My thumb is up to Saku Koivu, who never got his name engraved on the Stanley Cup but whose signature is on something of even more value - a pet scanner at Montreal General Hospital. Koivu retired this week after an end-of-career turn in Anaheim, but he will be remembered as the long-serving captain of the Canadiens, overcoming non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and returning to the most thunderous ovation since Rocket Richard closed the Forum. Koivu was a lightning rod for criticism - he never did learn French - but deeds are more significant than words. He and his foundation bought the diagnostic machine that has helped thousands of cancer-stricken Montrealers. That is a proud legacy.
“People always say that Saku is an incredibly skilled player. He controls the puck, has situations well in hand, and is such a brilliant skater. Yes, Saku has all these, but first of all he has the tremendous will to be the best. He never gives up.”