On Wednesday, I was saying I wasn’t feeling it, wasn’t getting any sense for this notion of a Canadiens-Senators rivalry. And let’s face it, there is no rivalry.
But I’m feeling the playoff buzz this morning. Less than 12 hours from now, the puck is going to drop at the Bell Centre and for the first time in two years, Nos Glorieux will be in the hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
For sure, everyone is saying the Canadiens have no hope of going the distance. Philippe Cantin Thursday morning in La Presse, in an otherwise right-on column about Les Boys’ “brigade jeunesse” – go Brendan Gallagher go! – Cantin ends by saying “Brendan Gallagher et la brigade jeunesse du Canadien rapporteront la Coupe Stanley à Montrèal. Mais pas ce printemps. C’est encore trop tôt. Patience….”
That’s the common wisdom. That this is not the Habs’ year.
And maybe it isn’t. But let’s face it. Cantin doesn’t know for sure. Jack Todd doesn’t know for sure. And neither do you. There are 16 teams in the playoffs and any one of them could end up hoisting the Cup. Look the Blackhawks had to go to overtime to beat the Wild.
Who predicted last year that the New Jersey Devils would be in the Stanley Cup final? No one. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we’re favourites. I’m just saying don’t count Les Boys out before they’ve even played a single shift.
Marc Antoine Godin in La Presse mentions that today – Thursday, May 2 – is the first anniversary of the hiring of Marc Bergevin as general manager of the Canadiens, the greatest moment in the recent history of the Habs. And I know that Bergevin was not thinking he was fielding a Cup-winning team this year.
He just wanted to make the playoffs and you know he wasn’t thinking those cellar-dwellers from last season were going to land in second place in the east. But they did – and they still get no zero respect. It goes without saying that the Toronto sports media mafia are already thinking “Sens in three” but we’re used to that.
A small sidebar here about that Toronto sports media mind-set. I was watching – and enjoying, I must say – that Leafs-Bruins laugher Wednesday night. I know, we hate both teams but it was kind of fun to see just how sucky the Leafs looked. Man! As my Twitter pal Rich Thorpe put it, the Leafs play so small against the Bruins. It’s downright bizarre.
It was a massacre. The Bs outshot the Leafs 40-20 and with that stat, you don’t usually blame the losing goalie. But Reims looked like Carey Price on his worst night. On his knees, praying for this thing to be over soonest! I was loving it. Hey you get your kicks where you can.
But here’s my point – the Leafs looked terrible and the Hockey Night in Canada boys couldn’t stop talking about how tired the Bruins looked and how this was going to be a long series. Earth to the CBC Broadcast Centre – that was a blow-out and if Toronto continues to play like this, this is going to be Bruins in three.
To digress even further, that Coach’s Corner was just so sad. Don Cherry went and repeated his thing about how female reporters should not be allowed in male dressing rooms and the two couldn’t have looked more uncomfortable.
This act is beyond tired. The endless fighting over timing, the endless ‘shut ups’ from Grapes, the sexism, the anti-Habs crap. It has to end. Just saying.
But more notably, Hockey Night in Canada has to find a way to stop their guys from sounding like they work for the Leafs front office. End of rant.
Back to the important stuff – the Habs-Sens series. My point, and it’s not the musings of a rocket scientist I admit, is that the Habs have as much chance as anyone else to make the final. Why not? Can they beat Ottawa? Course they can. Can they beat the Bs in the second round? Done deal. Did you see how the Habs stepped up their game against Boston this year?
So it could happen. But Price has to have his first real playoff run. Todd – still Montreal’s best sports columnist in my humble view – has a great column on What Me Worry Price Thursday morning where he ends by noting: “For Carey Price, the time is now. If he can do it, there’s a place in the pantheon with his name on it.”
Couldn’t agree more. Otherwise we’re riding the Slovakian back-up all the way…..in a repeat of the 2010 miracle on ice.
Think back to ’10. No one believed in the Habs that year either. They were laughing at us in Toronto. Caps in three. Sid will crush them. Even when Montreal beat Cup champs Pittsburgh in seven, Crosby was still whining about how they were the better team. Apparently not Sid! We won.
So all I’m saying this morning – with my 35-year-old vinly copy of The Clash’s Give ‘Em Rope blasting at ear-splitting volume – is anything’s possible.
And don’t ever tell me I never said nuffin positive about the Habs.
Go Effin Habs Go!