About Last Night…

I don’t do game analyses because I’m nowhere near qualified. I leave that to my esteemed bloggers in the column to the right. When I watch hockey, I watch the Habs, and my heart is so involved, I have no objectivity. I’m not one of those people, like most of my fellow fans, it seems, who’s paying attention to who’s coming on & off the ice, the line-shuffling, and many times I have to wait until the commentator tells me to find out who just scored the goal.

I’m a Habs fan first, hockey fan second. I care not for any hockey game being played in the Western Conference, for example, unless it’s a playoff game, and during trade season, I usually have no idea who these new guys are coming on to my team. Like, NO idea. I count on the experts to tell me all about them. And then I adopt them like my own. I love the game of hockey, see, but it’s because of my love for my team. So we’re clear.

The Habs/Leafs rivalry is like no other in the NHL. Of course that has to do with that there are but 4 other teams with as much history as those 2 teams, so our deep-seeded bitterness goes waaaaay back. I hate the Bruins too, but hate the Leafs the very most of all. One of the times I hated them the worst in my whole life was in the Habs’ final game of the 2006-2007 season, against the Leafs, who already were not going to the playoffs, and the Habs HAD to get the 2 points to make it through. We had a healthy lead, too, then heartbreakingly lost 6-5. No playoffs that year. Lost to the stupid LEAFS. I could have been angry at my team (told you, total lack of objectivity), but instead chose to focus my wrath on the Leafs, for whom the victory was particularly sweet because it was our hearts they had broken. Cruelty in its purest form.

My lack of objectivity, as I say, is the biggest reason I cannot thoughtfully commentate, and the facts & figures bog me down too. There’s only so much space available in the ol’ noodle. Evidenced by my inability to add 12+5+1 this week. Remember that?

Before the puck ever dropped on this season, in the days leading up to the pre-season, this really odd thing started happening on Twitter and on the Habs blogs I read. People, Habs fans even, were already predicting we would not be a playoff team this year, or that we’d barely squeak in. THIS is why I could never qualify to engage in these debates – huh? Not even make the playoffs? I do not understand how this thought is even possible. Also, I never allow myself to consider that my team won’t make the playoffs. Just – can’t and DON’T do it. Did everyone forget that we made the Eastern Conference FINAL just a few short (but oh my god, at the time they were INTERMINABLE) months ago? This group of guys who largely didn’t even know each other before last September, who played without Markov for most of the season and without Cammalleri for weeks, who’d made our hearts sing with joy & hope during the post-season, playing with heart and sterling character and beating the so-called top teams left and right, this despite (or because of?) coach Jacques Martin, whose head had been called for by the Montreal faithful 12,563,907 times last season? Like, I do not even get how anyone could already predict the end of the season given the above, in that fashion.

Oooooh, yeah. In the off-season, Montreal traded away our Jaroslav Halak, the goaltender who’d stood on his head throughout the last playoff run, with many crediting his amazing goaltending for single-handedly carrying us through. Now, I admit, it was a head-scratcher at first, but finally made sense given his salary. And you know what? I was really, really, really really really pleased for Carey Price. This super-talented kid, who’d lost his way for a while as most kids tend to do (how else do you learn?), was going to finally show his detractors, I was sure. The reason is how maturely he’d handled his benching through the end of last season. Took it like a man, diligently & dutifully showing up for all his practices and workouts. Just because he wasn’t seeing ice time didn’t mean he wasn’t still earning a paycheque. I was proud of him for this, particularly in contrast to the behaviour of the young, petulant, entitled Belarussian we traded away before the season (I’m so sorry, Cathie). It’s how you face adversity that shows your character. And I was looking forward to watching this cool-as-a-cucumber, soft spoken young man play again.

So yes, while it was sad to see Halak go, and I genuinely wish him nothing but the best, he pretty much ceased to matter for me the moment he departed Montreal. There was a new sheriff in town, and his name was Carey Price. That’s what happens when you love your team…you throw your support behind them. Right?

