Friday, January 16, 2009

Where Is The Canadiens' Captain? Koivu Still Bothered By an Ankle Injury

The Canadiens' captain last played on Dec. 11, 2008, against the Lightning. Ever since his ankle injury, Saku Koivu experienced various problems delaying his return in the Habs' uniform.

Koivu suffered his latest setback yesterday when he was forced to leave the ice during practice because of lingering pain on his injured ankle. As a result, the team doctors ordered him to take a few days off the ice to rest his ankle.

This guarantees Koivu won't be back before the All-Star break and maybe more. The Finnish captain has now missed 15 games in a row and since the Canadiens are playing well without him, this will likely put an end to his tenure as the Habs' captain.

Earning $4,750,000 this season, Koivu, 34, is in the last year of his contract and he's set to become an unrestricted free agent. Unless Koivu accepts to take a large pay cut to stay in Montreal, I highly doubt GM Bob Gainey will tender an offer to his ageing captain because of the numerous UFAs or RFAs the Canadiens will have to retain at season's end.

Alex Tanguay, Alex Kovalev, Robert Lang, Steve Begin, Tom Kostopoulos, Mike Komisarek, Francis Bouillon, Mathieu Dandenault and Patrice Brisebois will all become UFAs, while Chris Higgins, Tomas Plekanec, Gui Latendresse and Kyle Chipchura will become RFAs.

Would you keep Koivu? Or is it time to pass the torch to a younger captain (AKA Komisarek)?

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