Welcome back, Saku

Former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu will have a second Montreal homecoming Thursday night when he returns to the Bell Centre with the Anaheim Ducks (7:30 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

Thursday’s game will mark only the second time Koivu has played in Montreal since leaving the Canadiens as a free agent following the 2008-09 season.

“In a way, it’s a little easier to come back the second time,” the 38-year-old Koivu told The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs on Wednesday afternoon after checking into the Ducks’ downtown hotel.

“It’s a little less hectic this time than the time before and that’s kind of the way I want to do it.

“There’s not as much hassle — well, not hassle, but the press conference and all the media attention the first time. I’m hoping I can kind of relax and enjoy the day a bit more than the last time, when I felt the butterflies even a few days before.”

Koivu planned to spend a quiet evening Wednesday over an early dinner with friends before facing the Montreal media Thursday morning at the Bell Centre for the Ducks’ game-day skate.

(Photo by Pierre Obendrauf/The Gazette)

A second Montreal homecoming for Koivu, by Dave Stubbs

Memorable quotes from Koivu, by Dave Stubbs

Return engagement for Koivu, Canadiens.com

Canadiens vs. Ducks Preview, NHL.com

Saku Koivu – Hockey Fights Cancer video, anaheimducks.com

Habs playing musical defencemen, by Pat Hickey

New Hab Holland has Seinfeld-esque quality, by Pat Hickey

Laraque says he could add muscle to Habs, The Canadian Press

Habs fans coming to town for HIO Summit, by Stu Cowan

Concussion hasn’t hurt Parros’s sense of humour, Stu on Sports blog

Women make big sacrifices to play for Team Canada, by Brenda Branswell

315 Comments

  1. boing007 says:

    Claude Giroux
    Right Wing — shoots R
    Born Jan 12 1988 — Hearst, ONT
    [25 yrs. ago]
    Height 5.11 — Weight 172 [180 cm/78 kg]

    Richard R

  2. Maritime Ronn says:

    Some questions on the last page about Christian Thomas

    5’9″-176 pounds

    At this point, the Habs don’t need anymore of that.

    • Steeltown Hab says:

      Watching him live, he’s nothing special.

      Hudon, Gallagher, Bournival, even Archembault stood out a lot more to me at the AHL level.

      ———————————

      Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin – @J_Perez22

    • Eddie says:

      But Ronn, we just traded to get “that”, and we just signed more of “that” to 4 million per for 2 seasons.

      We just drafted “that” on two more occasions this past draft in Andrighetto and Reway in 2013.

      So clearly the GM has no problem with “that”.

      Unreal. I agree entirely with your post.

  3. frontenac1 says:

    @Leshabs. Parros stole Orr”s Mojo with that sacrificial Face Plant. Dedication, amigo.

  4. Habsrule1 says:

    I always loved Koivu and would have loved to see him retire as a Hab. I have these dreams that one day his number will be retired. He didn’t have the numbers to justify it, but he had everything else. Leader on and off the ice, gave 100% every single shift, and his dedication to the game and inspirational words and actions should mean just as much.

    Beyond that, I cannot wait for the Summit! I’ll be there on Saturday morning, starting at Chez Cora!
    Who will I be seiing there?

    Go Habs Go!!

    “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

  5. Ton says:

    Question for all posters? MB signing of DD and Briere make him a worst GM than Gainey?

    • J_P says:

      Not a chance. Gomez acquisition will go down as one of the worst moves in habs history. Under Gaineys watch we also made one of the biggest draft blunders in habs history selecting David Fischer 2 or 3 spots before philly selected Claude Giroux.

      Who is David Fischer you ask? my point exactly lol

    • B says:

      It’s only 9 games into those contracts. Perhaps a larger sample size might be in order?

      –Go Habs Go!–

  6. secretdragonfly says:

    Aside from his return from fighting cancer, my other vivid Saku memory is seeing him lying on the ice after taking Justin Williams’ stick in the face and thinking “oh god, he’s lost the eye”. I can’t remember ever getting so angry and feeling so helpless (well, Chara’s hit on Patches is a close second) and I am convinced that single incident cost the Habs the playoff series against Carolina. I still can’t look at Williams today (now with L.A.) without cursing.

    • 100HABS says:

      Chara’s hit was much worse for me as I wasn’t sure Patches was still alive. Another “heart-in-throat” situation was the Malarchuck jugular (though not a Hab).

