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Why The Habs Should Retire Koivu's Jersey

Retiring Koivu's Jersey   118 members have voted

  1. 1. Should The Habs Should Retire Koivu's Jersey ?

    • Yes
      41
    • No
      72
    • Don't Know
      5

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158 posts in this topic

One of my first memories of the Habs is the 1993 Stanley Cup Win. Either way that cup would be something to celebrate, as if it were not the Habs winning it would be Gretzky winning with the Kings. The Habs won, I was 9 years old. I was watching the game at Chili's with my sister, and people were celebrating... I think we really nailed that game five and I remember thinking "oh cool this is historical", or something like that.

In the 1993 entry draft, we somehow managed to draft Saku Koivu at 21st overall. It was widely seen as a good pick, so it's nice if a Stanley Cup winner goes on to get a future. He didn't play in the NHL the following year when the Habs did badly. I remember hearing Saku Koivu described as "the best player in the world not playing in the NHL. Not sure if that was 1993-94 or 1994-95. In his rookie season, 1995-96, he went off to a good start, with 20 goals and 25 assists. He would eventually be the first European captain of the Habs, captaining them for 13 seasons, the longest stretch of any Habs captain.

Unfortunately, while he was a good player on this team, the best we had for a while, he often played pretty much alone. In the years 1994-1998, the team drafted Brad Brown, Terry Ryan, Matt Higgins, Jason Ward, Eric Chouinard with its first round picks. In 1995, Patrick Roy and Captain Mike Keane were traded to Colorado for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Ručínský, and Andrei Kovalenko. In 1996, Pierre Turgeon, Craig Conroy and Rory Fitzpatrick were traded to St-Louis for Shayne Corson, Murray Baron and a 5th round draft choice. In 1999 Rechi was traded to Philadelphia for Zubrus, a 2nd rounder and a 6th rounder. In 1999, Damphousse was traded to San Jose for considerations that became a 2nd rounder and a 5th rounder. Basically, this period was a comprehensive catastrophe, the only surprise is that we never traded Saku Koivu for a 3rd rounder in the 2000 entry draft ... we could have drafted Jan Bohac. Koivu's team was largely put together in this period, and to my chagrin, the fans often seem to blame Koivu for the fact we didn't win a cup during his tenure. Later on, the team began to improve under Koivu's continued leadership, but there were still problems. Ron Hainsey and Francois Beauchemin were given up for nothing.

One wonders how he would have done without cancer, without knee injuries and without getting hockey sticks in the eye. In 1996-97, he had 38 points in 38 games before getting a knee injury. When he came back from cancer in 2001, he scored 71 points. In 2006, the Canadiens were crushing the Carolina Hurricanes in the playoffs when he received a stick to the eye. The Habs went on to be eliminated, and the Canes went on to win the cup. His best playoff performances were a 2nd round exit in 2001-02, 2003-04, in 2007-08. These are impressive performances for a team that was largely led by a few good players and a bunch of mediocrities. In the 2007-08 playoffs, Koivu actually had better playoff stats than Kovalev, with 9 points in 7 games whereas AK27 had 11 points in 12 games. To an entire generation of habs fans, those runs were all we saw. I also liked players who came and went, like Brian Savage, Richard Zednik, Jose Theodore, etc. Koivu was the mainstay.

His last season here, 2008-09, was very much a metaphor for his entire career. When he played on a line of Tanguay-Koivu-Latendresse, he was largely ppg. When he played on a line of Tanguay-Koivu-Kovalev, he was largely ppg. However, he also spent large swaths of the season playing with overrated mediocrities like Christopher Higgins who belong on a checking line, or babysitting Max Pacioretty and Matt D'Agostini. Carbonneau never tried Koivu-Kovalev-Kostitsyn. Since that season, Carbonneau has gone on to coach Canada's junior team to a 7th place finish after 7 straight world junior championships, and Latendresse has gone on to become a top power forward and a guy you can expect to score 30 goals. Meanwhile, the Habs have gone on to sign Scott Gomez, a guy who got paid 7.4 million for 12 goals and 47 assists last year. Koivu went on to the ducks, where he got paid around 3.5 million to score 19 goals and 33 assists. He was rewarded with a 2year contract paying 5 million total. Koivu played 13 years without ever getting a Ryan Smyth or Ryan Malone, whereas Gomez got Brian Gionta in his first week.

