For some reason, it seems that when the Montreal Canadiens have a remarkable season that only the diehard fans could see coming, the injuries manage to plague them in the post-season. I guess you can say that the latest right-leg injury to Saku Koivu puts the nail on the coffin.
The current injury list for the Habs as they go into the playoffs consists of Mike Komisarek, Guillaume Latendresse, Mark Streit, Francis Bouillon, and, as mentioned, Saku Koivu. I don’t believe its possible to say any one of these players will be missed more over the others.
Mike Komisarek was leading the NHL in hits prior to his 'lower-body injury', suffered on March 20, 2008 against the Boston Bruins. There is no doubt the Canadiens miss the presence of the tough gritted, hard hitting, shot blocking defenceman. The intensity of his injury is still unknown at this point. As devastating a blow as this is, on the plus side it gives the opportunity of more ice time for fellow defencemen such as Roman Hamrlik, Josh Gorges, and Ryan O'Byrne. Though none may be as physically tough as Komisarek O'Byrne has shown he's equally capable of throwing some crushing blows.
Guillaume Latendresse missed four games as well from tweaking his neck, but is proposed to return to the lineup against the Senators. Latendresse will at the least contribute to the Habs' physical play once back to feeling 100 percent.
Mark Streit suffered his injury March 28, 2008 against the Buffalo Sabres from blocking a shot. Though he is scheduled to return against Ottawa tonight (April 1) a person has to wonder if he is completely healed and if it will bother him against during the post season. He is currently ranked fourth in the NHL for both assists (46) and points (58); both are not only a career high for Streit but also a NHL record for a Switzerland-born player. Streit is a two-position player who could easily be penciled in as a defenceman or forward, which may end up being a key advantage depending on the outcomes of Komisarek and Bouillon.
Saku Koivu's right-leg injury was also sustained on March 28, 2008 against the Buffalo Sabres. Knowing Koivu, he may be the one out of all the hurt Canadiens to tough out his broken bone and continue to play once the playoffs begin. Even if he can't find the strength to participate he is sure to make his presence felt. Nevertheless, nobody wants to start a long-awaited post-season without their Captain on the ice with them.
Francis Bouillon's right-ankle injury is a familiar theme - it was suffered from a blocked shot against the Maple Leafs on March 29, 2008. It is still unknown when he is scheduled to return. Significant or not, it is never a good thing for a team to lose three defencemen in only a nine day span.
So just what will happen - Will Komisarek be back in time for opening night of the playoffs?? Will Streit be able to stay healthy and continue where he left off?? And mostly importantly, when is Saku Koivu going to return to play?? Even if we don't have the answers to these questions, we're about to find out soon enough.