's how we play our best, when we're all focused on playing playoff-style hockey."
Teammate Devin Setoguchi
said the team has to adopt a foxhole mentality -- it's everybody in the bunker together, and no one is going to come in from the outside to help them.
"We've got a lot of adversity that we've overcome this season and we're still in a (playoff) position here," he told NHL.com. "We need to take it upon ourselves to maybe dig a little deeper, work a little harder when you're missing guys. If we're going to win games it's not going to be because of a lack of work ethic, sticking with the plan and the process."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK