Prior to these injuries, the Wild were already without Zach Parise (foot) and Jared Spurgeon (lower-body).
Koivu, 30, was hurt during Saturday’s 5-3 win over Washington after blocking a Nicklas Backstrom dump-in during the second period. The gritty Finn left momentarily but did return to assist on a pair of Ryan Suter goals, only to leave once again — this time for good — sitting out the final eight minutes of the game.
Koivu leads the Wild with 35 points this season and is 14th in the NHL in assists, with 27.
The Harding situation, meanwhile, continues to be murky. After being placed on IR in late December to undergo a change in his MS treatment protocol, the Wild goalie returned to play a pair of games — a 5-4 loss to the Isles on Dec. 29 and a 2-1 loss to St. Louis on Dec. 31 — before being sidelined again. The Wild are saying that Harding is “not feeling well” but not offering up much more in the way of diagnosis.
With two roster spots available, Minnesota recalled defenseman Jonathon Blum and forward Erik Haula from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.
Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.
“Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”
“We got outcompeted in the second period, badly,” Mark Letestu told the team’s website. “Whether it was little puck battles or even just executing on systems. It played right into their game. When you get behind a team like this that’s so dominant in the circle it’s tough to generate chances to come back. We didn’t deserve to win this one at all.”
As if things weren’t bad enough, the Oilers also lost Nail Yakupovto injury after a linesman (yes, a linesman) fell on top of him.
After the game, head coach Todd McLellan didn’t hold back:
"That's a really disappointing effort from our hockey club… We weren't a very determined team." McLellan on the #Oilers defeat