Saku Koivu would also win 3 bronze and 1 silver olympic medal, a gold, two silvers and a bronze at the world championships, and a silver at the 2004 world cup of hockey.

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Saku Koivu was the player I grew up watching continously in my childhood. I'm 21 now, and I still have tremendous respect for him.

I hope one day he does return, either player, but more likely in managment/ambasador/or even a part of the coaching staff.

BUT

To have his #11 retired, I say no. To have his name honoured, in the newly created "Ring of Honour" at the Bell, YES.

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I'll preface this by saying Saku is my hero so I love the guy.

First of all, the decision needs to be made on the requirements of jersey retirement. Saku was never a great player, so based on play alone the answer is a resounding no. He's basically been a 65 point guy for his career. A good one, who was responsible in his own end and in his prime would have made a very high end 2nd line center and was a passable first line center but clearly not a great player.

Second, the team quality argument is a popular one and I can understand it and see some merit but IMO it is overstated. Yes, he had poor linemates for a fair bit of his time but with that said the lack of team quality also gave him more ice time and PP time then he really probably should have gotten, especially if we were a good team. I think part of Saku's legacy is the whole "rose in concrete" thing.

I think Saku's time in Anaheim is a good example, went there, played a vast majority of the season with Bobby Ryan and/or Selanne on his wing but was stuck behind Getzlaf, his minutes were different. PK time was up and PP time was down significantly, which is why his results ended up being similar to Montreal despite the improved linemates (Before the season people were predicting 70-80 points due to finally getting to play with Teemu or a power forward like Ryan). Really, Saku was mostly a PP producer during the latter stages of his time here. His 5 on 5 production was very meh.

Saku received a monstrous contract from the organization in 05-06, like at the time it was close to Gomez massive based on where the cap was so it shows the respect the organization had for him and there's no doubt about his off ice greatness. Amazing human being, easy to root for, did so much for the city, apparently a great teammate and leader and at 1 point I thought if he retired a Hab and played until 40 it was very possible. Probably would have had close to 900 points if healthy, longest serving captain ect. but it didn't happen and what we're left with is 13 good - very good seasons where he averaged about 60 games per year and about .80 PPG so 48 or points per season and 65 points per 82 games.

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I'll preface this by saying Saku is my hero so I love the guy.

First of all, the decision needs to be made on the requirements of jersey retirement. Saku was never a great player, so based on play alone the answer is a resounding no. He's basically been a 65 point guy for his career. A good one, who was responsible in his own end and in his prime would have made a very high end 2nd line center and was a passable first line center but clearly not a great player.

Second, the team quality argument is a popular one and I can understand it and see some merit but IMO it is overstated. Yes, he had poor linemates for a fair bit of his time but with that said the lack of team quality also gave him more ice time and PP time then he really probably should have gotten, especially if we were a good team. I think part of Saku's legacy is the whole "rose in concrete" thing.

I think Saku's time in Anaheim is a good example, went there, played a vast majority of the season with Bobby Ryan and/or Selanne on his wing but was stuck behind Getzlaf, his minutes were different. PK time was up and PP time was down significantly, which is why his results ended up being similar to Montreal despite the improved linemates (Before the season people were predicting 70-80 points due to finally getting to play with Teemu or a power forward like Ryan). Really, Saku was mostly a PP producer during the latter stages of his time here. His 5 on 5 production was very meh.

Saku received a monstrous contract from the organization in 05-06, like at the time it was close to Gomez massive based on where the cap was so it shows the respect the organization had for him and there's no doubt about his off ice greatness. Amazing human being, easy to root for, did so much for the city, apparently a great teammate and leader and at 1 point I thought if he retired a Hab and played until 40 it was very possible. Probably would have had close to 900 points if healthy, longest serving captain ect. but it didn't happen and what we're left with is 13 good - very good seasons where he averaged about 60 games per year and about .80 PPG so 48 or points per season and 65 points per 82 games.

This.

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I'll preface this by saying Saku is my hero so I love the guy.

