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.