Christmas in April… It’s Playoffs, Baby

“How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” *

How are all the armchair coaches in Habs Nation doing today? We beat the Leafs. No, we SMOKED them. 4-1. Masterton candidate pulled from the net. 4 unanswered goals, no less. With our backup goalie. In their territory. And Carey was the only one who sat the game out. Therrien, once again, called his own shots, dressed everybody else, and it turns out, made the best decision.

And in the game that Hockey Night in Canada was practically drenching us with their drool over the inevitable Habs / Leafs matchup in a so-called “Forever Rivalry,” for the first round after the Leafs beat the Habs to a bloody pulp in the so-called “Game 1″ of that series… we won.

We did it with Markov.
We did it without Price.
We did it with Whitey, Patches and Lars!
And the Leafs puzzled three hours, ’till Kadri’s whiny face was sore.
Then haters from Habs Nation thought of something they hadn’t before!
Maybe this team, they thought, doesn’t give up when down.

Maybe this team… perhaps… doesn’t give a crap that they’re midgets and small and doesn’t listen to Toronto trash-talk or CBC or PJ Stock or Glen Healy or all the moaners talking about how they’re going to get swept in 4 in Round 1 and how it’s already time to hit the golf course, and can play their game and focus on only themselves.

I felt a little earthquake last night when all the haters hopped back on the bandwagon. Settle in, guys. It’s gonna be a great ride.

* Credit, obviously, to the brilliant Theodor Seuss Geisel’s “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”

Radar Love

So, yesterday was weird.

It started out like many other mornings on this spring break that I have off work – my nearly 2-year old puppy has mastered the art of sleeping in, and now doesn’t rise until I do. Which yesterday was at about 9am. And then I switched on my Tunein Radio app to listen to TSN 690 in Montreal. Actually, I set the app to start recording the station at 3am my time, then when I get up I listen to the whole morning show on delay. I put on the headphones, take the dog out and for a run, all the while listening to Montreal deejays, their guests and callers.

Here’s what’s weird. It was game day, Montreal to play Boston in Boston later that evening, but it seemed like all anyone could talk about was this Iginla trade that was ruminating. And the gossip was that he was going to the Bruins. And then, all anyone could talk about was the Bruins and the Penguins, who had made a few key moves ahead of the trade deadline. And all this screamed to everyone was stacking up for the playoffs. Playoffs, playoffs, playoffs. BruinsPenguinsBruinsPenguins. Blah blah blah.

You know who’s never a part of any conversation? The Habs. No one pays them any attention. The Habs? Oh, man, they suck, not only did they not even make the playoffs last year, they sucked so badly that they couldn’t even suck enough to get a good chance at the first-round draft pick as a result of their suckage. Last year, the Habs were horrible, and painful to watch.

Last year.

Let’s talk about last year, and how the Bruins were on their way to a dynasty to win the Stanley Cup again. The Bruins won their cup in 2011 against the Canucks –  in Vancouver following a horribly disappointing blow-out in Game 7. Those same Bruins had only barely made it past the first round in overtime of Game 7 with the Habs – the Habs who were minus many key players, including F Max Pacioretty who was recovering from a murder attempt the previous month. The Bruins were one goal away from being sent home by this injury-riddled team. Just one goal.

But WOOOOOOW the Bruins were on their way again! Trumpeted from all the sports outlets! Oh, but then they got knocked out in the first round though, and by the way so did the Canucks, who got knocked out by barely-eighth-place Los Angeles.

And now, the Penguins, and not the Bruins, have acquired Jarome Iginla, Iggy, who was the real star of that Golden Goal at the 2010 Olympics.

Let me back up – so yes, it was a beautiful, warm spring day, and the bf came over and we took the dog for a hike up at the lake. I did something I seldom do, even though I had the opportunity to watch a Habs game live; I decided to record it and watch it later on delay. (P.S. That was hard. It meant not looking at Twitter, not reading my texts, and then, after the lake, we decided to hit up a pub for some dinner, and at the last moment I realized the Habs game was on T.V. there. The bf went in first to make sure they weren’t playing the audio, then backed me in to a table and a chair where I wouldn’t be able to see the game. It reminded me of that How I Met Your Mother episode where the gang decided to PVR the Super Bowl then had to go all day avoiding the score.)

