The Minnesota Wild have announced devastating news. Their heart and soul, captain Mikko Koivu will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a tear of the ACL and meniscus in his right knee during a collision with Sabres forward Tage Thompson in Tuesday's loss at Buffalo.
Koivu is expected to have surgery to repair his knee on Friday.
The Wild enter Wednesday night's NHL action the owners of a Western wild card berth. With Koivu in their lineup, the Wild have relaistic playoff apirations. Without Koivu, the Wild will have to find a way to overcome the loss of their leader and continue the fight.
The loss of Koivu will certainly force other Wild players to play expanded roles.
Namely Charlie Coyle and Eric Staal who will have to assume Koivu's offensive and defensive responsibilities. Bruce Boudreau will likely slot Coyle and Staal higher in the lineup.
On Tuesday night in Buffalo, Coyle moved from wing to center after the Koivu injury. Coyle's goal ted the score at 3-3. The Sabres won 5-4 in the shootout.
Koivu, 35, has scored 8 goals and 21 assists in 48 games this season. Koivu is a 54.6% faceoff man.
He leads the team and is 14th in the NHL in faceoff wins (488), ranks 2nd on the Wild in power-play points (12) and fifth in assists.
Koivu scored his 200th career NHL goal on January 21 at Vegas to become the second player in team history to reach the milestone.
Koivu has manufactured 201 goals and 487 an a +68 rating in 973 career NHL games with the Wild. Koivu ranks first in franchise history in games played, points, assists, shots on goal, power-play points, shorthanded points and multi-point games, first in power play goals and second in goals, GWG, SHG, plus/minus rating and PIM. Koivu was selected sixth overall at the 2001 NHL Draft.
Coyle has been rumored to be on the trading block as the February 25 trade deadline approaches.