The Minnesota Wild didn’t just lose their third game in a row on Tuesday. Apparently, they also lost captain Mikko Koivu for the rest of the season.
The team announced that Koivu suffered tears to the MCL and ACL of his right knee during Tuesday’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
Koivu, 35, has been such a two-way presence that plenty have argued that he deserved more Selke hype over the years. The Finnish center has long been a strong presence in the faceoff circle, and the Wild will need to find a way to replace the 18:18 minutes per night he provided.
Charlie Coyle was thrust into some of those minutes during that Tuesday game, and might have been speaking about his longer future after the narrow loss.
“It’s not the greatest situation to be in,” Coyle said, via Sarah McLellan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He’s such a huge part on the ice, in the locker room. He’s our leader – faceoff, defense, everything. He does it all, and you can’t really replace him.
Koivu had been been limited to eight goals and 29 points in 48 games this season, with a middling 9 shooting percentage. Like many other Minny players, offense hadn’t always come easily for him, but he still brings considerable value to the table thanks to his defensive work.