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» 2009 » December

  • Game 29: Habs/Bruins

    To you from failing hands we throw the torch. Be yours to hold it high.

    Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote those words in 1915 as a Canadian soldier in the Great War. His poem “In Flanders Fields” was written one year before le Club de Hockey Canadien celebrated its first of 24 championships and was adopted by the club to serve as the official motto – a reminder to each player of the fraternity and glory that his sweater symbolizes. Painted first at the top of the Canadiens dressing room in the old Forum, one is humbled at the thought of the legends who have looked upon those words in a quiet moment of reflection before acheiving their ultimate goal.

    It is a testimant to the glory of the organization that 44 former members are also members of the Hall of Fame. Names like Plante, Richard, Lafleur, Beliveau, Morenz and Vezina are legend to the sport. Tonight is the time to pay tribute and respect to those unfailing hands who held the torch up to incredible heights. Tonight we will honour the unquestionable glory that the city of Montreal has enjoyed over the past century - it’s heart and soul displayed nightly on a gleaming sheet of ice. The Canadiens are so much more than a hockey team to its fans. Outsiders like to say that hockey is religion here. I prefer to say it is everything.

    In the midst of a season in which the Canadiens are struggling it is hard not to be disapointed in the centennial celebration that we have endured for the past year. With all of the lofty acheivements of the past, it is incredibly frustrating to watch our Canadiens struggle in a parity driven NHL. The mood over the course of the past 365 days has been largely negative, and while the struggles have taken their toll on the fans and players there is one lesson that I believe we should all take from this day. As fans of the first franchise in NHL history to embark on its second century of competition, we should be well aware that this franchise has struggled in the past. We should understand that while we impatiently await our next turn with the Stanley Cup, that this period of turmoil too will pass. Fans of the Montreal Canadiens possess the luxury of a long memory. Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game against our most bitter rival, we know that some day we will again watch our players carry Lord Stanley’s prize on rue Ste. Catherine as they have in the past. And while we wait for that opportunity we should continue to celebrate this team and the passion we feel for this game as its fans, so that the future generation of Habs fans can continue to hold the torch high.

  • Game 28: Habs/Sabres

    The last time the Habs met the Sabres in Buffalo I had the pleasure of walking out of HSBC arena with a few thousand overjoyed Habs fans due to the unexpected overtime goal scored on a wacky end-board bounce by Brian Gionta. The chant of Ole! was loud that night, and the ride back accross the border was sweet. It was only the second game of the year, and  it took all of my attention just to figure out who was wearing which number.

    Tonight’s match-up feels much different. For one Jaroslav Halak will start after Carey got the nod in 9 straight. Carey was the difference in that game in early October. He has still been the difference in almost every game he has won to this point. I’m glad Jaro is back in action tonight however, as I believe we’ll need both if this team has a hope of moving through the standings.

    Since that game, the Habs have been decimated with injuries. Kostitsyn is slated to play tonight – which is great news because unless Cammy or Plex is scoring the Habs are innept. If Kostitsyn can get playing the way he was before he went down, the Habs will be much better. Gill is close to returning but will sit again tonight as a healthy scratch.

    Here’s hoping the Canadiens can do like that day in October and find a way, however unlikely, to win. Buffalo is playing fantastic lately and Friday night against the Bruins will be far easier if they don’t have the added pressure of an extended losing streak.

    Go Habs Go!!