It was a day of milestones for Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu, as he took the ice at home for his 1,000th NHL game Sunday, becoming the first player in his franchise’s history to do so.
Koivu was drafted sixth overall by Minnesota in 2001 in the club’s second-ever NHL Draft. In the 18 years since then, the Finnish native has become an icon of the franchise for his rock-steady two-way play and hardworking reputation.
“I think the fact that I’m able to [play game No. 1000] here in front of these fans and what they gave me over the years, for me and my family,” Koivu told Fox Sports North before Sunday’s game against the Dallas Stars. “That means a lot to me and that makes it special.”
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Koivu told Fox Sports North before the game that his family — including older brother and Montreal Canadiens legend Saku Koivu — would be on hand for Sunday’s game.
“They showed me the way early on and obviously raised me the way I am,” he added. “I obviously want to thank them a lot and it means a lot to me that they’re here tonight.”
Not only did he become the team’s all-time leader in games played, but he hit another milestone as well, recording his 700th career point with a primary assist on Kevin Fiala’s second-period power-play goal.
The 36-year-old forward is just the 55th player in NHL history to play his first 1,000 games with the same club. Koivu is the 342nd player in NHL history to reach the milestone overall. He was named the club’s captain in 2009 — only Zdeno Chara (Bruins captain since 2006), Sidney Crosby (Penguins captain since 2007) and Jonathan Toews (Blackhawks captain since 2008) have served as their respective team’s captain longer.
Koivu also owns the following Minnesota Wild all-time records: games played (1,000), assists (496), points (700), plus/minus (plus-71), shots on goal (2,242), power-play points (240), power-play assists (190), shorthanded points (25), shorthanded assists (15), multi-point games (150), faceoffs won (10,159) and faceoffs taken (18,929).