Andrew Brunette's reaction when told Mikko Koivu, in his seventh season, would head to his first All-Star Game? "About time," said the Chicago Blackhawks veteran and Koivu's former Wild linemate. "People undervalue him because they always concentrate on the numbers, and for Mikko, he's a complete player. He does everything at both ends. A lot of times we're a numbers-driven league. I'd put him against anybody head-to-head." Koivu's numbers are pretty good, too. After leading the Wild in scoring the past three seasons, he leads again with 33 points in 40 games. He is the Wild's second-leading all-time scorer with 350 points in 473 games. He ranks first on the all-time list with 245 assists, third with 105 goals, second with 79 multi-point games, second with nine shorthanded goals and second with 1,169 shots. His 26 shootout goals rank sixth in NHL history. "You hope this type of recognition on a national level will increase the league-wide awareness of how good he is," GM Chuck Fletcher said. "It's going to be great when the rest of the world knows what we know." Koivu called the nod a "big honor," but teammates like Nick Schultz, Koivu's road roommate, said they hope he allows himself to enjoy the Jan. 29 game in Ottawa. "It's a game day and a tough stretch coming up for us," Koivu said. "When the time comes, you're able to enjoy it and probably even more realize what's happening. Right now, of course, you're happy about it, but at the same time you want to focus on the game and road trip." Koivu said he and his older brother, Saku Koivu of Anaheim, were going to get together during the All-Star break. That's off now. "I'm sure he understands," Koivu said with a laugh. Koivu is a plus-9 on the NHL's second-worst offensive team. Fletcher hopes this is the season members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association give Koivu consideration for the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward.
Captain Koivu in first All-Star Game
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Jan 13