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  • Minnesota Wild MVP Candidate: Mikko Koivu


    Here's a pick that is sure to draw attention from the endless sea of Koivu haters. The unsubstantiated hate tickles my funny bone and has been a personal source of entertainment for years. Is there a reason for it? Not really. There are many theories, but nothing that makes much sense if you apply rational thought behind it.

    Koivu's average of 19:55 minutes per game was also the tops on the team among all Wild forwards. Nobody was entrusted more during the course of a game, in any situation than Koivu and for good reason too. Koivu certainly isn't the flashiest guy on the ice, but night in and night out you know the kind of effort your going to get out of him. There was an old website out there where you were asked a simple question: Is Ryan Suter on the ice? You could make this same concept and apply it to Mikko Koivu, because chances are pretty strong that he's on the ice.

    Koivu, being a center, takes quite a few faceoffs throughout the course of a game. Koivu is no slouch in the dot. He won 56.1% of his draws. Now some out there like to devalue faceoffs in a game. I'm personally not one of those people. Winning a draw in any zone is important to moving the offense forward. Winning an offensive zone draw if even more important, and in the defensive zone; I cannot stress enough how important a draw in the defensive zone is. Koivu won 58.6% of his offensive zone draws and 54% of his defensive draws. Overall, Koivu was 4th in the NHL on the season with 987 faceoff wins and his 56.1% faceoff win percentage was good enough for 8th in the league among skaters with over 1000 draws under their belt.

    Mikko Koivu is also well respected by his teammates. While fans question his leadership on an almost daily basis, his teammates and the coaching staff stand with confidence behind the kaptain. He might not lead the league in points, or be the speediest guy on the ice, but he's a guy who in the locker room, when he speaks, people listen. He's a veteran hockey player who has a lot of experience, and a lot of knowledge to bestow on the up and comers on the team.

    A picture is worth a thousand words, isn't it?

    There hasn't been a lot to get excited about with this team in the last few months. Mikko Koivu has quietly been a consistent driving force behind the offense as well as one of the most responsible defensive presences among NHL forwards. On a team that has seen it's effort level steadily swirling around the drain, we haven't heard a whole lot about Koivu taking shifts off or just completely losing interest in a game. Koivu leads the team in several categories, he is a leader, the team kaptain, and while the Wild certainly limped into the playoffs, without Koivu's effort out there this team would be in an entirely different world. Like, the draft lottery.

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