The sudden return of Mikko Koivu to practice and the bombshell from coach Todd Richards that winger Guillaume Latendresse could "maybe" play this week created a stir at Wild practice Monday.

Richards, however, was being coy.

Koivu has not been cleared for battle drills in practice yet, so he will not be available tonight when the Wild play the Colorado Avalanche in another in a series of what Richards calls "critical games" at the Xcel Energy Center.

And Latendresse?

"Tomorrow, maybe," Richards repeated. "On the road trip, maybe. He's getting closer."

Tomorrow, maybe? Against the Avs?

"Maybe," Richards said, noting that's what he tells his kids "when they ask if they can go to Dairy Queen."

Injuries have been painful for the Wild this season, beginning with Latendresse going out after just eight games and requiring abdominal and hip surgery plus several months of rehab. Even though he didn't join the Wild until late November, Latendresse tied for the team lead in goals last season with 25.

Koivu left the lineup with a broken finger suffered on Feb. 18, and Cal Clutterbuck took a hit to the head last week and missed Sunday's game against Buffalo, removing 15 and 18 goals, respectively, from the lineup.

Those numbers are significant for a team ranked 14th out of 16 Western Conference teams in goals going into Monday's games and was in ninth place in the standings, a point out of the top eight with 16 games remaining.