Wild captain Mikko Koivu, who leads the team in points and continues to establish himself as one of the NHL's top defensive forwards, finally has some national recognition.

The center was named to his first All-Star Game on Thursday, making the Jan. 29 exhibition as the Wild's lone representative. He won't find out his team until Jan. 26, when the league names the two team captains who will pick the squads. But with the Wild pushing for their first playoff spot since 2007-08, Koivu's selection is at least some acknowledgement of what the team has been building.

"Two years ago, it was an Olympic year, and Mikko had a great year," general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "Clearly, he would have been an all-star had there been a game. Last year, I know he was under consideration from the league, and it didn't work out. He's deserving. He's our star player, and you hope something like this - this type of recognition on a national level - will increase the leaguewide awareness of how good he is.

Koivu had planned to spend the all-star break with his brother, Anaheim forward Saku Koivu. But those plans are off now.

"This is fine, too," Mikko Koivu deadpanned. "I'm sure he'll understand."