Mikko Koivu ready to return after nearly two month absence


The Minnesota Wild still need every point they can get as they fight to hold onto one of the two Western Conference Wild Card spots, but help is on the way.

After missing nearly two months due to an ankle injury, Wild captain Mikko Koivu is ready to play tonight against the Calgary Flames.

“I’m very excited,” Koivu said, per the Wild’s Twitter account. “It’s been a long time. It’s been very frustrating.”

Although Minnesota has managed to get by without him, there’s no question that Koivu is critical to the franchise’s success. In addition to being the Wild’s leader in the locker room, he’s one of their best players offensively and on the draw. He also, as coach Mike Yeo put it, has a lot of intangible qualities that make the Wild a better team when he’s on the ice.

In the long run, Koivu is likely to center the top line, but for now he’s projected to play alongside Dany Heatley and Charlie Coyle.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?