So anyway, we got home, turned on the game, and it was a hell of a game. The Habs were up 2-0, the second by P.K. Subban, widely detested in Boston – then deflated in the 2nd period to trail 4-2. And then. They came out in the 3rd, and after scoring and giving up another goal, scored twice more to tie – the tying goal in the waning seconds of the period, scored by none other than Boston captain Chara. That’s right. Chara scored for the Habs, in his own building, to tie the game. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

AND THEN OH MY GOD THE RECORDING ENDED. We flipped furiously to TSN to see the overtime highlights, and found out that the Habs had indeed won, again, against Boston, in Boston, in the shootout. Glorious. Glorious.

TSN then went live to hear Jay Feaster’s press conference about Iginla’s trade to Pittsburgh, not Boston, as initially reported.

I got this text from one of my pals: “Craziness, Pittsburgh…just give them the damn cup already.”

OK FINE: Let’s talk about Pittsburgh. Yes, they have Sidney Crosby, widely trumpeted on all the networks as the “greatest hockey player on the planet,” and now they have Iginla. But you know what? They still have Marc André Fleury, too. And Pittsburgh, on a 12-game winning streak, only barely beat Montreal the day before yesterday – and got wildly outplayed by Montreal, to boot. Last time they met, Pittsburgh only won by one goal as well – after letting in 6. So they have Iginla now. Will make it even better to watch, as far as I’m concerned.

Let’s talk about Boston. Last time they met Montreal, they lost, after giving up a lead, in their own building. Nothing but excuses after that loss. And after having umpty-ump games in hand against Montreal, I think it was five, during which they’d smoke us in the standings…are now within one point of the Habs with only one game in hand. And they lost last night to what should have been a tired Habs team.

And the Habs are still firmly in 2nd place in the East.

And are not showing any signs of quitting, not showing any signs of giving up in tough contests.

And only 31 games into the season did they finally concede two consecutive games in regulation.

Am I the only one who thinks Boston’s losing it? I mean, by the same token, they ARE in 4th in the conference, but I don’t know, I feel like they’re losing their confidence. They’re not playing with the same swagger, and do nothing but whine after losses. This year, the Habs’ motto is “Pas d’Excuses/No Excuses,” and all the Bruins seem to have is excuses.

No one is talking about Montreal. That’s okay. No one talked about them either in 2010, other than to predict that Washington would knock them out of the playoffs. Oh, and then to predict that Pittsburgh would knock them out. Which neither was able to do.

And this year, we also have a new system, a new coach, a new GM, and what seems to be great chemistry and a team that doesn’t give up. In so many games this year, they’ve come back from a deficit to tie or win, where last year they would have given up. With all the trade deadline talk and stacking up for the playoffs…I have a feeling Marc Bergevin is either going to make some incredibly big move, or no move at all.

Fine by me that this little team is flying under the radar. This little team, many of whose own fans were matter-of-factly stating before the puck even dropped on this shortened season that the Habs wouldn’t even make the playoffs. No one’s talking about them. I have a feeling that Bergevin might actually like it that way. Let ‘em talk. I mean um, not talk.

So, what a difference a year makes. For every team. New year, new season. Keep your predictions, and I’ll keep enjoying watching the Habs and believing.

(The Habs beat the Bruins! Again! And guess what – they next time they meet, I will be there. I’m so excited, I could throw up!)

Happy Valentimes!

