Out since early January after undergoing ankle surgery, Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu is confident he’ll be ready to represent Finland at the Winter Olympics — even if he doesn’t play any games for the Wild prior to.
“It always matters (to play ahead of time), but if not so be it,” Koivu said, per the Pioneer Press. “I think in my situation being off right now, not playing any games, it’s going to be good for me to play some games and practice with the team first off.
“To play in high-level hockey (in the Olympics) is going to be good for me after the tournament even if I don’t play any games here. I think it’s good for all of us.”
Koivu, who underwent the surgery after blocking a shot on Jan. 4, was expected to be out at least a month but is reportedly progressing faster than expected. He was walking without the aid of crutches just 10 days after the procedure and hopes to join Wild practices next week.
Minnesota has seven games remaining until the Olympic break, so it’s possible Koivu could draw in for the final two — Feb. 4 versus Tampa Bay, and Feb. 6 versus Nashville.
Koivu is still Minnesota’s leading scorer on this season with 35 points — this despite missing the last eight games — and is projected to be a candidate for Finland’s captaincy at the Winter Games.
When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.
With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).
As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.
Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.
Kane also tied Denis Savard (1985-86) for second-longest streak in Chicago history. Bobby Hull had a 21-game streak.