Seemingly out of nowhere, Blue Jackets center and long-time NHLer Mikko Koivu has announced his retirement.
"This was not an easy decision for me as I have loved every minute of my short time in Columbus and really hoped to be able to help this team accomplish its goals this season, but the bottom line is I haven't been able to get to the level of play that I need to be true to myself and fair to my teammates, so the time is right for me to retire from hockey," said Koivu. The Finnish veteran tallied 1-1-2 in seven games for the Blue Jackets this season.
"I have been extremely blessed and I am eternally grateful to the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets organizations for the opportunities they have given me to live out my dreams of playing in the National Hockey League for the past 16 years," Koivu continued.
"[Kekalainen and John Tortorella] were both very supportive, so that kind of gave me the peace of mind that the decision was right for me," Koivu said on Tuesday afternoon during his farewell press conference. "I am grateful for the chance that they gave me. I had an opportunity to come in and experience something new with a great team, great teammates. The way they run their organization and everything about it, it's been a great experience."
He continued: "But that was for me, once I had a really good talk with them, after that I kind of felt like the peace on my mind and felt that it was the right thing to do for myself."
In his career, Koivu notched 206-505-711 in 1,035 career games with the Minnesota Wild and Blue Jackets.
"Mikko Koivu is a consummate pro and while we are disappointed that his time as a Blue Jacket was short, we understand and respect the decision he has made because it is the result of the deep respect he has for the game, our organization and his teammates," said GM Jarmo Kekalainen.
"I've known Mikko for a very long time and am proud of everything he has accomplished and how he has represented our club, the Minnesota Wild and Team Finland over the past two decades. I wish him many happy years as he transitions into the next chapter in his life."
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