  • I don’t read what I write here. But I went back and read the past couple of posts and holy crap, I use “I” a lot. It seems obnoxious. But it is my online diary/opinion-fest so I’m not really talking about anyone else’s point of view. It makes me want to watch out and not do that but then, forget it. That sounds exhausting. And probably not even possible.
  • Just coming off an extra-long long-weekend and it has been marvelous. Didn’t do too many things out of the ordinary, but getting accomplished in 4 days what I barely can squeezed into 2 is a single mom’s dream.
  • In Chile, taking the Friday off when you get a Monday off too is called a making a “sandwich” out of a long weekend. We seriously have the best way of saying things.
  • So we were back to work on Tuesday. Which always reminds me of that one Sex and the City episode where they all referred to this nasty person politely as a “C.U.Next Tuesday.” Which was hilarious. My brother and I took our Mom out for her birthday a couple of years ago, and I cannot remember why, but this topic came up. And my mom was sitting there listening to us go on, and said, “See you next Tuesday? What’s all this ‘see you next Tuesday?’ What – do we have a long weekend?”
  • I had this dream where I auditioned for a part in a stage adaptation of the Wizard of Oz. And GOT IT. I was going to be Dorothy. The whole dream, all I could think was, “Who the hell is the casting director, and is he on crack? I don’t know any of these songs off by heart! And I can’t sing! This is going to be a disaster. I’m no Liza Minnelli!”
  • I woke up in a sweat before opening night, thank god. Also, a couple of days later, I was like, “It’s Judy Garland, not Liza Minnelli. You’re an idiot.” Even in my dreams.
  • Two of my friends and I went to see a Kathy Griffin standup act a few years ago. We had primo seats, something like 3rd or 4th row (hi, Lisa!!), on account of we have connections. But there were two empty seats directly in front us, and we were wondering who would buy such great seats and not show up? Then the lights went down and Kathy took the stage, and very shortly after, two people sat down in the empty seats. IT WAS LIZA FREAKING MINNELLI, and some dude. She’s tiny. And laughs really loudly. And eats lots of candy. She’d just played the same venue the night before, so seeing Kathy was how she enjoyed her night off. Had she sat behind us, we could have tried to surreptitiously snap her picture. Just trust me. It happened.
  • I’ve been counselling my 10-year-old daughter on the ways of catty girls. Oh, the 5th grade drama these children create. My rule of thumb is:  if she has a lot of “temporary” and disposable best friends in her wake, and generally has more ex-best friends than current “best friends” – RUN. Don’t walk away. Will never be worth your time, in fact she will definitely be a waste of your time, and either doesn’t appreciate good friends or doesn’t know how to be a friend, or both. I know a lot of little girls don’t yet have the maturity to develop these qualities, but you can’t start too soon. I know some adult women who have this problem, too. It’s easy dispensing this advice, but 10-year-old girls need to experience things themselves…I just hope  she’s learning from experience, and maybe remembering what her old mom had to say.
  • It’s Valentine’s Day! I couldn’t care less about Valentine’s Day, as it turns out. My “valentine” makes me feel special every day, so that, for me, is all I need. I’m not anti-Valentine’s Day, mind you – particularly for the kids. Valentine’s Day is always fun at school, with all the sweetheart candy and such. The rule at my kids’ schools is if you’re giving one person a Valentine in your class, everyone gets one. So that’s good.
  • On my desk is a six year old card, written in pencil and on red construction paper. The cover says, “We love you,” and inside there’s a heart and message: “from: secrt admier.” I found it deep inside my handbag on Valentine’s Day in 2007. I don’t think that one can ever be topped. And it does make my heart squish a little bit for those years the kids would wish me a “Happy Valentimes, Mommy.”
  • I can’t talk about my various loves without also mentioning the furry four-legged one. She’s mostly a very well-composed puppy, and obedient (as long as she’s not alone in the room). She’s doing well. She does however, speaking of the bf, have a huge weakness when he comes around. It’s fun time, all the time, when he’s here. So she loses her mind. We’re having to come up with new ideas to keep her contained so we can have a moment’s peace when he’s here. It’s his own fault, really, as he plays with her like crazy all the time. So she goads him, and he always complies, playing, rough-housing and getting her worked up. Here’s the thing about this crazy, wonderful dog. You can play with her, and drive her crazy, and she growls, jumps, barks, the works. One thing she never, ever does, is bite. You can stick your hands right in her mouth, and she’ll never, ever even slightly clamp down. Gentlest thing in the world.
  • She has super strong jaws. She’s a chewer. And I have all the implements to satisfy this predilection – the floor in my living room is an actual boneyard. Cow femurs and deer antlers. It’s appropriately animalistic when she gets down to chewing. One time a couple of weeks ago, the bf came over with the solution for the evening, another “eternal” chew that presumably would keep her busy for hours. He gave it to her, and a few minutes later I asked how it was going, and he said, “She ate it like a damned cracker!” Which led us to conclude that if this animal ever decided to actually bite anyone, she could snap a wrist in half in no time. She does. She chews this stuff like bubble gum, and you can see the bubble coming out of her mouth, and it says, “Ain’t no thang.”
  • Which leads me to Leafs fans, defending a grown man biting down on the arm of another during a frenzied scrum in a hockey game. Max Pacioretty, in a game that the Leafs were crushing us, in a melee tried to grab Grabovski off a teammate, and from behind, clamped his forearm on Grabovski’s face for about 1.3 seconds. Grabovski BIT DOWN. This guy is a grown-up. The bite has been dissected and defended ad nauseam since Saturday so I won’t go down that road right now, but the biggest scream from Leafs fans was, “I would bite him too!” “He couldn’t breathe!” “What was he supposed to do?” OK, here’s what he was supposed to do, coming from a 1.5 year old puppy: turn your head, and turn your chin down. Get out of it. This from a dog for whom it definitely goes wildly against instinct to NOT bite. She is such a lady.
  • So I heard my kid calling someone else a “pissant” recently. I was suitably impressed, since pissant is such an old-timey word. Turns out he had read it in a book, and was particularly pleased to know it because he thought it was a dirty word. I burst that bubble, and taught him another one: miscreant. He’s a sucker for vocabulary.
  • My retired boss, with whom I worked for 7 years, retired last year. We still do lunch. He took me out just before Christmas to Hawksworth, which has been deemed “the best restaurant in Canada.” I’d never been there, and was looking at the dishes go by, and told him I thought I would order the burger. He told me I could NOT order a HAMBURGER at the best restaurant in Canada. And I said, “Yeah, but, can you imagine the burger at the best restaurant in Canada???” Whatever, I ordered the ribs. And they were DELICIOUS.
  • So speaking of food, I’ve had the hardest time finding my dog’s food in the past few months. Her food costs more than what I spend on MY HUMANS, specifically, the Okanagan Apple and Lamb flavour made by Acana. She loves it, it’s ridiculously expensive, and now, ridiculously hard to find. I finally bitched to my poor Bosley’s sales representative last week, and he said the food’s been hard to come by on account of the factory having had a horrible fire. Why does everything happen to me.
  • The kids were watching When Harry Met Sally with me on the weekend. In one scene, she’s making out with her vanilla, blond boyfriend in a jacket and tie in the airport. Max took one look and said, “God. I bet that guy’s name is, like, Winston.” Sofia replied, “Or Walter.” I can’t explain why, but I’m surrounded by the most hilarious people.
  • One thing that made me laugh uncontrollably was when Martin Short hosted SNL. Did you see it? He was playing the gynecologist to the Royals, tutoring the new guy who is going to deliver Kate Middleton’s baby. First, he would only refer to ‘it’ as “The Royal ‘Ahem’”, then went on to tell the other guy he was lucky he didn’t have to see Camilla’s, which can only be reached by a drawbridge, that’s guarded by a troll who asks you a riddle! I can barely type that sentence. The mirth. It’s too much.

