Mikko Koivu took off the red jersey during today’s practice at St. Thomas Ice Arena, signifying that the Wild Captain was clear for contact. The center iceman was a full participant in the battle drills and didn’t hold anything back at the skate. His availability for Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes is yet to be determined and will depend on how he is feeling.
Getting Koivu back would be a welcome sight, but Head Coach Mike Yeo told the media that he wouldn’t put him in a bad situation to possibly re-aggravate the injury. Koivu has missed 13 games with an upper body injury and was put on the Injured Reserve on Feb. 16.
Missing from practice was Matt Cullen, Devin Setoguchi and Josh Harding. Cullen is feeling soreness in his leg after receiving a knee-on-knee hit from Brenden Morrow against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Morrow only received a two-minute tripping penalty on the play. Setoguchi was out for a maintenance day. Yeo told the media that Harding should be available and needs a few days of rest.
Niklas Backstrom was in the cage today, so there is a chance that the Wild could see Matt Hackett or Backstrom, but Yeo will wait to determine which goaltender will play this weekend.
Tomorrow should shine more light on who will play Saturday.
The Wild practiced at St. Thomas because today is the opening of the WCHA Final Five at Xcel Energy Center. Denver plays Michigan Tech a 2:07 p.m. St. Cloud State faces North Dakota at 7:07 p.m. If you don’t know much about college hockey, check out the “Wild Fan’s Guide to the Final Five” by Wild.com’s Managing Editor, Glen Andresen.