#40: Saku Koivu
Saku Koivu is the highest-ranked current Montreal Canadiens, and rightfully so.
Koivu has had to battle a lot of adversity in his (so far) 13-year career with the Canadiens, but he’s also had a lot of success.
He has been a consistent player throughout those years, routinely scoring 20 goals, and being the team’s best faceoff man and usually assigned the role to stop other team’s top scorers. He’s seen on the ice late in the game, whether the team is up by a goal or down by a goal.
At the start of his seventh season with the Habs, Koivu was diagnosed with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. After missing most of the year, he came back with three games left in the season to help the Habs clinch a playoff spot, and eventually defeat the Boston Bruins in the playoffs (the top ranked team in the Eastern conference).
In April, 2006, Koivu suffered an eye injury at the hands of Justin Williams of the Carolina Hurricanes during a playoff game. The Habs, who were leading the series at the time, went on to lose without the leadership of Koivu.
Koivu didn’t let it get him down, as he went out the next season, and set career high in goals (22) and points (75).
On the international level, Koivu has been a success. He has won eight different medals at these events, including the Olympics, World Championships and the World Cup of Hockey.
Before coming to Canada, Koivu was won two Finnish championships, and was player of the year in 1995.
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