Updated: April 15, 2020 08:52 PM
Created: April 15, 2020 10:50 AM
Depending if the NHL season ever resumes, it's possible Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu has played his final NHL game - but he's not ready to think about that as long as there's a chance the season might resume.
Koivu participated in a video chat press conference Wednesday morning and fielded several questions about his future.
Click the video box on this page to watch Mikko Koivu's entire video teleconference from Wednesday morning
The halted season is Koivu's 15th in the NHL - all with the Wild. He is in the final year of a 2-year contract extension and he'll become an unrestricted free agent whenever this season concludes.
"I'm just kind of trying to stay in the moment as much as you can," Koivu said. "If I said I haven’t thought about all the options - I’d be lying to you. I think, obviously, thinking about a lot of things, a lot of the options what the future will hold. As of right now I guess I’m in a boat like any other player - just trying to wait for the league to make the decision - how/if we’re gonna start the season and when that would be. If not, try to figure out a way - what to do with the future."
"I’ve always said, to me or anybody, you have to enjoy the game and I still do," he said. "But, also physically you have to be at a level you want to be. Mentally, that’s the biggest part of it. You’ve got to be ready to do it. So every single question that you can think of you have to... go through that - 'what’s the best thing for you to do' and then I’m sure the decision will come. You’ll start to get the feeling. But I don’t think the time is right now. "
Koivu remains in Minnesota during the shutdown and has gone back and forth on whether he thinks the 2019-20 season will resume.
"Days you get more optimistic, more confident that we will get back on the ice. But other days... it doesn’t seem it will happen," he said. "As players, we're in the same boat as you guys. Our info is the same as you have. At the moment, it's trying to follow not just hockey but all over the world where it’s heading."
While the NHL doesn't have firm plans or any timing on when they might resume the season, there is a general sense it would happen, at first, without fans in arenas.
"It would be very strange. No question about it.," he said. "Fans are a huge part of the game. That’s one of the biggest reasons you play the game - to be in front of the fans, to see them every night. That’s a huge part. How would that feel? No one can answer that.
"They did it in Europe - played in empty arenas already. If it comes to that, you just gotta be a pro and play the game as it is."
When the season was suspended, Koivu and the Wild were within one point of the playoff race.
"We were felling good about our chances to get in," he said. "I know everyone keeps saying anything can happen in the playoffs, but we had the experience the last few years. If you’re healthy and can play the kind of hockey we did? Anything can happen."
The question if the season does resume, can the Wild recapture the momentum they had built?
"It's hard to know how it would be when we continue," Koivu admits. "It'll be a question for any team. It will be a short time with a lot of hockey. Whoever can find rhythm and confidence and flow right away is gonna be in good shape. Trying to get to that as soon as possible - also take all the positives from before we stopped playing.
"Realistically, I don’t think you can start where you left off. You gotta create the momentum again."
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