MONTREAL - There was something special in the way that Montreal Canadiens fans embraced Saku Koivu.And the Bell Centre crowd showed it again on Thursday night with a standing ovation in a 30-minute pre-game tribute to the former Canadiens captain ahead of a game against the Anaheim Ducks.The nearly five-minute ovation brought tears to the 40-year-old Koivu, who retired after spending the last five years of his 18-year NHL career in Anaheim.I always felt that I was respected as a player and for the way I played the game, but what makes me feel humble was the way I was loved by the fans, Koivu said before the tribute. Sometimes you think about why it happened, why they took me as their own.You cant explain it, but there has been a real, unique bond between the fans in Montreal and myself. Theyve shown their passion and love and support throughout the years and really, its been amazing.The ceremony began with a scoreboard montage of photos and a mix of mostly fans and former teammates thanking him and saluting his hockey career.Koivus wife Hanna, daughter Ilona and son Aatos, his father Jukka and mother Tuire were on the ice as he gave a moving 15-minute speech without the help of written notes.Bonjour mes amis de Montreal (hello my Montreal friends), he began in French before switching to English to acknowledge another former captain, Jean Beliveau, who died Dec. 2 and who was the subject of a sombre pre-game ceremony only last week.He was the ultimate captain, Koivu told the crowd about Beliveau. When I think of the great legends that were here before my time I feel honoured and privileged to have served as captain of the Canadiens for nine years. I consider that my greatest achievement.The crowd roared when he said Montreal truly is the most exciting place to play hockey, and I will always be a Hab in my heart.The night had been planned since before the season for the night the Ducks visited the Bell Centre.He thanked every player, coach trainer and equipment man he worked with in Montreal. He thanked J.S.Tremblay, the former player and scout who convinced the Canadiens to draft him.But he choked up thanking the team of doctors who saved his life when he was struck by abdominal cancer ahead of the 2001-02 season.After being presented with a painting by the remaining Canadiens from his time in Montreal, he ended his speech in French, saying he will love the Montreal fans forever.Koivu, a gifted centre from Finland, lived through soaring highs and terrible lows in his 13 seasons with the Canadiens from 1995 to 2009.Never moreso than in 2001-02, when he was diagnosed with abdominal cancer at the start of training camp. After a season of debilitating treatments, he shocked the hockey world by returning with three games left in the regular season.At his first game back, fans stood and cheered for several minutes.Then Koivu helped the Canadiens make the playoffs as the eighth and final seed, and knock off the first-place Boston Bruins in the first round.That year, the lows I went through and then being able to come back and be a factor in the series, it was a dream come true, he told reporters earlier in the day. Its like the whole story was written before.I dont want to use the word regret, but probably the only thing (missing), and Im not only even talking about winning a Stanley Cup, is really, genuinely competing and maybe being in the finals. Because we saw that a few times, winning in the first and second round, how this city reacts when you win. That year was special.The following season, Koivu had his best campaign with 71 points, but what won the fans over even more was how he started a foundation to raise $7 million for a PET scan machine to help in cancer diagnosis for others.The story of Koivus career was great talent but terrible luck.Koivu was selected 21st overall in the 1993 draft and looked to be a scoring star in the making until his career was slowed by a series of knee and shoulder injuries. He was named captain in 1998, a job he held for 10 years.He joined the Canadiens in 1995, just in time to see the storied franchise come apart with the replacement of general manager Serge Savard and coach Jacques Demers with the inexperienced Rejean Houle and Mario Tremblay.Three months later, star goalie Patrick Roy was traded to Colorado and the team went into a downward spiral that took years to stop.That first few months, and then having the last game at the Forum and first game at the Bell Centre, I pretty much saw everything that can happen all in that first year, said Koivu. And I realized fairly quickly how big hockey is in this city and this province.There were a tough few years not making the playoffs, but in the early 2000s, I think everybody saw a complete change and turnaround. Winning the Eastern Conference one year and having talented players coming up pretty much every year. It made a difference. I think the franchise is on that path now and their future is really bright.It was frustrating and hard but at the same time Im really happy I stayed here and I was able to see the other side as well, a successful team.Another scary moment followed in the 2006 playoffs, when he was high-sticked by Carolinas Justin Williams and suffered damage to his left eye.The setbacks, and the grace and determination with which he fought back and handled them, had much to do with the affection fans developed for the first European ever to wear the C for the Canadiens.On his first game at the Bell Centre as an Anaheim Duck in 2011, he got another long ovation instead of the boos departed Habs often get on their return.I really didnt know what to expect because Id seen some former players that played somewhere else come here and the reception wasnt always as good, he said. It was a pleasant surprise.It was like coming home, and when I got the reaction from the fans, I really felt the love and respect.After the 2008-09 season, the Koivu family decided they needed a change. He signed a one-year deal as a free agent with Anaheim and ended up staying for five. It gave him a chance to play for a contender, even if the Ducks fell short of winning a Cup.He ended his career with 255 goals and 832 points in 1,124 games.He also played in four Olympics for Finland, winning a silver and three bronze medals. And he led Finland to silver at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.He and his family havent decided whether to stay in California or return to Finland. He expects to stay in hockey in some capacity, coaching perhaps, but hasnt worked that out yet either.For now, hes getting used to being a retired player, while acting as assistant coach of Aatos team.I havent lost the passion for the game, he said. I just didnt have that push, mentally, any more to play and compete and thats why I retired. But I wish that one day Ill still be part of it, in a significant role, somewhere in hockey. Fake Air Max 90 White . On Sunday, hell attempt to become the youngest driver to win a NASCAR Nationwide race on Iowas short track. The 20-year-old Blaney wont be the only kid pushing a podium finish. Air Max 90 Essential White . Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks were proof of that on Wednesday night. http://www.outletairmax90cheap.com/outle...ns-cheap.html.Y. - The New York Yankees made it official Saturday, announcing the completion of a seven-year deal with free-agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and a one-year contract for returning starter Hiroki Kuroda. Air Max 90 Clearance .5 million. The 25-year-old Varlamov is thriving under first-year coach and Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, posting a 26-9-5 record with a 2. Cheap Air Max 90 White . Cabrera-Bello shot a 1-over-par 73 and was caught by Webster, who carded 70 at Doha Golf Club for three-round totals of 12-under 204. They were only one stroke ahead of Adrien Saddier of France, the biggest mover with six birdies in his opening seven holes in a round of 64, South African Thomas Aiken (70) and Denmarks Thorbjorn Olesen (68) on a packed leaderboard.DALLAS -- Erik Cole scored twice and Tyler Seguin netted his 20th goal of the season as the Dallas Stars edged the struggling Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Tuesday night. Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar scored for Los Angeles, which has lost four straight. The Kings, beaten at Chicago on Monday, will end a four-game trip on Thursday at St. Louis. The Stars have earned five points during the first three games of a five-game homestand. Kari Lehtonen (16-8-7) stopped 23 shots for Dallas. Cole notched his second two-goal game of the season, and both have come within Dallas past three games. Seguin reached 20 goals for the second time in his four-year NHL career. He had 29 goals in 2011-12 with Boston. Carter and Kopitar tied Justin Williams for the team lead with 13 goals. Dallas previously anemic power play accounted for Coles first goal and Seguins tally. It was the first time the Stars have scored multiple power-play goals in a game since Oct. 11. Dallas went into the game with the NHLs 29th-ranked power play (11.7 per cent) and the leagues worst at home (4.8 per cent). Seguin put Dallas ahead for good at 12:13 of the secondd period.ddddddddddddHe corralled a puck that caromed off the boards behind Ben Scrivens (17-5-4) and banged it off Scrivens left skate as the goalie slid across the crease to try to cover the opposite post. Cole followed three minutes later with a wrist shot from a sharp angle near the goal line that beat Scrivens to his right. Carter gave Los Angeles its first lead during a 4-on-3 power play with a deflection of Mike Richards shot that popped over the right shoulder of Lehtonen and dribbled into the net. About three minutes later, Cole tied it by swatting in a rebound that was nicked by Dallas Alex Chiasson following a shot from the left point by Seguin 35 seconds into a power play. Kopitar accounted for the final margin 1:05 into the third period with a shot from the left circle after Dallas Benn brothers, Jamie and Jordie, got tangled up and lost the puck. NOTES: Dallas forward Ray Whitney sat out with the flu, the first game that the 23-year NHL veteran has missed following 16 consecutive appearances. ... The Kings dropped to 4-2 in the second of back-to-back games. ... The Stars won the season series 2-1. ' ' '