First of all, the decision needs to be made on the requirements of jersey retirement. Saku was never a great player, so based on play alone the answer is a resounding no. He's basically been a 65 point guy for his career. A good one, who was responsible in his own end and in his prime would have made a very high end 2nd line center and was a passable first line center but clearly not a great player.

Second, the team quality argument is a popular one and I can understand it and see some merit but IMO it is overstated. Yes, he had poor linemates for a fair bit of his time but with that said the lack of team quality also gave him more ice time and PP time then he really probably should have gotten, especially if we were a good team. I think part of Saku's legacy is the whole "rose in concrete" thing.

I think Saku's time in Anaheim is a good example, went there, played a vast majority of the season with Bobby Ryan and/or Selanne on his wing but was stuck behind Getzlaf, his minutes were different. PK time was up and PP time was down significantly, which is why his results ended up being similar to Montreal despite the improved linemates (Before the season people were predicting 70-80 points due to finally getting to play with Teemu or a power forward like Ryan). Really, Saku was mostly a PP producer during the latter stages of his time here. His 5 on 5 production was very meh.

Saku received a monstrous contract from the organization in 05-06, like at the time it was close to Gomez massive based on where the cap was so it shows the respect the organization had for him and there's no doubt about his off ice greatness. Amazing human being, easy to root for, did so much for the city, apparently a great teammate and leader and at 1 point I thought if he retired a Hab and played until 40 it was very possible. Probably would have had close to 900 points if healthy, longest serving captain ect. but it didn't happen and what we're left with is 13 good - very good seasons where he averaged about 60 games per year and about .80 PPG so 48 or points per season and 65 points per 82 games.

This Again

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I love him, but I don't think his number should or will be retired.

This

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I'll preface this by saying Saku is my hero so I love the guy.

First of all, the decision needs to be made on the requirements of jersey retirement. Saku was never a great player, so based on play alone the answer is a resounding no. He's basically been a 65 point guy for his career. A good one, who was responsible in his own end and in his prime would have made a very high end 2nd line center and was a passable first line center but clearly not a great player.

Second, the team quality argument is a popular one and I can understand it and see some merit but IMO it is overstated. Yes, he had poor linemates for a fair bit of his time but with that said the lack of team quality also gave him more ice time and PP time then he really probably should have gotten, especially if we were a good team. I think part of Saku's legacy is the whole "rose in concrete" thing.

I think Saku's time in Anaheim is a good example, went there, played a vast majority of the season with Bobby Ryan and/or Selanne on his wing but was stuck behind Getzlaf, his minutes were different. PK time was up and PP time was down significantly, which is why his results ended up being similar to Montreal despite the improved linemates (Before the season people were predicting 70-80 points due to finally getting to play with Teemu or a power forward like Ryan). Really, Saku was mostly a PP producer during the latter stages of his time here. His 5 on 5 production was very meh.

Saku received a monstrous contract from the organization in 05-06, like at the time it was close to Gomez massive based on where the cap was so it shows the respect the organization had for him and there's no doubt about his off ice greatness. Amazing human being, easy to root for, did so much for the city, apparently a great teammate and leader and at 1 point I thought if he retired a Hab and played until 40 it was very possible. Probably would have had close to 900 points if healthy, longest serving captain ect. but it didn't happen and what we're left with is 13 good - very good seasons where he averaged about 60 games per year and about .80 PPG so 48 or points per season and 65 points per 82 games.

Couldn't of said it any better, he was a great guy, good player and amazing captain but having your jersey retired is something that is legendary and only the great of the great should earn this honor. Saku definitely deserves some sort of recognition but not his #11 retired. If the one thing Gomez wants from the Habs organization is the number 11, then I say give it to him, Saku is still playing in the NHL and Gomez has been dying to get this number since he got in the NHL. You never know it might even make him a better player.

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I think it would be too much. To have the practice facility after him could be one thing, though.

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Couldn't of said it any better, he was a great guy, good player and amazing captain but having your jersey retired is something that is legendary and only the great of the great should earn this honor. Saku definitely deserves some sort of recognition but not his #11 retired. If the one thing Gomez wants from the Habs organization is the number 11, then I say give it to him, Saku is still playing in the NHL and Gomez has been dying to get this number since he got in the NHL. You never know it might even make him a better player.

