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KOTKANIEMI HAS FULLY RECOVERED FROM SCARY INJURY

Speaking with media on Friday, Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien confirmed Jesperi Kotkaniemi has fully recovered from a scary spleen injury suffered in March.

At the time of the injury, Kotkaniemi was playing with Laval Rocket in the AHL. His injury was announced as season ending, however with playoffs being delayed until later this summer, that has changed. Though Kotkaniemi didn’t finish the season in the NHL, he may get a chance to suit up in the playoffs.

“I think a lot of things will have to get put into place once we’re all together. First of all, the players have the option to opt in or opt out. That’s to their discretion,” Julien said, referring to whether or not Kotkaniemi will play in this year’s playoffs. “There’s still a lot of question marks out there before I can say anything with certainty. A lot of things have to fall into place before I can make those kind of decisions.

“What I am happy about is that he’s actually been deemed healthy. He had an injury at the end of the year that really set him back, so the stop to the season has given a lot of the guys around the league with long-term injuries an opportunity to come back. So, we look forward to seeing him back with us, and when we do, I think we’ll be able to assess and decide which direction we’re going with all of our players.”



The 2019-20 season was a frustrating one for Kotkaniemi. The 19-year-old, who was taken third overall at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, had just six goals and eight points in 36 games with the Habs this year before being sent down to Laval. He was able to pick his game up in the minors, with 13 points in 13 games. Despite his struggles this season, he is extremely talented and may be able to help the team in the upcoming postseason if used properly.


COLTON PANKIW
JULY 3, 2020  (13H38)
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