It’s a school night, so I have to go to bed. The Habs won tonight. 4 points in Florida. And the Leafs are lower in the standings. Life is perfect.

Happy Valentimes!

Life is Just a Fantasy

Image

Check it. It’s written by yours truly to Twitter, the night before the Habs were due to play in Vancouver.

And GUESS FREAKING WHAT.

I know, it’s been two weeks, and I really should have blogged about March 10th, the night the Habs played in Vancouver, the night I look forward to all year, way before now. However, mama’s been busy, like way busier than usual even, and then it seemed like old news and way too late to blog, but then the Habs won in regulation last night for the first time since March 10th, and I saw a tie-in opportunity, so here we are.

So I voiced my private fantasy to Twitter, that my very favourite player on the Habs who I have this (un)secret thing for, would play for the first time in 16 months on the very and only night I could be present to see him. And oh, Andrei. Didn’t you just.

Of course I’m no sort of clairvoyant, Andrei had been travelling with the team and rumours had been running rampant the whole road trip, and I could never decide if the rumours made my heart sing, or break. And then, the day or two before the game in Vancouver, no one was talking much about it, and I thought “it’s too quiet”. I felt something was up. And then I tweeted my tweet. It was met with the usual “dream on” and Mr. Injury Prone responses, but I held onto my dream.

The next morning the rumours were back, and I told everyone to can it because my heart couldn’t take it. And then, the Habs confirmed it. Andrei had been taken off the injury list. He wasn’t confirmed to play, however, just off the injury list. I said to myself, “self, you’re going to see Andrei on the ice tonight. And you will be there. And he will be there. And you’ll BOTH BE THERE.” As if they’d make that big announcement if they had no intention of playing him. I even took  the trouble to post it to Facebook, which I’m never even on anymore.

I was actually ill with excitement and anticipation. Well, I was also just ill. I’d been hit with a sledgehammer of a cold or bronchitis or the plague or something just a few days earlier and was still feeling awful but no longer like I was dying and I was popping Benylins like popcorn because there was no way I was staying home and missing the Habs play in Vancouver and there was NO WAY I was missing Markov’s return.

