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Minnesota captain Koivu returns to lineup

Feb 9, 2012, 12:28 PM EDT

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65418_mikko_koivu AP

According to ESPN 1500 Minnesota, Wild captain Mikko Koivu will return to the lineup for tonight’s contest against Northwest Division rival Vancouver.

Koivu has missed Minnesota’s last eight games — and the 2012 All-Star Game in Ottawa — after injuring his left shoulder on Jan. 14. The Wild have gone 3-4-1 without him in the lineup, scoring one goal or fewer in five of the eight games.

It’s expected that head coach Mike Yeo will load up his first line, putting Koivu between Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi. Heatley leads all Wild scorers with 17 goals this year while Setoguchi has chipped in with 10, despite missing 13 games with a knee injury.

[Setoguchi has struggled since returning from the injury and has just two goals in 11 games -- things got so bad that Yeo demoted him to the third line in a 3-1 loss to Columbus on Tuesday. The hope is that Koivu's presence can salvage what's been a disappointing year thus far.]

“We have to make sure with Mikko coming back — he’s such an important part of the team — that we surround him the right way,” Yeo told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “Putting him with Seto and Heater gives us a chance to get that line going.”

To make room for Koivu, Minnesota placed forward Jed Ortmeyer on waivers.

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