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Koivu says knee feels good ahead of training camp with Wild

Forward missed final 29 games last season with torn ACL, meniscus, had surgery

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Mikko Koivu said his surgically repaired knee feels good and he intends to be ready for the start of the regular season with the Minnesota Wild.

The 36-year-old forward has been making strides after tearing the ACL and meniscus in his right knee in a game Feb. 5 against the Buffalo Sabres. He had surgery three days later.

When asked Thursday how things have been going, Koivu said, "Good. I saw the doctors a couple of days ago, and we'll sit down with [Wild general manager Bill Guerin] and the coaching staff, and I should be ready to go by the time camp starts, but then from there still have to be smart. I think I want to be at my best by the time of the season opener (Oct. 3 at Nashville Predators), so there's still a lot of time for that, but we'll make the plan when we get closer."

Koivu had 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) in 48 games last season, missing the final 29 games because of the injury. The Minnesota captain watched the Wild, who held the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference when he was injured, struggle down the stretch, finishing 37-36-9 and missing the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons.

"It was a frustrating year, not going to lie about it," Koivu said. "Once you get hurt, it was tough, really tough. I think it affects everyone and everything. Once you're not at the rink and you're at home, it's a different feeling. It's tough to describe that.

"But now with [Guerin being hired Wednesday] … you're very excited about it and you want to give it your all once we get started here."

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Koivu began skating in his native Finland earlier this offseason, and after returning to Minnesota on Wednesday, he will resume skating on his own in St. Paul on Friday.

"It's on and off (with skating) so it was a different summer in that way, but I skated on my own for a bit and then with some other guys," Koivu said. "It was a long journey, and still is, but everything's been going good in that department and I think I'll be ready for the camp. That's been the goal and I believe I can make it.

"Once you get closer to camp, again, we'll wrap it up. You want to make sure you feel comfortable going out there. … We'll know more once we get closer to camp."

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