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Koivu to captain Finland's Olympic team -- but which?

by Staff

A Koivu will captain Finland at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Which Koivu, however, is unknown.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Tuesday that Anaheim Ducks forward Saku Koivu or his younger brother, Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu, will be named captain of the Finnish Olympic team.

"It's a question between the Koivu brothers as to who will be the captain," Finland Olympic coach Erkka Westerlund told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "I've known Mikko since he was this high [holding his left hand four feet off the ground]. … He's a strong leader on our team. He knows what he wants. He can help the teammates play better."

Mikko Koivu has been captain of the Wild since the start of the 2009-10 season, and said he'd be honored to wear it for his country. However, he said the decision was Saku's to make. Saku Koivu, 38, has been out since sustaining a concussion Oct. 27.

"My brother’s earned it," said Mikko, who won a silver medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics and a bronze medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. "It would be their call obviously, but that's what I told Erkka: 'I have no problem if Saku gets it.'

"He's been the guy for me my whole life, so personally that's the way I feel. At the end it's their call. It's obviously a huge deal, a huge honor, but if he gets it he deserves it. You always want to be captain for your country, but the captaincy in the Olympics has a lot to do with the respect for the older players and what they've done in their career. So to me it's his captaincy. But it's up to them. I'd be honored, for sure."

Westerlund and Finland general manager Jari Kurri were in Minnesota scouting another potential Olympic team member, Wild forward Mikael Granlund. The 21-year-old has two goals and 10 assists in 21 games.

"I know he worked hard -- very hard -- in the summertime," Westerlund said. "The first year [in the NHL] he learned things. He's very, very clever. He understood what to do so he could play here and get better so I'm very satisfied that he's now playing. We are trying to play very fast hockey [in Sochi] and his level of thinking, Granlund is a fast thinker."

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