Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Let's talk tradition

"Most storied franchise." That phrase has been bandied about so much, it's a wonder there isn't a drinking game concerning it. Lately, here is what the storyline involves:

  • "Have a nice trip, see you next fall." Montreal has developed a tradition of going on a horrible, losing road trip at the end of December, when the circus comes to town. Really? Is this the Roanoke Valley Rebels that the team has to pack up and leave while a bunch of elephants and cotton-candy-faced little children run screaming through the arena? Who's in charge here? This is the Montreal Canadiens. It's time to man up and tell the circus they'll have to reschedule. The Bell Centre should be on the Habs' schedule, not vice-versa. The circus's annual visit does not help the team, and this particular annual tradition must stop. Now.

  • "You gotta fight for your right to play in April." We can count on seeing Montreal in a fight for a playoff spot around this time of the year. That has a lot to do with the aforementioned losing streak and how the team has to spend the rest of the season pulling itself out of the hole. But whatever the cause, it's become a predictable sight: Montreal hovers around 8th place right until the last day of the regular season. My family and I always get in an argument over Thanksgiving dinner--that doesn't mean it's a tradition worth holding onto, and neither is this one.

  • D-fence! Lately, Montreal coaches have been all about against-type casting. Here we have this great team built for speed and attack, and yet the players are asked to play like the New Jersey Devils. And they're no damn good at it.

  • "Addition by subtraction." Remember the drinking game I mentioned? Here's another key phrase that should put lots of folks in the hospital for alcohol poisoning. While the Mike Ribeiro-Janne Niinimaa trade was the best example, we've seen too many trades go one way, ostensibly to dump salary. And while the jury's still out on Lars Eller, all signs point to the fact that we should have gotten a lot more for Jaro Halak. (Note: I will categorically state that trading Halak was the right move. However, trading him for a used puck bag was NOT the right move.)

  • "O Captain! Bye, Captain." Carbonneau. Muller. Damphousse. Koivu. Whatever did these poor souls do to piss off management that they were handed their hats and shown the door long before it was time?

  • Of course, there are other traditions the Habs have been following for quite a few years, such as (almost) always beating the Bruins in the playoffs, and ALWAYS losing in catastrophic, ignominious fashion to the Flyers in those same playoffs. Part of that Flyers tradition is making mediocre Philly goalies look like all-galaxy superstars.

Here's to another decade of long-standing tradition in one of the most storied franchises in all of sports.
When do 5-1 wins become part of the tradition?

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