Happy to see that he's most likely going to start the season against Buffalo, but on the other end, I'm wondering if he will ever be the same player...he's a playmaker so if he can't see to his side, it might be a big problem...
If things continue as they have been going, Saku Koivu will be on the ice on Octobre 6th in Buffalo, when the Canadiens begin their 2006-2007 regular season.
"I'm doing well," said Koivu to La Presse yesterday, during a telephone interview from Finland. "I had to rest in the beginning of the Summer, but I've started training again the past 4 or 5 weeks, and I started skating almost 3 weeks ago with my former team (TPS Turku). I skated with the whole time twice, but without any contact. Thus far, it's going well..."
The Canadiens' leader is very optimistic. He foresees his return with the team as early as in the season opener. "That' swhat I'm hoping for. We'll see... I just hope there won't be any complications between now and then. As long as there are no complications, I remain optimistic."
For the time being, the return to business is going rather well, but there is still one problem: the Canadiens captain still has some problems in seeing the play well. The effects of the injury to his left eye that occured on April 26th during a playoff tilt with the Carolina Hurricanes are still being felt. He still admits to having a loss to his field of vision.
"When I look straight ahead, it's fine, but I have trouble seeing to the sides. It's a bit of a problem... My left eye is still slightly closed. But it's getting better and my eye is getting closer to its usual shape. I'll be undergoing more tests when I get back to Montreal."
Koivu doesn't think another operation will be necessary, having already undergone surgery in May to repair a retina tear. He just hopes to be able to re-find his field of vision fairly quickly.
"I hope to be ready for the beginning of training camp," he adds. "I'll have a better idea of my health status after the 2 first days of camp. Between now and then, I'll continue to skate, and we'll see if any problems occur in the process. Up till now, my summer has gone just as I'd hoped."
The Koivu of today is thus nothing like the Koivu of a few months ago. No longer is he the player who was wondering a bit if this slash from the stick of Justin Williams of the Hurricanes might end his hockey career.
After going through some serious doubts about his future, Saku Koivu knows that he now has a bit of light on the horizon, he who, not long ago, was unable to predict a date for his return to the ice.
"It's true that at one time, I thought that maybe it was over for me. But the doctor told me I had to wait before jumping to conclusions... I know there is no guarantie; nobody can predict how the eye will react in the next little while. I do realize one thing: since I've started training again, I haven't regressed. That's why I'm optimistic. I don't have a choice. There are still some question marks about my condition, but each day that passes is a sign of progress to me."
With a bit of luck, the Canadiens star will be able to continue his progression and re-find his full field of vision.
According to Sebastien Olivier, an optometrist at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, the signs of progress experienced by Koivu make one believe that the forward will be able to heal fully from his injury.
"It's possible," explained M. Olivier during a telephone interview yesterday. "I haven't see the results of Saku Koivu's exams, so I make these statements with reservation, but if he affirms seeing progress, that's a good sign. In a case like this, it's often a question of months. He got hurt in April, so it's already been a few months... Some people recover well, others don't. There is nothing cetain. But we know that the field of vision of a person can heal with time. Anything is possible."
Saku Koivu plans to return to Montreal at the beginning of September. He plans to then participate in the annual Canadiens golf tournament, which will take place September 5th.