MONTREAL, QC — I got a fever and the only prescription is the Habs on a Saturday night. You can keep your cowbell. All I need are 20 men in red, white, and blue.
For me, one man of the 20 stands out in the world’s most recognizable hockey jersey with the classic “C” and “H” of Le Club de Hockey Canadien, once called Le Club Athlétique Canadien. That man is the sixteenth to wear 26 in over 100 years of Habs history. All will say the best 26er is Mats Naslund, but to me, there is only one courageous, overachieving, shot blocking, sacrificing warrior, gosh Josh, it has always been you.
First things first: Getting rid of, er, taking care of my family.
Son, no time for cooking. Here’s a ladle, a pot, and some Kraft Dinner. You’re a teenager now. Time for responsibility. And feed the log on the couch you call Dad, and little sister too if you can pull her away from her Taylor Lautner poster for five minutes.
I know where my tickets are. I’ve pulled them out of my purse 500 times in two days. I could tell you how many days growth Max Pacioretty has on his beautiful smiling face in the ticket’s photo. The motto on the tickets is S’Élever Ensemble / Rise Together.
So my friend and I rise together and into the rocking Bell Centre.
The New York Rangers are in town riding a seven game winning streak. No one expects the injury riddled Habs to win. Why am I so nervous?
The promenade is a study in sociology. Teaming with people juggling beer and food. Some put food in their pockets, holding onto the beer with their teeth and balancing trays of nachos and hot dogs in both hands. I wonder if I should tell them the Cirque du Soleil is looking for jugglers?
I overhear a TV crew complaining about Scott Gomez as usual and probably blaming him for global warming. Appropriate actually because it must feel to Gomez like he has the fate of the world on him.
One of the men reporting on TV is François Gagnon. That was about a 50-50 proposition he’d be there. He’s more popular than my favourite snack – popcorn.
I know the Bell Centre popcorn comes from a bag the size of an eight year old, and is probably popped in China by an eight-year-old about eight years ago, and I know it is warmed up by a sun lamp to give me the illusion of fresh, and I know I’ll miss a car loan payment by buying it, but I absolutely had to have popcorn. I don’t know why. It’s never good popcorn. Still, I enjoyed it more than the guy in the row in front of me, because I showered him with it when Erik Cole scored. The casualties of war.
We have great seats in the reds as we see the Habs attacking in the first and third periods. Much to my surprise Francois Gagnon isn’t in my seat proving false the notion he is, in fact, everywhere.
The Habs organization presents a moving tribute to Eddy Palchak. Memories of my childhood watching Hockey Night in Canada with my Dad and family come flooding back in the still-life photos on the scoreboard of Eddy’s time behind the most talented bench in hockey history. Eddy won 10 Stanley Cups. I remember warmly all of them. I fight back tears not just for the loss of Eddy, but maybe for the loss of all those amazing moments fading too quickly into the Habs past, and perhaps for the years passing quickly for me as well.
Enough of that. This is a night for joy I hope.
The Habs emerge. Two little boys hold the club’s flag. One is a goalie. This is fabulous as every time a little goalie circles the rink, the Habs win.
A positive omen just like in “It’s a Wonderful Life” when Zuzu says to her Dad “Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings”. Yes that’s it exactly. That young goalie gives the Habs wings.
Puck drop. I do the sign of the cross. I might be slightly superstitious. Heck, it surely can’t hurt, can it?
Brian Gionta’s first goal was a complete blur. It was clear across the other side and it happened so fast. I only reacted when I heard the screams. How could I miss the spectacular goal of our 28th captain? My bad.
Can you people please stop screaming “Shoot”? Oh, the insanity! They are passing to create something better. Wait for it. Do I have to run a clinic here in the stands? See I told you. A beautiful powerplay goal by Tomas Plekanec.
I couldn’t have asked for a better game. Price with his second straight shutout. A complete effort made even more impressive by the fact that five of the six Habs defenseman don’t even have 100 games experience in the world’s best hockey league.
The only blue liner who does with 384 NHL games is Gorges the man who wears the jersey 26. It’s the same jersey I wore to the game, but as I lay my head down to sleep I suppose I should change out of my No. 26.
Thankfully, I will just slip into my Josh Gorges 26 t-shirt and sleep the sleep of 24 Stanley Cups.
As I lay my head on my pillow feeling so satisfied, I know that life is made rich by nights like this.
Oh! Geez! I hope the kids are okay.
Category: Fan Focus
About the Author (Author Profile)Born and raised in Montreal, Effie is a true Montrealer. A true city girl. She always says that if it takes you more than 15 minutes to get downtown, you live too far! She greets people with a two-cheek kiss, she drives fast, and loves her Montreal sports teams. She has seen The Expos play live at the Big 'O' many, many times, grew up steps from the Olympic Stadium and used to watch the Montreal Alouettes practice (Peter Dalla Riva always took the time to speak to the kids) but its the Tricolore that are dear to her. The Habs hold a special place in her heart. Her stories are heartfelt, and passionate and all about the Habs
Sites That Link to this Post
- My Habs: Oh What a Season It’s Been | All Habs | April 10, 2012