Koivu, Scandella out, Kuemper starts as Wild return to ice


The Minnesota Wild will be without a couple of key pieces as they return from the Olympic break tonight in Edmonton.

Captain Mikko Koivu and defenseman Marco Scandella will not play Thursday night.

The Pioneer Press reports Koivu is still not comfortable enough to play as he recovers from a Jan.6 surgery to repair a fractured ankle. He has participated in practices since Feb. 19.

The Wild shuffled their roster yesterday to add depth for the back-to-back games in Edmonton and Vancouver.

Koivu had hoped to return prior to the Olympic break, but could not and was forced to miss the Olympics for his native Finland.

According to the Pioneer Press, Wild Coach Mike Yeo said both could be ready for Friday's game in Vancouver.

Minnesota is also expected to start Darcy Kuemper in goal Thursday.

The Star Tribune reports that Yeo had originally contemplated starting Backstrom in goal tonight, if he was healthy.

"We argued back and forth as far as whether Backy should play, whether Kuemps should play, whether Kuemps is capable of playing back-to-back games," Yeo said to the Star Tribune. "There's a lot of things, but bottom line is we just want to get off to a good start and we want to see if Kuemps can pick up where he left off."

Yeo indicated that Backstrom was feeling fine, he has been receiving treatment on his abdominal region lately. The Star Tribune reports he was chatting with athletic therapist Don Fuller during the team's morning skate.

Kuemper has been solid, he is 8-2-2 in his last 13 appearances with a 2.19 goals against average and a .929 save percentage.

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