I was also faced with a dilemma. I had said I was wearing my #67 jersey for the game, had actually been planning to ever since I’d acquired it the previous summer. Max Pacioretty, a prince among men, had recovered from a murder attempt exactly 1 year and 2 days earlier, and had rebounded way beyond anyone’s expectations, scoring his THIRTIETH goal of the season just 2 days earlier, on the anniversary of the hit that could have ended his life, let alone his career. Max. Max knows how I feel about him and I decided if I made a last minute wardrobe decision and wore the Markov jersey, he would understand. Anyone who can forgive the man who tried to kill him would forgive me for wearing my #79 jersey in honour of Andrei’s first game back.

I have one in red, and one in white. I wanted to make extra-sure they’d be in their away jerseys that night (last year they wore red) because I wanted to match, and once it had been confirmed to me by various Twitter friends, I laid my white one out, got ready, and went downtown early so I could grab a good spot down at ice level for warmups.

This is how early I got there.

And I got a pretty good spot.

I also got some video of when they took to the ice for warmup:

It was magic. The guys skating right by me, mere inches from where my face was practically pressed against the glass. Oh and guess what? Remember how last year when I went, Max shot pucks right at me from across the ice? Well, this year, I was sitting there furiously trying to tweet out a really great picture that I got, and the lady beside me poked me in the ribs and said, “I think Max is saying hi to you.” And once again, there he was, shooting pucks at me. You guys.

When the guys skate by, they’re all professional and focused on warming up and pretend they don’t see zillions of fans in the CH gawking and picture taking. The next time Max skated by, I grinned and waved furiously at him. And I swear, he looked.

There won’t be a game recap, but it was a beauty. Markov was back for the first time since November 2010, Price was on FIRE, Staubitz fought, White tried to get into a few skirmishes, Subban got a goal, and Vancouver only got to celebrate ONCE. It was more than I could have ever asked for.

When the 3rd started and we got another goal right away, the Canucks faithful started leaving in droves. I hmphed. Even 3 years ago when the Habs got spanked 7-1, I still stayed until the very end. I did this time too, and was treated to the triple low five and the 3 stars…all Habs. Of course.

I recorded the game so I could re-watch when I got home, with commentary. Damn, Habs fans are loud. I’ve set the game to delete “never”. Never ever.

Life is just a fantasy.

The Year in Review

I was going to do a kind of “year in review” post to end 2011, kind of like the annual letter I sent for Christmas to friends and family – and then realized I don’t have to, because I’d basically just be repeating everything I blogged about this year.

So instead, here’s our annual family photo, and the puppy, who refused to sit for a group shot, and links to some of my stories of 2011, if you’re interested.

With my wish for you and yours: May 2012 kick 2011′s ASS.

Happy New Year!

  1. That time I went to the Habs game in Vancity (and we WON)
  2. Charlie Sheen is cuckoo, we watched American Idol (and vowed to never again after that country-singing carrot-topped kid won), and other general happenings
  3. That time I blogged about Max Pacioretty – incidentally the most-read post on the blog EVER (that also resulted in Max following me on Twitter; I apologize for all the stupid tweets, Max) (and can you believe he’s still following)
  4. A follow-up on Pacioretty, shopping at Costco, and not really an update
  5. How the Habs make me crazy, and I love them anyway. Sure to be a recurring topic.
  6. That time I met Strombo (STROMBO, YO), got flowers on my birthday, and told the world that my daughter used to shoplift.
  7. That time the Habs got kicked out of the playoffs by the Bruins. If THIS becomes a recurring theme, just shoot me now.
  8. That time I was pissed off about North American politics.
  9. That time I thought I was really seriously sick and it turned out I was only a little sick. That was a good day.
  10. That time my son and I hung out, just the two of us
  11. That time the sickening notion of the Bruins winning the cup was close to becoming a reality
  12. Saying goodbye to my Dad.
  13. Selling the condo.
  14. Coffee is serious!
  15. How’s it going?
  16. Back to school and finally selling the condo and buying the townhouse.
  17. People who aren’t punctual piss me off.
  18. The weekend from hell. Or, that time we moved. Also, broken arms and puppy training.
  19. General update on nothing in particular
  20. Thoughts on the coaching/language controversy in Montreal

Which brings us to today. Also adding a picture of just the kids, because I really love it.