The only way you could retire the #11 is on a basis of the quality players that have shared the number Saku Koivu, Kirk Muller, Yvon Lambert. All three players were fan favorites and great teammates,that have represented the Habs with dignity and class.

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I know that I am out-numbered in this argument but I'll try to argue why I think Saku's jersey should be retired... one day, not any time in the near future. First, I will preface this by saying the Canadiens have been the most storied franchise in the league and have more retired jerseys than any other team, so it is a lot harder for a player to come in and live up to the legends of Rocket Richard or Guy Lafleur or Jacques Plante than it is to play in Coumbus or Nashville and be the greatest thing the franchise has ever seen.

I don't think anyone will ever mistake Saku's play for one of the greats. He was, as many have pointed out, a good number two center who was forced to play the role of a number one most of his career. But he was, at the time of a serious knee injury, leading the league in scoring one year, and no one can question that he had great skill. He was arguably the Canadiens' greatest success at the draft in the last 20 years. When you look at the players who surrounded him, Saku never had the supporting cast that a Guy Lafleur or Jean Beliveau had. He didn't have an All-Star goalie backstopping his team year after year. And he didn't have a big general manning the point the way Doug Harvey or Larry Robinson did. As good as Markov and Souray and company played from time to time, none stack up to the Habs' blue-liners of the past.

Saku also played in a different era than the players' whose jerseys are retired already. When some of those players were stars, there were as few as 6 teams in the league and on a pure odds basis, the chances of winning at least one Cup were much greater back then. The Stanley Cup is now likely the hardest of the major North American professional sports leagues to win a championship in, and so to criticize a player for not winning is not necessarily just. It is not like in football where a quarterback is judged for this, because a QB has a much greater impact on a game than one position player in the NHL. I concur that Saku never had enough skill to be able to lift a team on his shoulders in the post-season, but I don't think that was for lack of effort, and as I said, a lot of that had to do with injuries, absence of star goaltending (as we had this year), and a disappointing supporting cast as well.

So what makes Saku stand out then? For over a decade, he was the face of this team. He captained through times when the media was overly harsh towards him and his teammates. He came back from a serious knee injury, from a serious eye injury, and from cancer, and he never ever used any of those things as an excuse. Although I was never privy to the ongoings in the dressing room, by all accounts, Saku was the epitome of a team player, always supporting his teammates and welcoming rookies, always available to the media and never blaming anyone else for the team's short-comings. The emotional lift that Saku gave to this team was as great as what Rocket Richard did for his, albeit in a slightly different way.

If Saku's jersey were never retired, I couldn't complain. I could understand that decision, and there are other players whose names could come up in the conversation who are still waiting or who waited far longer than they should have. But looking beyond statistics, I look at Saku Koivu as being one of the true role models and heroes this franchise has developed, and in an era where that seems to be lacking amongst our Glorieux, that says something to me. As great as Kovalev's skill was and as much as he loved Montreal and even being a player who won a Cup in his career, I can't compare his greatness to that of Koivu. When we talk about players who wear the CH on their heart, Saku Koivu is the player over the last two decades who most represents that dedication to me, and for that, I believe it would be an honor as a fan to have his jersey displayed in our rafters so that when children years from now talk about the history of the Canadiens, they remember there was a warrior who gave everything he had for the success of this team.

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No. Plain and simple. Jersey retirement is reserved for great players - legends. Saku is a good guy, but he wasn't a great player. Never was he among the best players in the league, at least not after his first injury during his sophomore season. If you retired the numbers of every player in Habs history who was comparable to Koivu, there wouldn't be a single "normal" number left. He was my favorite player for much of his time here and I respect him a lot, but his number doesn't deserve to hang with the likes of Richard and Beliveau.

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lol.. not this thread again.

Funny, I thought the same thing when I saw it....

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Short & sweet...big time Saku fan...sad that he is gone.........but the answer is NO.

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I know that I am out-numbered in this argument but I'll try to argue why I think Saku's jersey should be retired... one day, not any time in the near future. First, I will preface this by saying the Canadiens have been the most storied franchise in the league and have more retired jerseys than any other team, so it is a lot harder for a player to come in and live up to the legends of Rocket Richard or Guy Lafleur or Jacques Plante than it is to play in Coumbus or Nashville and be the greatest thing the franchise has ever seen.

