The Minnesota Wild went through a tense practice Wednesday in Toronto to prepare for Thursday's game against the Maple Leafs. Head coach Mike Yeo says there's a lot of tension among the players because the team's great start is slipping away. Mikko Koivu is recovering faster than thought from his shoulder injury, and his return could help ease the tension.
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Koivu practices again, close to returning
Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu celebrated his 29th birthday by practicing for the second time in three days. He tells the Star Tribune that his shoulder injury is "getting better each and every day." Koivu has missed 20 of the Wild's past 24 games.
Koivu still out as Wild face Blue Jackets
Wild coach Mike Yeo tells the Star Tribune he’ll keep Mikko Koivu out of the lineup tonight in Columbus. Koivu is recovering from a shoulder injury. Yeo says Koivu is “very close” to returning, but no quite yet. His return might come as early as Thursday’s game against Vancouver.
Koivu, Backstrom participate in full practice
Good news for the Wild as Mikko Koivu and Niklas Backstrom were full participants in practice Thursday. Koivu will try and practice again Friday before being reevaluated before Saturday's game against Carolina. Mike Yeo said Backstrom looked "really good", but there isn't a timetable for his return.
Koivu cleared to return as Wild open long homestand
At XCel Energy Center, a tough one for the Wild tonight as they take on Vancouver, who have won 7 of their last 10. Minnesota might get some extra scoring punch, though, as Mikko Koivu has been cleared to return after missing eight games with a shoulder injury.
Wild needs captain Koivu back
Mikko Koivu's lower-body injury might be the biggest reason why the Wild is in the midst of a season-worst slump. The team captain had scored in 13 of his past 14 games before being injured against the Blackhawks. Without Koivu, the Wild has a total of two goals in three games.
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