NHLer Saku Koivu anbnounces his retirement from professional hockey
|It's an end of an era in the National Hockey League today. The Saku Koivu era.
Koivu, 39, announced his retirement from professional hockey after a long, successful and injury plagued career.
Here's a run down on Koivu's career in hockey, including his achievements and the hardships that he'd endured.
Drafted 21st overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Koivu joined the team in the 1995-96 season. He was rank fourth amongst NHL rookies that year with 45 points in 82 games.
In his second year in the league, Koivu was among the NHL's leading scorers with 13 goals , 25 assists for a total of 38 points.
Unfortunately, Koivu also suffered a knee injury on December 7, 1996 and missed 32 games. However, he did managed to finished the season with 56 points.
The next two years were not too kind to Koivu as he was plagued by injuries. Somehow, though, he continued to pile on the statistics during those two seasons. Koivu was able to play over 60 games in both seasons. He scored 57 points in 1997-98 and scored 44 points in 1998-99.
In 1999, Koivu became the 27th captain in Canadien's history. He also became the first European-born player to wear the "C" in the team's history.
Koivu received some unsettling news in 2001. He was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (a form of cancer).
Koivu was suppose to miss the entire 2001-02 season as he underwent treatment for the disease, but made a remarkable comeback.
On April 9, 2002, at the Molson Centre in Montreal, Koivu received an eight minute standing ovation from the Canadien's fans. He also helped get his team into the playoffs that year. A inspirational story, indeed.
For his inspirational comeback, Koivu won the Bill Masterston Trophy.
Koivu's story gets better.
The following year, he scored a career high 71 points (21 goals, 50 assists).
During the lockout season of 2004-05, Koivu went back to his native Finland to play with his former team, TPS.
On January 9, 2007, Koivu reached the 500 career point plateau.
In 2008, Koivu moved up to seventh place on Montreal's all-time assist leaders list, surpassing Maurice "Rocket" Richard.
During the 2008-09 season, Koivu tied with Jean Beliveau as the longest serving captain in Canadien's history. After the season was over, he signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Anaheim Ducks where he became an alternate captain.
On March 12, 2012, Koivu played in his 1,000th game.
Last season, Koivu showed he was perfectly able to play with the pros as he recorded a solid 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists). After the season was over, he became a free agent.
Anaheim announced recently that they wouldn't re-sign Koivu.
In 18 seasons in the NHL, Koivu scored 225 goals, had 577 assists for a total of 832 points in 1,124 games. Playoffs: 18 goals, 41 assists for a total of 59 points in 79 games.
Internationally, Koivu won gold with Team Finland at the 1995 World Hockey Championships. He also has three Olympic bronze medals (1994,1998, 2010) and a silver (2006).