P.S. the Habs are on a one game winning streak!! YEEEEAHHHH BABY!

Dear Max

Dear Max,

You don’t know me but I know all about you. Not to sound creepy.

I’ve been following you since that July day when you were drafted to my beloved hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens. I saw your proud face in the picture, so smart in your tie, and the first thing that struck me was the hint of a grin on your face and a mischievous glint in your eye, and the second thing was that you and my then 6-year-old son share the same first name. I always instantly “adopt” anyone who plays on my team, but sharing my boy’s name made you a little more special. I was looking forward to seeing you on the ice wearing the coolest jersey in the league. I was so delighted for you that your very first sweater would be the one that most every kid who grows up playing hockey dreams of wearing one day.

I watched you play your first game, thinking, “I like the new guy!” The kids and I would always cheer a little extra for you when you got a point (“Woohoo! MAX!”) and we’d miss seeing you when you played for the Bulldogs.

Last year when you played your amazing stretch for them, lighting up the AHL, I was excited to see you back in Montreal and seeing what you’d surely accompish there. When I heard your radio interview where you candidly said you were more than happy to stay exactly where you were, so you could PLAY, I was so proud of you. And you made me laugh. But I have to admit I worried your words would make it even harder for me to see you again, since I couldn’t imagine that the Habs’ brass would be too happy with your point of view.

They shocked me by doing the smart thing anyway, bringing you back to the NHL and giving you the ice time to put your money where your mouth was. And did you ever. Such a pleasure to watch you, see your grin, and give so much cause for Habs fans to celebrate, time and time again.

I’ll never forget January 8, 2011 during the game against the Bruins – I had to leave home in the middle of the 2nd period, to go to attend a Canucks game. I’m not a Canucks fan, but when the boss invites you as one of his guests in the corporate suite, you just don’t say no. Anyway, I left home, and we were down 2-0. The Habs/Bruins matchups, as you well know, are the ones that fans of both teams look forward to all season. And being down 2-0 had me bummed out, not gonna lie. I listened in my car on the way to Rogers Arena and hopes got dashed for any comeback. I got to the suite, and turned the TV on just in time to catch Gomez’s power play goal and that got me crossing all my fingers and toes as the seconds ticked away in the game. When Gionta scored the tying goal with your assist, I’m pretty sure they could hear my whooping and hollering all the way in Montreal. When you scored the OT winner, I’m pretty sure my family could hear me. In Chile, I mean. That look on your face as PK came to jump on you! I was jumping around so much I didn’t notice that you’d tapped the hulking Chara on the back until later when they played back the reason he got so upset. Not gonna lie, it made me snicker. Big deal! I realize he and his whole team had just been humiliated in Montreal, which has got to be the worst for them, so it was kind of the last thing Chara needed from you, but I mean, it’s not like you hurt anything but his pride. And we the fans had just been treated to a heck of a game, and bragging rights to a perfect season against the Bruins so far.

The next matchup against the Bruins was on February 9th. Oh good lordy what a spectacle that game was! 14 goals in total, fights and penalties galore! I could hardly believe what I was seeing. Two of the best goalies were taking turns letting goals in minutes apart, and the towering Bruins couldn’t wait to start fights with any old Hab that crossed their paths. Chara was after you that game – I particularly thought his slash to the back of your legs, which had to hurt, was in pretty poor form. But it was very clear that Mr. Chara holds a grudge, and was not going to let up until he got you back for tapping him in the back the previous month. He was thirsting for your blood during the big brawl, and I was elated to see that this 7’5″ or whatever he is, 255-pound, 33-year old did not get the piece of you he clearly intended that night. The 8-6 loss really hurt, as you know every loss does, but it does stink when Bruins fans gloat over beating us. They have to enjoy it you know, because they  don’t get to gloat over us very often. But this loss – they were acting as though they beat us 8-0.

I saw you up close and in person when you were in Vancouver on February 22. Did you hear me screaming “Max!!!” every time you skated by me? I was the loud Chilean at ice-level during warmups, snapping furiously away on my pink camera. You did shoot a puck at the boards precisely in my direction – twice. Come on…do you remember?

When you guys played Tampa Bay last Saturday and you scored twice in the 4-2 win, I tweeted this:

I honestly don’t know what I enjoy more – your goals, or your ear-to-ear grin. OK, the goals. But the grin’s worth a million dollars.

