Team Finland was dealt a major blow on Friday, as the Wild announced that Mikko Koivu would be staying home from the Olympics.
The Wild captain and potential Team Finland captain suffered a broken ankle on January 9 in a game versus the Washington Capitals. He was struck by a dump-in off the stick of Nicklas Backstrom. (That's right, Finland. Your team's captain was injured by a member of your mortal enemies from Team Sweden.)
Koivu underwent surgery on the ankle five weeks ago, hoping to recover in time to join Finland in Sochi and improve on the team's bronze medal performance in Vancouver. But, like Steven Stamkos, he just couldn't get there in time.
"I just don't feel healthy enough to feel that I can play at the level that I want," Koivu said, in a Wild release. "I really think it's not fair for my teammates with Minnesota, with Team Finland, the management in Team Finland and not fair for myself either.
"It's hard. Obviously we've had a lot of success in the past. The feelings to represent your country, especially in the Olympic Games, it doesn't happen very often. I just have to put the emotions away and think clearly. It's not fair to anyone for me to go and play for Team Finland right now."
And to make matters worse, Koivu's not the only major loss for Finland, as the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that Valtteri Filppula would also be missing the Olympics with a broken ankle he suffered in the Lightning's game with the Toronto Maple Leafs, their last game before the break.
The only Finns who have any reason to be pleased about today's news are Jarkko Immonen and Sakari Salminen, two KHL forwards that have reportedly been added to the team as replacements.
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