Sochi, Russian Federation (4E Sports) – A lingering ankle injury kept Mikko Koivu from assuming the captaincy of the Finnish hockey team in the Sochi Olympics.
Instead, Koivu will rest with the hope of being healthy for the Minnesota Wild’s next practice, Feb. 19.
Koivu had maintained over the past three weeks that he would be ready to play for his country in Sochi, and had started skating on his own.
But the injury he sustained in January 4 didn’t heal as quickly as he hoped, and the Wild said they didn’t want Koivu playing in the Olympics if he wasn’t completely healthy.
He had been skating with strength and conditioning coaches but found the past week the pain would worsen after 10 or 15 minutes on the ice.
“I just don’t feel healthy enough to feel that I can play at the level that I want,” Koivu said.
He, in fact, missed the Olympics by just a week of recovery.
Doctors told him that had the injury occurred a week earlier, he would have recovered enough to compete at Sochi.
Koivu, who is also the captain of the Wild, acknowledged that his responsibility to his NHL club played a role in his decision to pass on the Olympics.
Had he aggravated his injury at the Olympics, there could have been a backlash within the organization.