I don't think anyone will ever mistake Saku's play for one of the greats. He was, as many have pointed out, a good number two center who was forced to play the role of a number one most of his career. But he was, at the time of a serious knee injury, leading the league in scoring one year, and no one can question that he had great skill. He was arguably the Canadiens' greatest success at the draft in the last 20 years. When you look at the players who surrounded him, Saku never had the supporting cast that a Guy Lafleur or Jean Beliveau had. He didn't have an All-Star goalie backstopping his team year after year. And he didn't have a big general manning the point the way Doug Harvey or Larry Robinson did. As good as Markov and Souray and company played from time to time, none stack up to the Habs' blue-liners of the past.

Saku also played in a different era than the players' whose jerseys are retired already. When some of those players were stars, there were as few as 6 teams in the league and on a pure odds basis, the chances of winning at least one Cup were much greater back then. The Stanley Cup is now likely the hardest of the major North American professional sports leagues to win a championship in, and so to criticize a player for not winning is not necessarily just. It is not like in football where a quarterback is judged for this, because a QB has a much greater impact on a game than one position player in the NHL. I concur that Saku never had enough skill to be able to lift a team on his shoulders in the post-season, but I don't think that was for lack of effort, and as I said, a lot of that had to do with injuries, absence of star goaltending (as we had this year), and a disappointing supporting cast as well.

So what makes Saku stand out then? For over a decade, he was the face of this team. He captained through times when the media was overly harsh towards him and his teammates. He came back from a serious knee injury, from a serious eye injury, and from cancer, and he never ever used any of those things as an excuse. Although I was never privy to the ongoings in the dressing room, by all accounts, Saku was the epitome of a team player, always supporting his teammates and welcoming rookies, always available to the media and never blaming anyone else for the team's short-comings. The emotional lift that Saku gave to this team was as great as what Rocket Richard did for his, albeit in a slightly different way.

If Saku's jersey were never retired, I couldn't complain. I could understand that decision, and there are other players whose names could come up in the conversation who are still waiting or who waited far longer than they should have. But looking beyond statistics, I look at Saku Koivu as being one of the true role models and heroes this franchise has developed, and in an era where that seems to be lacking amongst our Glorieux, that says something to me. As great as Kovalev's skill was and as much as he loved Montreal and even being a player who won a Cup in his career, I can't compare his greatness to that of Koivu. When we talk about players who wear the CH on their heart, Saku Koivu is the player over the last two decades who most represents that dedication to me, and for that, I believe it would be an honor as a fan to have his jersey displayed in our rafters so that when children years from now talk about the history of the Canadiens, they remember there was a warrior who gave everything he had for the success of this team.

Well put Big Ted

I think it really depends on what you feel a jersey/number retirement really means.

IMHO a team should retire a player's number for outstanding contributions to the team and as a way of saying thank you for everything they did for the organization. This could include civic gratitude (and I think it should as a professional sports team is a big part of a city's pride and identity) if the contribution on the player's part is deemed of such great significance. Ideally, the player should have been a significant part of a championship team at least once.

Most fans seem to feel retirement of a number should be solely based upon Cup championships or at least phenomenal statistics.

Apart from all the points raised by Big Ted I would add that Saku's more intangible qualities (loyality, humility, perseverance, courage and class) and contributions to the team and the city of Montreal should be acknowledged by retiring his jersey.

It was because of HIS foundation (how many Habs established an actual foundation for charitable works?), HIS time, HIS EFFORTS and HIS money that Montreal's Childrens' Hospital got an MRI scanner.

THese machines are mega $$ and the government won't buy one if it isn't good for the budget. This is Canada, not the USA where they have MRI's in TRUCKS. So Saku chose to provide the community with an MRI for humanitarian reasons whereas the Government uses economical and political reasons to make such decisions.

If your kid ever gets cancer you might end up directly benefitting from Saku's contribution.

So absolutely he should be honored with jersey retirement as he did absolutely everything he could for the team and the city short of a Cup win (and that is a direct result of the abysmal teams he had to play on compared to all of the past greats).

Jersey retirement should celebrate a player as a person, not just a player. Why? Because one of the things sports is supposed to do is teach life lessons and help instill positive human qualities in us. If you subscribe to the notion that it should only celebrate the sports achievements then I guess sports should just be about getting drunk to watch the game, ***** with your friends while you do so and fart as loudly as you can.

