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At the Rink blog

Koivu's return a huge boost for Wild

Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 1:58 PM

By Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Koivu's return a huge boost for Wild
ST. PAUL -- While one captain looks as though he will continue his ironman streak tonight at Xcel Energy Center, another looks to start a new one.

Minnesota's Mikko Koivu is expected to return after missing the Wild's last eight games with an upper-body injury. Clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the west, Koivu's return could be a major boon to a Wild squad kicking off a critical four-game homestand against the rival Canucks, who appear likely to have Henrik Sedin in the lineup tonight.

"I feel good, I feel stronger, the last couple of days have been good," Koivu said.

Koivu skated today between wingers Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, reuniting a line that had been split up with Koivu out of the lineup. Koivu's return could also help spark a Minnesota offense that has sputtered of late, scoring just three goals total over the Wild's last three games. To its credit, Minnesota has gone 1-1-1 in that stretch.

"As much as anything else, just his leadership, he's a warrior out there. That's contagious with the rest of the group," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "With what he contributes and the role he has with our team, his play and the situations we put him out in and his effectiveness in those situations."

Quote of the Day

Hopefully [Jonathan] has a year that pushes us, that is the organization, to speak to him next summer and looking for [a long-term contract]. Because the thought process is trying to get a goaltender, and hopefully it's Jonathan, to be the stabilizer for this franchise.

— Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello on goaltender Jonathan Bernier