Mikko Koivu skated on a line with Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi at today’s Minnesota Wild practice. He had a “great practice” and was “involved in every battle drill” according to Head Coach Mike Yeo, and Koivu said he’s feeling “better and better.” But still, no official word on whether or not he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow against the Vancouver Canucks.
“We’ll have to see how he feels tomorrow,” said Yeo.
Still, it seems very likely that Koivu gets back in tomorrow.
“At the end, it’s about the player, but there’s a process involved with the coaches, trainers and doctors as well. In the end, it’s about the player.”
Assuming Koivu is in, Yeo thinks his presence can help kickstart Setoguchi, while keeping Heatley’s stellar play going.
Kyle Brodziak and Nick Johnson will stay together on a line, this time playing with Carson McMillan on the wing. Matt Cullen and Cal Clutterbuck will now play with Erik Christensen.
In regards to Setoguchi, Yeo said he wants his season “to start right now.”
“He’s such an important part of our group,” said Yeo. “He’s played some really good hockey for us at different points of the season. I just want him to get back in the lineup, play with Mikko, play with Heater and don’t have any hesitation whatsoever in your game.”
The Wild is obviously entering an important stretch here with four straight home games, seven of the next 10 at home and 18 of the last 29 at home. But players and coaches know that the team can’t just rely on that, and the fact that Koivu is close to coming back.
“You have to go and take it,” said Koivu. “It’s not just going to happen for you.”