My first post here. Iīve actually been reading this forum for a few years and always liked it a lot, but havenīt been very keen to write here. And it might be that I wonīt write much here in the future also.
Why I wanted to write now is because there was a very nice article about Saku Koivu in a Finnish sport magazine and I wanted to share it with you. Especially now with all the hussle going on. It was in one of the biggest Finnish sport magazines called Veikkaaja and can be readed on their web page, at least at the moment (http://www.veikkaaja.fi). Itīs of course in Finnish so I donīt think many of you can read it, but I will try give you some notes about it in English.
The article basically tells about Sakuīs career in Montreal and there are some things that I found interesting and havenīt come across before, even if Iīve been following Sakuīs career quite closely since he was drafted by Canadiens (been cheering for Habs even before that). On the top of that, some quotes from other players might interest at least some of you, keeping in mind some discussions on this board. The interview for this article was made just before the current slump so it wonīt tell anything about it and is therefore quite positive. (You must also keep in mind that because of many reasons in Finland Saku Koivu is the absolutely biggest hockey star there is. Bigger than Selanne or Kurri)
So here it goes.
- Saku first says he has been much more motivated this year because he thinks this team has a good chance to go all the way. He thinks that if they get things going on at the right moment and the team stays healthy they will have a good chance to win the Cup. Even though in todayīs NHL there are always many teams who have a chance to the Cup if everything goes right for them.
- He says he have had a word with the team managemet few times during the recent years because he didnīt like where the team was going and it wasnīt competitive enough.
- He thinks the atmosphere was even better in the old Forum than in Bell Centre (for me itīs hard to believe since I was able to see couple of games in Bell Centre just before Christmas...) and he enjoyed playing there. He also thinks that there were more real fans in the audience then because tickets were cheaper.
- He says that he knew Canadiens and tryed to study some things about them when he was coming to play there. Even then he had no idea what Canadiens mean to the city of Montreal when he first came there.
- He thinks that they had a very good team in 97-98 season and if they had a couple of more talented players it could have ended differently. He also says that during the play offs 98 they just hit the wall named Dominic Hasek and couldnīt get through even if they dominated games.
- Next season (98-99) was very difficult because the team just blew away and all the good players were sent elsewhere. He didnīt have any idea where the team was heading then.
- He was told to get some muscles after his rookie season. The next summer he trained like a maniac. The writer of the article thinks that this was the main reason why Saku had so many injuries earlier in his career, even if Saku has never said so himself.
- When chosen to be the captain of the Canadiens he really thought they will choose Shayne Corson. He says he was a little bit in a shock when he realised he was sitting in the team president Pierre Boivinīs office as a new captain discussing about what were the expectations for the team captain from the management.
- After that he went to Corson and personally asked him to be his assistant because he thought he will need an experienced back up. Corson understood the situation and accepted his request even if he had just lost the election.
- In his first years as a captain he tryed to lead by an example. He also says he always had a good feeling about the teamīs trust and support for him and never had to compromise it.
- Even if he was the captain of Team Finland in Nagano Olympics 98 (by the way, in that very same team there were players like Kurri, Tikkanen, Selanne, Numminen, Lehtinen, Timonen and also couple of Finnish hockey icons like Jutila and Helminen, Koivu was chosen to be the team captain at the age of 23...), he says it didnīt give him much help to be the captain of Canadiens. He couldnīt use his mother language which made it harder and the pressure and expectations from the fans and the media were much higher. But somehow he got through it. After couple of first years it was much easier.
- He says he doesnīt remember much about his come back game after cancer because it was so emotional. He also says that he hated it when they lost the series against Caroline that year even if he had just won cancer. He just wants to win, every time.
- He says that during the time of new team owner (Gillet) and GM (Gainey) everything has chanced. That is the main reason he made a three year contract 2006 (doesnīt say anything about the next year or the future).
- He says he has come to know Jean Beliveau during his years in Montreal. He also says Beliveau has said to him that he can give Beliveau a call at any time if he needed some help.
- At the end of the article he says that all the ingredients for a cinderella story are there... And I personally think he means both the team and himself.
And then, as I promised, there were also some quotes from players. Even if they are given for a Finnish magazine writing an article about Koivu I think they really speak for themselves.
Chris Higgins: "Iīve played almost all my NHL career in the same line with Koivu. He has helped me alot during these years. Every now and then he says something strict but at least for me he has been quite nice."
Mathieu Dandenault: "Koivu shows his leadership on the ice. He works hard, fights all the time and inspires all the others. If something isnīt right heīs always the first one to bring it up. Off the ice heīs very relaxed guy who is fun to be with."
Alex Kovalev: "Koivu is the soul of this team which he has again proved this season. Last year he was unlucky with injuries. Heīs a fighter who always wants to win."
Roman Harmlik: "Iīve played in many teams and I think Koivu is one of the best leaders there is. Heīs always trying to do his best. Everyone on the team is trying to take after him. Koivu lives with a passion and even gets angry every now and then. All the players respect him."
Mike Komisarek: "I feel Iīm lucky to be Koivuīs team mate and friend. He has helped me alot in my career. The team couldnīt have better leader."
So, I really hope you have enjoyed it. There might be some things I couldnīt translate exactly as they were in Finnish text, so I hope you donīt read everything word by word and try to turn it to something it is not.
This slump is going to end sometime soon and I trust this team. It may be that in June we will all look back and realize these were the days when this group of players finally grew up together and a team was born...
Last edited by Dr Blanket: 02-18-2009 at 08:21 PM.
I'll never forget the day after the scrum between Koivu and Ribeiro when the fans booed Saku. It was one of those times when I was embarassed to be a Habs fan. Fans taking sides with that rat ******* instead of our true leader.