Top 25 Montreal Sports Moments Of 2014: 15-11

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Dec 18, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens former player Saku Koivu during a ceremony honoring him before the game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

11. Saku Koivu Returns As A Canadien

Saku Koivu had been back to the Bell Centre since he left as a free agent for the Anaheim Ducks, but when he came back for “Saku Koivu night” on December 18 when the Canadiens faced off against the Ducks, it was different.

Koivu once again donned the bleu-blanc-rouge to a standing ovation at the Bell Centre and gave a very stirring speech.

It was a chance for Canadiens fans to give Koivu a final goodbye.  A true thank you for the memories. Koivu showed some emotion that is not something that I was accustomed to seeing from him, even through all of his battles on and off the ice.

Koivu had a lot of criticism while he played here, either from the media for not knowing French or from fans for not being a true number one center. But, none of that was clear on that night. Koivu even threw in some French and I didn’t hear one member of the media say something negative during the week of the event.

The video that the Canadiens prepared for Koivu before introducing him was also very well done. Being in attendance, it was almost surreal after the ceremony to watch a hockey game. It was really about about Saku.

Hearing Michel Lacroix tell the crowd to be quiet so that Koivu could speak and Koivu struggling to deal with the attention before speaking was what Montreal was all about. They love their own and they love Saku Koivu.

-Jared Book