Koivu set to make return to Montreal as member of Ducks Staff

1/20/2011 5:46:11 PM

In the storied history of the Montreal Canadiens only two men have served as captain for as many as ten seasons.  Jean Beliveau was the first when he wore the C from 1961 until he retired after the 1971 season.

The second was Saku Koivu, who captained the Canadiens from 1999 until 2009.

Now a member of the Anaheim Ducks, Koivu will return to the Bell Centre for the first time since moving west and inking a two-year deal with the California club.

Though he loved his time in Montreal, Koivu is aware of how strange it will be walking into his old home.

"I used that facility for so long and it's a very familiar place but now being on the visiting team, an opponent, it's going to feel very weird." Koivu told the media.

Koivu was drafted by the Canadiens in the first round of the 1993 entry draft and made an early impact, putting up 20 goals in his rookie season.

In fact while with the Canadiens, he tallied 191 goals and 450 assists in 13 seasons.

Koivu, the 27th captain in team history, expects to get a good reception from the Montreal crowd in his return.

"Obviously you hope for the best but you never know," said Koivu.  "I think we were able to build a special bond and relationship with the people of Montreal. They were behind me and supported me throughout my career and I don't expect anything but a positive reaction."

Koivu lost almost the entire 2001-2002 season battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  When he courageously returned to the line-up late in the season to help with the playoff push, he received a standing ovation from the Montreal fans that lasted over five minutes.

It's one example of the special bond with the fans that Koivu hopes to this day remains unbroken.