Yeah, not so fast. During the pre-season (which I’m in no way embarrassed to admit I watched all of…my team’s on TV, I watch them; I don’t care that the games “don’t matter”), Carey had an off-game at home. And the Bell Centre boneheads (which aren’t many, but damn, are they loud) booed him. What kind of fan boos their OWN TEAM. I will never, ever comprehend that. Be angry, be frustrated, but boo? They should be ashamed. ASHAMED. And of course the opposing teams’ fans & bloggers (and oh yeah, Don Cherry) all rushed to make sure everyone knew that the Habs have “the worst fans in the league”. In fact, last night during his bloviating on Coach’s Corner, about 8 weeks after the fact, once again Mr. Cherry hastened to remind everyone how Carey had been booed at home. Never misses his chance, that Grapes.

Carey, I was so proud to see, also handled this rude behaviour by our “fans” with aplomb, telling everybody to just chill out, it’s the pre-season. Like the mother that I am (easy, I’m not old enough to be his mom), I was so proud of the way he just forgot about it, not allowing these creeps to define him.

OH YEAH. LAST NIGHT. That’s why I started this.

The matchups between the Leafs and the Habs are the ones I most look forward to, even though the Leafs are sucking so bad lately, because of the FEELING, the epic highs of beating them and crushing lows of losing to them. Experiencing every emotion. We’d lost our season-opener to them, and it still stung. Last night was a particularly poignant evening, having lost our beloved former coach, Pat Burns, to his valiant, dignified years-long battle with cancer, the day before. Mr. Burns had also coached the Leafs, so both teams were looking to win it for him. Going into last night, Carey already had 3 shutouts in the regular season, including against the hated bullies known as the Philadelphia Flyers. He’d had a bad night a couple of nights before against the errrr…Predators, but who cares. He wasn’t to blame for that loss. How can your team win when they don’t even score?

Well, the night began with a touching dedication to Pat Burns. It was sad and awesome to watch the various temper tantrums (as my son called them) he’d had throughout the years. Mr. Burns wore his emotions on his sleeve, just my kinda guy. And then, the Bell Centre fell into complete, absolute reverent silence in his memory. It was beautiful.

I’m not going to break down the game, but we scored 2 times against the Leafs, and they scored ZERO times. The second time we scored, ex-Hab Komisarek even generously passed the puck to Cammy who slid across on his knees and beat Gustavsson. HahahahaHA. It was a thing to behold! Shutout #4 for Carey Price. Oh, baby. Even Lapierre had some pretty beautiful moves last night.

Our team is getting really tight and seeming more like brothers with every game they play. Despite the fact that it’s a little scary to contemplate possibly an entire season with Markov out, I’m so confident in them and get so much joy out of watching them play. And I looooove watching the “cocky, disrespectful” (WHATEVER) P.K. give Carey the triple-low fives after every victory – I’ve got a feeling those two really love each other. The team this year feels in my heart like the Habs of old, a brotherhood, a family, sappy as it sounds. I can’t remember a recent Habs team that bounces back from low lows as quickly or with more effective amnesia than these 2010-2011 Habs. And yes, it’s still early in the season as everyone continues to remind us, but it’s not just the stats or standings that give me hope, it’s how these guys are really there for each other. THAT’S what makes a team.

So yeah. It’s gonna be a great season. I feel it in my bones.

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Comments

  1. What’s a Don Cherry?

    That is all.

  2. Reading this, it strikes me that some so-called experts (Cherry to name one) do act as foolishly as some so-called fans. It’s not the exclusive domain of ‘fans’ to come up with stuff that baffles the mind.

    • well said Veronica –

      I was one who really did not think Habs would make the playoffs due to lack of goaltending. I am happy to be proven wrong.

      It was a good game last night and I am enjoying the season.

Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Veronica and Douglas Sannik, RG. RG said: RT @chile_pepper About Last Night…: http://wp.me/pLEAI-bi […]

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