|Photo: Scott Audette/Getty Images|
Meanwhile, Minnesota's captain Mikko Koivu is also trying to fast track his return from an injury so he can be able to play in Sochi next week. Koivu had surgery on his ankle five weeks ago, and has been skating with the team here in the past week.
However, it appears that Koivu's Olympic hopes are being given last rites as he has yet to be cleared to practice with the team, let alone play in any games.
Here is Chuck Fletcher talking to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune yesterday:
There’s a lot of healing and work that needs to be done to get him to that position. If we can get him there, great, but I think people need to understand how hard he’s working to get healthy and come back. But it is what it is. Your body’s only going to heal the way it’s going to heal. There’s no magic wand here. He’s skating on his own, but it’s a long way from skating on your own to playing in a high-end international Olympic game
Fletcher bascially summed it up himself at the end there, Koivu is a long ways off.
The fact is, if Koivu can not be cleared in the next day or two (and by all means it looks like he won't), then the Wild should just step in and say he can't go like Tampa did with Stamkos.
Representing your country in the Olympics is a tremendous honor, and you have to respect that. But Minnesota writes out the checks to Koivu, and they need him at 100% for the final 23 games of the regular season and possible postseason (despite the fact the team has carried on fine in his absence).
The Wild also need to be considerate of Team Finland here. They should not put this decision off until the last minute, so they can allow Finland adequate time to name a replacement and get him to Sochi on time.
It hurts to say, but Koivu needs to sit this one out. Plain and simple. Its just better for everyone involved.
Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell