MONTREAL -- The similarities are striking, albeit unmentionable.
A week after the Montreal Canadiens did a masterful job celebrating the life of the franchise's greatest ambassador and captain, they will attempt to do it again Thursday for another giant figure in Canadiens history prior to their game at Bell Centre against the Anaheim Ducks.
No, Saku Koivu cannot be compared to Jean Beliveau. Nobody can.
But if there is one Canadiens player who has come close since Beliveau's retirement as a player in 1971, or as close as can be reasonably expected of a human being, a strong argument could be made that it is Koivu.
Beliveau and Koivu captained the Canadiens for 10 years and was the best player on his respective team for a number of those years.
But the biggest legacy in the cases of each man is his spirit of generosity, involvement in the community, and genuine desire to make a difference in people’s lives.
"I think [Koivu] was a great captain," said Dr. David Mulder, the Canadiens' longtime chief surgeon who had unique relationships with Koivu and Beliveau. "I think there was only one Jean Beliveau."