|A lot of players have turned their backs on the Canadiens.|
When Cammallerie called the team a bunch of 'losers' or as they say in French, 'loosers,' it set the stage for another desperate move by management dealing him off to Calgary without even bothering to poll other general mangers for a possible better offer.
It was a sad confirmation that the noble Canadiens organization had gone off the rails.
When my son, as loyal and dedicated supporter as can be, gives up on the team, it tells me that the Habs have lost the respect of its most loyal fans, a group that would forgive practically anything (even an English coach,) but not losing like this and not a sad sack management team that acts like a bunch of bumbling clowns.
I have never in my life seen fans so down on the Habs as now. It's shocking.
Talk shows, newspapers and coffee cooler conversations are largely in agreement that the Habs are toast and that it's time to blow up the team and look for a lottery pick.
I choose today to relive my top Montreal Canadiens memories;
10. Earliest Memories
Going to the old Montreal Forum on Sunday afternoon to watch the Junior Canadiens play. 50¢ got you into the door and bought a standing room place behind the barrier on an aisle that separated the arena midway up the stands. I must have been 13 or 14 years old. It was a pretty good view. I watched the likes of future Habs stars like Yvan Cournoyer, Serge Savard, Jacques Laperrière, Guy Lapointe, Jacques Lemaire start their careers. The 1969 team was perhaps the greatest junior team ever assembled, with at least a dozen future NHLers.
09. My first slap shot.
They say that Bernie 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion was the inventor of the slap shot, but the first time I saw one live at a game, was in 1964 (I think) in a match between the Habs and the Chicago Black Hawks. Stepping over the blue line, the legendary Bobby Hull 'The Golden Jet' unloaded a cannon that whizzed by the seemingly stunned Lorne 'Gumper' Worsley.
By the way, how come players in those days all had great nicknames?
08. Best game watched on TV.
In a 1993 playoff game against the L.A Kings, the Canadiens were already down in the series 2-0 and about to lose again when coach Jacques Demers asks the referee to measure Marty McSorley's hockey stick for an illegal curve. On the ensuing powerplay Eric Desjardins scored to tie it up and then scored in overtime to turn the series around.
I remember this game like it was yesterday because I was forced to watch on a tiny twelve television in a motel room in Chicoutimi, all by lonesome.
By the way, is that the recently retired Kerry Fraser doing the measuring?
7. Best playoff run 1993
The recording-breaking ten overtime wins on the road to the Stanley cup was easily the best playoff run ever.
6. My Uncles first Hockey Game
My uncle had come over from the old country for a visit and hearing that I had season tickets asked to attend a hockey game. His closest experience to hockey was soccer, which he knew pretty well and so he had a pretty easy time understanding the game on the ice, even the offsides.
What he didn't understand was the hoopla at the end of the game and why the fans weren't leaving, considering that the Canadiens had lost the game.
You see, I explained him, they were about to award the Calgary Flames the Stanley Cup.....
5. Best comeback
The 2008 Rangers game where the Canadiens overcame a 5-0 lead. Watch highlights on YouTube
|Ken Dryden's legendary pose|
Most gentlemanly player - Jean Beliveau, plus he was my favorite captain.
Best fighting matchup - John Fergusan versus Toronto's Eddie Shack
Best nickname- Yvan Cournoyer -"The Roadrunner'
Most exciting player- Guy Lafleur
Favorite goalie- Gump Worsley (style wise- the Tim Thomas of his day)
Favorite tough guy- Chris 'Knuckles' Nilan- Worst enforcer- Georges Laraque.
Favorite coach- Scotty Bowman
Best play-by-play broadcast team- Danny Gallivan and Dick Irvin. Worst-Bob Cole plus anyone
Best French announcer- René Lecavalier
Best Brother team- Frank and Pete Mahovolich (I was too young to recall the 'Rocket' Richard, but I do remember his younger brother, Henri, the 'Pocket Rocket')
Favorite quirks -Serge Savard's 'Spinerama' move. J.C Tremblay's lobs from center ice that bounced three feet in front of the goalie, scaring the crap out of them and actually scoring a couple of times.
03 Biggest disappointment
The 1967 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup final. The Canadiens were a better team and favored (at least in Montreal.)
03. Best Hockey food
The everlasting Forum hotdog (even in the Bell Centre), perfectly cooked with a grilled bun, with a slap of mustard.
Cheap & simple perfection. Still love it.
Patrick Roy telling general manger Ronald Cory that he'd played his last game in Montreal after being pulled by Mario Tremblay after a humiliating performance,
01.Greatest Habs memory
This is a no-brainer. It was the seventh game semi-final against the Bruins in the old Forum in 1979 overtime. Trailing by two goals in the third period, the Canadians mounted a comeback and when the Bruins took a too-many men penalty, Don Cherry jumped up on the bench and mocked the crowd, intimating that it is they that influenced the referee. That sequence is memorialized each week on Coach's Corner.
After Lafleur sent the game into overtime, late in the game with a blistering slapshot from just inside the blue line, Yvan Lambert scored the winner in overtime, eliminating the Bruins. It was the most dramatic game I ever witnessed.
I met Lambert twenty years later and kidded him that he had kicked the puck in the net. (I swear he did, I had a pretty good view) and he got furious at the accusation. I met him again last year in the old-timers VIP lounge in the Bell Centre when I was talking with Jean Perron and he interrupted our conversation to remind me once again that he didn't kick the puck in the net. Ha, I guess he's still sensitive about it!
Well I feel better just thinking about all those Habs memories and I bet you've got some fond memories of your own as well.
Let's hear it in the comment section, What is your GREATEST Habs memory!
At any rate, having the Habs perform so poorly this year really sucks.
Its a bit depressing in the frigid dog days of January, looking on at even less hospitable February, where all we sports fans want nothing more than to hunker down in front of the TV set in anticipation of another Habs win (0r at least a competitive game) with hockey players who we can be proud to cheer for.
Alas it is not to be....
Maybe next year......
By the way, if I'm wrong on some facts or figures, so be it. I wrote all this from memory, so gimme a break......