On Tuesday, March 8th, Habs nation was excited. The Bruins were back in Montreal. I started the day listening to Tony Marinaro on the Team 990. He played a recording of his interview with a Boston radio station, where they were loudly, interruptingly and obnoxiously trying to goad him into an argument, talking about how Habs are dirty, how the Habs started all the fights at the last meeting, how the Habs are dive-artists, the worst in the league. Because clearly, the Bruins, in their eyes, play a perfect, flawless, respectful style of hockey. Snort. Tony handled himself with a lot of class. I would not have. Then Twitter was all a-twitter with quotes from some dude in Boston who was tweeting quotes from Merchant, Marchant, whatever his name is, trash-talking the Habs. I forget where I first heard the term, but he was sure acting like quite the disrespectful rookie. It was clear the Bruins were riling everyone up for hopefully another eventful game that would involve a whole lot more than simply playing hockey. The Habs weren’t biting. The only agenda that evening would be to play our game, skate, be disciplined, score and beat the Bruins as usual. Early in the game Ryan White had to take matters into his own hands when…I wanna say Bergeron, went after PK Subban. White won his fight hands down, and got an instigator penalty (what?!). It doesn’t matter. The Bruins turned up absolutely bubkus during their power play.

In fact, they turned up absolutely bubkus from then on. Haha. They were making tons of mistakes and looking worse and worse as the Habs put in goal after goal. Lars Eller was having such a special evening, putting in two goals, and Gio and Wiz put in a couple of power play goals, and my friends and I were high fiving and woop-wooping all over the place.

I’m back. I had to go away for a few minutes because what I’m about to write you makes me very emotional. As the seconds were ticking down at the end of the second period, you went racing after the puck after a faceoff. The enormous Zdeno Chara went racing off after you. He knows what you’re capable of, and the man still had that axe to grind with you. You were not playing the puck, and this veteran decided to take what in his experience he knew was going to be a penalty for an illegal hit, but was gonna be so worth the penalty. The rest seemed to happen in slow motion.

Max, I cannot tell you how I felt when I saw you knocked out cold on the ice. The close up of your face, your lashes giving me for a tenth of a second, the vision of my own Max’s thick black eyelashes on his cheeks when he slept as a baby. My eyes filled with tears, because it’s awful to say, but I thought Zdeno Chara had just killed you. And it chilled my blood to see him defiantly skating away from your crumpled body, surely finally satisfied that you’d gotten what you deserved. I was sickened, disgusted, and horrified, thinking what your parents must have been going through, their beloved son on the ice after what the replay showed to be a devastating, crippling hit. I saw your eyelids flutter and my heart leapt. It seemed to take forever for the team of doctors, and your teammates, to load you onto that stretcher. There are tears in my eyes as I write this now. I cannot imagine, and it breaks my heart to think about, what this absolutely gut-wrenching sickening few moments was like for your loved ones.

Your team went on to handily win the game, but all anyone could think about was you. No one cared about the win, no one cared about the Bruins.

I went to sleep that night only to find that sleep would not come. I was so furious and enraged over the most disgusting thing I’d seen in all my years of watching hockey. It was made all the worse because it stemmed from what seemed to me to be a filthy, vengeful move over a silly gesture made during a celebratory moment 2 months earlier. I could not get over my rage, and somehow found sleep while my rational side told me I’d be cooler in the morning. Well, I wasn’t. If anything, I was angrier in the morning. My first thought was of you. When we received the news that you had a serious concussion and a broken vertebra, all I could think about was you, your family, the team…and the thought that surely, Mr. Chara would be unable to live with himself, and what he did to the season of such a promising young player.

What ensued these past couple of days has been discussed ad nauseum so I won’t rehash it here. But I and the rest of the Habs’ and your fierce fans have been following every moment. Rejoicing over the news that you could speak and were using your limbs. Hi-fiving and celebrating the news that you were walking around. Astonished over the news you’d gone and checked yourself out of the hospital 2 days after having your neck broken. Truly we should not have been surprised. The day after having your ribs cracked this year, you were all, “what? I’m playing tonight.” I cried again when I heard your emotional statement to Bob McKenzie of TSN, and I was also once again SO PROUD of you for speaking candidly.

Max, I want to take this opportunity to say, on behalf of Habs fans who have been living and breathing every snippet of news about you for the past 100 hours, we love you. We fervently wish for your complete recovery, and are looking forward to seeing you back with our boys when that day comes. We are proud of you and you are in our hearts.

Love,

Veronica

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