Monday, April 9, 2012
This Day in Sports History - 4/9/2002
Center and team captain Saku Koivu of the Canadiens receives an eight-minute standing ovation from Montreal fans at the Molson Centre before a game against the Ottawa Senators as he returns to the ice for the first time since being sidelined with abdominal cancer at the age of 27. Koivu was declared cancer-free in February 2002. Montreal wins, 4-3, to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 1998. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, Montreal will knock off the top-seeded Boston Bruins in six games before losing in the next round to the Carolina Hurricanes. A native of Finland, Koivu is dealt another serious setback in 2006 when struck in the eye by the stick of Justin Williams of the Hurricanes. Koivu suffers a detached retina, but returns to play despite reduced peripheral vision.