Mikko Koivu

Mikko Koivu leaves Wild-Ducks game with hand injury

The heat was already on the fledgling Minnesota Wild coming into this weekend, but now they might have to forge ahead without their most important skater, Mikko Koivu. The Finnish two-way forward left the team’s game against the Anaheim Ducks after he blocked a Todd Marchant shot. Wild beat writer Michael Russo hasn’t gotten the team to disclose anything more than the fact that it’s a hand injury, but wrote that a source “in the know” says that “it’s not good.”

Losing Koivu would indeed be bad news for the Wild, as the pivot ranks high one of the league’s most underrated players.

Now, much like beauty, “underrated” is in the eye of the beholder. After all, some people might look at Koivu’s salary – especially when it jumps up to $7.29 million next season – and say that he might be overrated or at least overpaid. (Especially by the out-of-touch “look what schoolteachers make” argument.) Surely there are probably some Minnesota Wild fans who also rate him as the greatest thing since the specialization of labor*, too.

* – A high school teacher pointed this out as one of the “greatest inventions” in human history, but doesn’t that seem like a bit of a cop-out answer?

Yet when you consider his relative anonymity among hockey fans, Koivu is one of the most underrated forwards in the NHL. Saku Koivu’s considerably younger brother is a great two-way player who can be a threat on offense to boot, with three 20+ goal seasons already to his credit.

Again, there isn’t much concrete information just yet, but we’ll keep you updated as information surfaces. The Wild’s status as a playoff contender is tenuous already, but losing their heart-and-soul center for a significant amount of time would be an enormous blow to their postseason dreams.

Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

(The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then: