Koivu a courageous captain

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

That prestigious "C" stitched on Saku Koivu's jersey can only stand for one thing:"Courage".

Yes, the captain of the Montreal Canadiens was robbed of the winning goal by Maple Leafs goaltender Andrew Raycroft late in the third period last night.

And yes, he did lose control of the puck during the shootout, which his Canadiens eventually won 3-2.

But at least he is back.

Having survived a gruelling bout with cancer back in the fall of 2001 -- a period he understandably refers to as "the fight of my life" -- the Montreal Canadiens captain suffered another threat to his career when he was struck near the left eye by a stick during the playoffs last spring.

Koivu has fought back from that too, having notched three points in Montreal's season-opening 5-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.

"I said all along I'd be ready for the start of the season if I didn't have any setbacks with the eye," Koivu said. "I still don't feel 100% comfortable and it's going to take some more time to really adjust to the eye. But so far things have gone great."

THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE

Leafs defenceman Brendan Bell, who suffered an injured left foot two weeks ago, was told to put his crutches away three days ago.

"Initially I thought it was just going to be a bruise," Bell said yesterday."When I found out from the doctors there were complications it was disappointing.

"It's been nice to make some strides in the past week. Now I just have to see when I get clearance to start skating again."

Defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo has been working out with the Marlies. He suffered headaches and dizziness during the first day of training camp and has been out of action ever since.

LOOSE LEAFS

Forward Boyd Devereaux cleared waivers and was assigned to the Marlies yesterday, but did not play against Manitoba ... Goalie Andrew Raycroft said a game puck was put away for him from his first shutout as a Leaf, a 6-0 whitewash of Ottawa on Thursday. "My dad will probably get it. He's into that stuff," Raycroft said.


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