Habs-Bruins. On the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens' founding. Their first game actually occurred January 5, 1910. The Canadiens will be on the road against Washington for the anniversary of their first game, so tonight is when the team celebrates its history. (Incidentally, the Habs won that first-ever game against Cobalt in overtime, 7-6. Their season record, however, was 2-10.)
Montreal will undoubtedly be treating its fans to a lengthy pre-game encomium. We'll undoubtedly see Richard, Lafleur, Dryden, Roy, and a long list of other greats who have played for Montreal. Highlights galore: 1993 Game 2, 1979 semi-finals...
Any discussion of the Montreal Canadiens must inevitably also include the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are very much a part of Montreal's history.
So many of the Canadiens' triumphs have come at the expense of the Bruins. They are too numerable to count here, but we all know them. At this very moment, the reader is seeing those replays in his/her head. But then again, the Canadiens have also suffered at the hands of the Bruins, especially during the days of the Adams Division matchups. Last year's playoffs were also a bitter about-face from the previous domination the Canadiens had asserted over Boston.
So we come to tonight's game, in which the Montreal Canadiens play the Bruins for the umpteenth time.
The Habs these days, for lack of a better word, suck. They are riding a four-game losing streak, and for the last two games have put forth two of the worst efforts many Habs fans have seen in a LONG time.
The Bruins, on the other hand, sit fifth in the Conference, with a 14-8-5 record.
The result seems pretty clear. Perhaps Montreal will win, but it's not likely, given the way things are going for both teams. But even if Montreal wins, the fans have some serious questions to ask:
Why isn't Saku Koivu going to be part of the celebration? If any current NHL player deserves to be here this night, it is he. He is tied with Jean Beliveau as the longest-serving captain of the Canadiens. Someone on another blog asked who would be at center-ice in 20 or 30 years when the Canadiens celebrate their past and honor their past players. The answer would have been Saku Koivu. Instead we celebrate our fine history with a team without a captain.
Why does this team look like a glorified minor-league team?
Are our best years behind us? The Habs last won the Stanley Cup in 1993. They are currently in the longest Cup drought in team history. It would be one thing if the team were celebrating its 100th anniversary with a good, if not great, team. But tonight, Montreal celebrates the history of one of sports greatest franchises with a current roster that is mediocre at best.
They are, frankly, an embarrassment.
We as fans feel a little bit awkward celebrating such a glorious past with such a poor team in the present. It's not so much acknowledging what a great franchise Montreal is, but rather what a great team the Canadiens used to be.
And that is a huge difference. It's like remembering the anniversary of a long-divorced spouse, instead of sharing a candle-lit dinner and toasting to continued matrimonial bliss.
So good luck to the Habs. I'll be watching, and remembering.
Oh, you wanted a real preview? OK, here goes:
Plekanec, White (woot!), Pyatt, Cammalleri = good
Price = goalie.
everyone else = suck
Markov = injured
Mara, Sturm, Savard, everyone = good
Thomas/Rask = goalie
no one? = suck
Lucic (thank God, now maybe we have a chance of winning) = injured