Hockey

Habs optimistic about Koivu's eye

Saku Koivu's eye injury is improving and the Montreal Canadiens are hopeful their captain will recover in time for training camp next season.

Saku Koivu's eye injury is improving and the Montreal Canadiens are hopeful their captain will recover in time for training camp next season.

Koivu suffered a torn retina when he was struck in the left eye by an errant high stick from Justin Williams in Game 3 of Montreal's first-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes. He underwent surgery on May 6 and has been recovering in Montreal.

Team doctor David Mulder said Koivu has shown "further improvement" and that the 31-year-old will finish the remainder of his recovery in his homeland of Finland.

"His vision is improving steadily and his retina is healing well," Mulder said. "During the course of the summer, follow-up examinations will be done by an ophthalmologist in Turku, and he will be on a progressive program to gradually increase his level of physical activity."

While there have been positive signs in his recovery, progress has been slow.

The Canadiens captain told the Montreal Gazette last week that he wasn't certain his eye would improve enough to play hockey again.

"The vision I have … it's pretty good right now," Koivu told the Gazette. "But they can't tell me if that's the way it's going to be for the rest of my life. I've got to wait a few more months. If nothing happens, I think everything is going to be fine. It might tear again. That's the risk you face."

Koivu has played all 10 of his NHL seasons in Montreal. The native of Finland has 137 goals and 460 points in 569 career games.

With files from The Canadian Press