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Why, what did he do?

But more seriously, no. Sure, he was good and a fan favourite, but to retire his jersey... can you REALLY compare him to the likes of Richard and Lafleur and Savard? I think not.

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I say no, even though he is well-loved.

Besides, I personally think if we keep retiring our players' jerseys, we won't have any to wear. We'll be the first team with triple digit numbers...

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Well put Big Ted

I think it really depends on what you feel a jersey/number retirement really means.

IMHO a team should retire a player's number for outstanding contributions to the team and as a way of saying thank you for everything they did for the organization. This could include civic gratitude (and I think it should as a professional sports team is a big part of a city's pride and identity) if the contribution on the player's part is deemed of such great significance. Ideally, the player should have been a significant part of a championship team at least once.

Most fans seem to feel retirement of a number should be solely based upon Cup championships or at least phenomenal statistics.

Apart from all the points raised by Big Ted I would add that Saku's more intangible qualities (loyality, humility, perseverance, courage and class) and contributions to the team and the city of Montreal should be acknowledged by retiring his jersey.

It was because of HIS foundation (how many Habs established an actual foundation for charitable works?), HIS time, HIS EFFORTS and HIS money that Montreal's Childrens' Hospital got an MRI scanner.

THese machines are mega $$ and the government won't buy one if it isn't good for the budget. This is Canada, not the USA where they have MRI's in TRUCKS. So Saku chose to provide the community with an MRI for humanitarian reasons whereas the Government uses economical and political reasons to make such decisions.

If your kid ever gets cancer you might end up directly benefitting from Saku's contribution.

So absolutely he should be honored with jersey retirement as he did absolutely everything he could for the team and the city short of a Cup win (and that is a direct result of the abysmal teams he had to play on compared to all of the past greats).

Jersey retirement should celebrate a player as a person, not just a player. Why? Because one of the things sports is supposed to do is teach life lessons and help instill positive human qualities in us. If you subscribe to the notion that it should only celebrate the sports achievements then I guess sports should just be about getting drunk to watch the game, ***** with your friends while you do so and fart as loudly as you can.

WELL SAID!!!! :)

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when he retires from hockey and doesn't get a job broadcasting the games for the habs (color commintator) my bet is he'll have a lot more support for having his jersey retired, and i'll say the same thing- which is i'll know a lot better in 20 years. (shortened from 25)

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I say no, even though he is well-loved.

Besides, I personally think if we keep retiring our players' jerseys, we won't have any to wear. We'll be the first team with triple digit numbers...

Or irrational numbers, like the square root of 5, or 3^e if there were no triple-digit numbers.

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First time posting here so I hope I don't come off as a dick :D

Koivu was a great Captain, a great player in the organization who faced a great amount of slag from the Media because he wasn't a French Canadian, and took as much abuse from a majority of fans for his ability to take bad penalties...but let's be honest man Koivu was the man when he had to compete with "great players" like Martin Rucinsky, Shayne Corson, Sergei Zholtok (RIP), Andrei Kovalenko, Oleg Petrov (Twice!), Valeri Bure, Juha Lind...the list goes on and on really.

I guess what I'm getting at in the long run is what that other poster said earlier - definitely in the Ring of Honor, definitely have a team award named after him - being named the Captain of the Canadiens is an amazing honor and if you put on that C you definitely are an above average player - I'd also like to point out that while he as our Captain we didn't do a bone head trade like we have with the past 5 captains where we were basically fleeced (with the arguable exception of the Muller trade but we basically traded Muller for Corson at the end of the day - wonder why I hate Houle so much!)...respect yes Retirement no way.

I mean now that Gomez is wearing it as well, talk to Muller, Ryan Walter, Ted Harris, the man who ruined the franchise nearly Rejean Houle,Yvon Lambert and other better then average players who wore it that they were good but not good enough to have it retired in their honor.

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Perhaps he could even be inducted in the HHOF someday...

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Perhaps he could even be inducted in the HHOF someday...

His numbers likely aren't strong enough to get him into the HHOF. Its a shame,, otherwise that would probably at least get him recognition on the Habs Ring Of Fame.

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