Don’t ya think? We’ve had to put up with a lot of crap in the last year or so. First we had like six mayors that had to quit because of corruption allegations. Then there’s that seemingly neverending corruption inquiry with all these characters talking about stuffing safes/socks/envelopes with money, deliberately making highways with self-destructing materials, and generally making us look like a banana republic.
Did I mention the Charter debate. That was fun. But nothing compared to the bitter divisive provincial election campaign. We all needed a week of showers after that one (to paraphrase Don Macpherson).
So I just thought of the perfect cure-all for our blues – a nice lengthy Habs playoff run. Look, it’s not likely that we’ll win the Cup – of course we could but it’s not the likeliest of possibilities. But the Canadiens could go two or three rounds and just think how that would improve everyone’s mood in this distressed city.
I was listening to Mario Langlois and Philippe Cantin on 98.5 FM this morning talking about Habs fever and Langlois was waxing eloquent about how important the Habs are ici. He was yakking bout how the CH insignia is like the Quebec flag, that the Habs are our Church and that when they’re rocking in the playoffs, suddenly we’re all pals, we’re all on the same team. (Except, I might add, for all those disgrunted old Nordiques fans out there! You know who you are! I won’t mention any names but for the sake of the story, I’ll call you Rafael. Ha ha.)
Cantin also underlined how the team unites anglos and francos. And it is true that the Habs is maybe the only thing both communities agree on. At the end of our recent appearance on Q on CBC Radio, Marc Cassivi ended the conversation by noting that at least we have the Habs to keep us going through all these unpleasant social/political/linguistic arguments.
So how cool would it be if we could keep this thing going for at least a few weeks? Well obviously we have to take it one game at a time. That was just the first one Wednesday night and you know the others are gonna be harder. And if and when Les Boys dispense with Tampa Bay, they’re going to be staring at the ugly face of the Big Bad Bruins, who will be ready and willing to destroy our still-smaller team player by player. (The “joke” is that there will be no Habs standing by the end of a seven-game series with the Bruins. They whacked two in just one game!)
But hey a boy can dream. I still remember that last playoff run like it was yesterday. Spring of 2010. Everyone laughing at us. ‘Caps in 3′ chuckles the Habs-haters in the Toronto media. Then the Caps were gone. Then the Stanley Cup champion Penguins. Earlier today, Ted Bird – tweeting that I’d be a guest on Montreal Hockey Talk this Sunday – called me the past president of the Halak fan club. And I am. Cos My Man Jaro is the reason we had one great playoff moment in the past two decades. I’ll never forget dancing around the living room with my son after we knocked off the Pens, laughing as Sid whined about how his was the better team.
Remember how cool that was? The Halak stop-sign t-shirts. The excitement. What I remember is how everyone was into it. After the brilliant marketing of the Gillett years, the Canadiens have become more popular here than ever. The odd wrinkle is the team is bigger than it ever was even though the on-ice product in the past 20 years has been a pathetic shadow of the great teams of years past. Amazing what those creative Mad Men can do.
As you can see, I’m feeling pretty upbeat today, hardly my normal state of mind I know. And I’ll be back yelling obscenities as soon as Carey ‘What Me Worry’ Price lets in a soft one from Steven Stamkos in game two. But right now I’ve had a jug of the Kool-Aid and I’m feeling it. Hi my name is Brendan and I’m a delusional Habs fan.
Montreal Stand Up! Les Canadiens forever.