Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu was expected to be a leader on Finland's hockey team at the Olympics, but according to Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune, he will not be in Sochi. Koivu has been rehabbing an ankle injury for the last five weeks and according to Russo's report, he is not healed enough to play in the Olympics.
Koivu underwent surgery Jan. 6 after breaking his ankle. Projected recovery time was six to eight weeks, but he attempted to accelerate rehabbing it in order to be ready for Sochi. He had already resumed skating, but had not been cleared for games.
This is something Finland had to know was possible, but it makes the news no less sobering for a team that also just lost Valtteri Filppula to a broken ankle earlier Friday. Losing both in such close proximity to the Olympics is a really tough blow as both would have played huge roles for the team.
Finland already lacked depth of scoring prowess, but now they're really hurting. In the same group as Canada in the preliminary round, a guy like Koivu can play that more rough-and-tumble North American style that Finland has adapted itself to in recent years.
On top of that, he was likely to be named the team's captain and would have provided a good source of leadership for the younger players.
The Wild are likely happy one of their key players won't be taking a big health risk by playing in Sochi, but probably also feel bad that their captain won't be able to represent his country. It's a tough blow, but the weeks off for the Olympic break gives Koivu more time to get back to 100 percent and help the Wild in a red-hot playoff race.