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Saku's Anniversary (and other links)

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Your collection of fine links for the afternoon.

Dave Sandford

Today marks the anniversary of probably the most emotional day in 21st century Habs history. In September 2001, Montreal Canadiens centre and captain Saku Koivu was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. After missing the first 79 games on the 2001-2002 season, Koivu returned to the lineup in a game against the Ottawa Senators on April 9, 2002. Koivu received a nine-minute ovation from the Bell Centre faithful, longer than the 8:33 of ice time he received from coach Michel Therrien in the game. I was a mere whippersnapper of 10 when this game was played, and truthfully not that interested in hockey. However, I can still remember that ovation and the reaction of the Habs fans in my family. I can't do the moment justice, but luckily I don't have to. Former EOTP Robert Lefebvre editor penned a beautiful history of Saku's triumphant return, drawing on the media coverage of the time. Here's a brief passage:

For [Habs left-wing Brian] Savage, he never lost hope, because he knew Saku better than anyone. He watched every step of the way as Koivu battled the uncompromising adversary that is cancer. He has seen Saku defy it with the determination that has always been a trait of his character. He has seen Koivu manage each stage of the illness, grimacing, crying, raging, and cussing. Savage had seen it at its worst, as Koivu looked as frail as a dead man walking. Brian Savage would have liked to be at Koivu's side last night.

I know I'm getting pretty purple here, but sometimes sentimentality is called for. I also know we have some Koivu fans on the blog, and I'd love to hear what number 11, and that moment 11 years ago, meant to you.


If you want to switch gears entirely, I've also assembled some pretty good for the day. Enjoy!

Habs News and Analysis
Know Your Enemy: Washington Capitals Edition
General News and Analysis