      That said, I agree with the series outcome. With Saku, I believe we would have beat Carolina and gone on to the finals that year.

  7. DipsyDoodler says:

    Thinking about Louis L.

    So:

    1. Scholarship to Harvard (full tuition).
    2. Drafted in the first round by your boyhood team, who also happen to be the unquestionably greatest sport franchise in the world.
    3. Dating an Eastern European tennis player.

    Someone needs to tell that guy to cheer up.

    • Chris says:

      Aleksandra Wozniak was born and raised in Montreal, where she continues to live.

    • shiram says:

      Wozniak was born and raised in Québec, but the genes are indeed East European.
      But I don’t think anyone should tell him how to feel, he’s to go throuhg a difficult injury and is still coming back from it.
      He also played a good number of NHL games, so he expected maybe a bit more recognition afterwards.

      Keeping him for the pre-season games would not have been too bad I think.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Wozniak Current Rank: 275.
      Not to be confused with the, drop dead gorgeous #10 Ranked Caroline Wozniacki

      Earnings:

      2006 $0
      2008 $277,473
      2009 $443,283
      2012 $336,002
      2013 $104,542

      Cute doesn’t pay the bills.

      Leblanc:
      AHL Salary: $67,500
      NHL Salary: $810,000 + a possible $300,000 in performance bonus.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Carolyn Wozniaki is dating Rory McIlroy.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

  8. DipsyDoodler says:

    Sorry I was mistaken below.

    The Gomez and DD’s contracts are similar after all.

    Sure, one guy earned more than twice what the other did.

    But I forget that on HI/O the only currency is emotion.

    Both contracts make the commentariat angry in equal proportion, which means they are equivalent.

    Carry on.

  9. WVHabsfan says:

    NL Hab

    Thomas is injured

  10. Mattyleg says:

    Got a strange kind of admission:

    Koivu doesn’t mean that much to me.
    I’ll tell you what I mean.

    I lived in Europe for 10 years, and back in those days, the Internets weren’t what they are now, so it was very difficult to keep up with the Habs, so I fell out of touch with them.

    I heard about things; the death of The Rocket, the move to the Bell Centre, defencemen skiing with broken legs…

    But although I heard about Koivu, I didn’t really know too much about him. I heard about his illness and his big return, but all kind of second-hand.

    When I came back to Montreal in 2005 after the lockout, I thought he was pretty good, but nothing too special. I kept my mouth shut about him though, because I could see how strongly everyone felt about him, and that there was a huge emotional connection with him.

    For me, it’s interesting to see him come back, but I don’t have the same memories as everyone else. I suspect that there may also be people out there who don’t feel the same way as the majority do, but choose to keep it to themselves!

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Timo says:

      Matty,

      I feel the same and I actually was here throughout the entire Koivu’s career with Mtl. I think part of that unconditional love could be his battle with cancer and a return to the lineup after beating it. It’s a feel good story that people like and that puts a human face to a professional athlete.

      I thought Koivu was a good hockey player and for the most part played hard and definitely wanted to win. But I also recall periods of time where he didn’t give his 100% and when he either was part of or simply a product of Habs players not wanting to play for the coach anymore.

      So, while I put him in a good Habs guys column I too don’t have a huge warm and fuzzy about him returning to play in Mtl tonight.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      Also, let’s be honest, his last couple of years here were not good.

      His specialty at the end was the lazy o-zone hooking penalty.

      • Mattyleg says:

        As I said at the time, I think he needed a change of scenery.
        He seemed a little jaded at the end.
        He’s doing pretty well in Anaheim, so I’m happy for him.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Say Ash says:

      At least he didn’t lose the locker room.

  11. jeffhabfan says:

    When I think of Saku I think of great leader and pure Class.

  12. LesHabs says:

    Anyone know what’s up with Colton Orr? He hasn’t fought since his 2nd fight with Parros on opening night.

  13. jon514 says:

    Holy crap! Anyone know anything about Jeremy Gregoire?

    http://habsprospects.com/gregoire.html

    His numbers are unreal. Does he have what it takes to produce like that at the NHL level?

  14. shiram says:

    On Budaj, I’m thinking he’ll get a start either on Monday or Tuesday, as it’s a back to back against the Rangers and Stars.

  15. shiram says:

    Parros skating with the team, in what looks like a normal practice jersey.
    http://canadiens.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=21838&navid=DL|MTL|home

  16. HABSGUARDIANANGEL says:

    I’m reallly excited to see saku koivu play tonight!!!


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