They were leading the Western Conference with 44 points on Dec. 14. Now, they're eighth in the West with 51 points; a Colorado Avalanche victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday, and the Wild are on the outside of the playoff bubble.
That's bad. This is worse: The Star Tribune reported on Sunday that captain Mikko Koivu, the team's captain and catalyst, will be sidelined for at least a month with a left shoulder injury suffered on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues.
The injury will cause Koivu to miss this month's All-Star Game, but he is expected to travel with the Wild during its upcoming father-son trip to Philadelphia and Toronto because his father, Jukka, is scheduled to meet the team in Philadelphia.
With the Wild down to no extra forwards and already without injured second-line wingers Guillaume Latendresse and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, it will have to make a roster move Monday. However, nobody was recalled as of Sunday night, and there was a sense Fletcher was burning up the phone lines in an attempt to make a trade.
Russo mentioned on "Marek vs. Wyshynski" last week — before the injury — that losing Koivu would be devastating to a Wild team that's in a tailspin. They're 22-19 with Koivu in the lineup this season; 0-0-4 without him. Last season, the Wild were 35-36 with Koivu and 4-0-7 without him.
"The Wild's most disappointing efforts during their 2-9-4 stretch have come when they got away from their scrappy approach. Now, they might be beholden to it, especially if Koivu is out."
Losing your best player can be a rallying point. Problem is, the Wild are arguably missing three of their top six forwards right now. That's tough to overcome.
On a much more superfluous note, the Koivu injury will necessitate a roster replacement for the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.
He's the only Wild player that made the cut; assuming they would choose a Minnesota player to replace a Minnesota player … well, second in points and first in goals would be Dany Heatley.
Say, the game isn't in Ottawa, is it?
- Sports & Recreation/Ice Hockey
- Sports & Recreation
- Mikko Koivu
- Minnesota Wild