Several news sources reported Sunday that Canadiens captain Saku Koivu was released from the hospital Saturday, but has not yet been cleared to play after suffering an eye injury in Wednesday’s Game 3 against the Hurricanes.
“Right now, it’s in the hands of the doctors,” Canadiens coach Bob Gainey told local reporters on Saturday. “Saku has shown some improvement, but it’s still a medical issue. It won’t become a competitive issue until he’s cleared by the doctors.”
The Montreal Gazette reported that it doesn’t appear that Koivu will suffer any permanent damage to his left eye. Koivu suffered the injury in Game 3 of Montreal’s series against Carolina when he took an accidental high stick from Justin Williams.
The St. Louis Blues, who own the first pick in the 2006 draft, have a chance to select Erik Johnson, a defenseman who could help the franchise ease the pain of trading Chris Pronger last summer.
Most scouts say Johnson has pulled away from the field in terms of being the most highly-regarded prospect. He’s a do-it-all style of defender, someone who can shoot the puck with authority, trigger the offensive rush, clear the front of the crease and punish opposing forwards. He can do what Pronger is doing for Edmonton in this first playoff series.
But the Blues actually have the start of a sound defense with Barret Jackman and Eric Brewer. What they don’t have is a star at center.
While the conventional wisdom is that a team should take the best prospect regardless of position, the Blues have to consider that they are trying to win back fans. They could use a dynamic offensive presence like Jonathan Toews, Phil Kessel or Jordan Staal, who is the younger brother of Carolina’s Eric Staal.
That’s why some teams believe the Blues might consider trading the No. 1 pick, as long as they don’t fall out of the top four.
The Pittsburgh Penguins must pay millions of dollars if they want to have gifted rookie Evgeni Malkin in their uniform next season, his Russian team says.
Malkin, 19, who plays for Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the Russian Superleague and is widely regarded as the best player outside the NHL, has said he wants to join the North American league.
Malkin was picked second overall in the 2004 draft by the Penguins behind fellow Russian Alexander Ovechkin, who took the NHL by storm this season.