If this is what life is for Leafs fans on a permanent basis, I want no part of it.
The NHL playoffs is the most exhilarating sports championship, bar none.
It combines the endurance of a marathon, the bloodlust of the Roman Coliseum, the innate finesse of a high wire artist, the passion of a religious cult, the strategy of a chess grandmaster, the mayhem of a roller derby and the team spirit of a combat unit.
What sets hockey apart from all other team sports playoffs series is the creation of villains. The relentless bashing, retaliation,
Saturday's game between Ottawa and New York best exemplifies why hockey can excite the emotions like no other sport, where rivalry tinged with genuine hate, allows fans to embark on an emotional hate-a-thon.
All professional sports leagues provide plenty of heroes, but no sport furnishes as many detestable villains and lets face it, a villain is more interesting emotionally than any hero.
Then there's the actual brawling and fighting. We love it. There's more action in a 90 second NHL slugfest than many a ten-rounder.
Now, no pooh-poohing, even baseball and basketball fans love a good bench clearing brawl, but unfortunately, they are all too rare in those sports.
And so there is truth to the old dictum - "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out!"
I defy anyone to tell me that the electricity in a hockey arena is rivaled anywhere in sports.
NHL playoffs provide an adrenaline rush, that can only be recreated by actually participating.
True fans from any NHL city, will testify that a lengthy hockey playoff run, even when it falls short, is the most satisfying fan experience in all of sports. There is simply no comparison.
A real hockey fan with a team in the playoff hunt, whether he or she be at work, at home or at play always has the team close to heart. Like a junkie, true fan needs their fix of playoff hockey delivered every second day and when for scheduling reasons, the wait between games stretches to three days, symptoms of withdrawal, including nervousness and anxiety are apt to appear.
Now I know hockey is a business like anything else in the entertainment world, but in a certain sense it is not.
Hockey is a passion that the average Joe or Jane can enjoy for free.
Being a fan doesn't cost money and that's what makes its appeal so universal. Yes in a sense we pay for by watching commercials on TV during the games, but that's putting too fine a point on it.
That's also why I'm not against government subsidizing pro sports teams to a certain degree, but that's another discussion...
First, let's bury the past.
There isn't any doubt that the once mighty and proud Habs are a shadow of what they once were. The Gainey/Gauthier era was the most destructive force ever unleashed on the team, a tandem that should have been forced to swear a Hippocratic oath (Do No Harm.)
I am not a fan who lives and breathes hockey or the Canadiens, but if you were to ask me about the Thomas Kaberle trade I'd have never have done it based not only on his outrageous salary but for the fact that he was a Toronto Maple Leaf reject.
I mean if you're going to sign players who were rejected by the Leafs, you've sunk pretty low and are not only demonstrating poor hockey judgement, but also that there isn't much pride left in the organization.
I was dumbfounded when it surfaced that Gauthier dealt away Mike Cammalleri, without contacting most NHL general managers and settled for what he could get from Calgary.
Was he too busy to call?
Even the most inept seller knows that if you want to move something for value, you've got to advertise.
And so it seems that Gauthier traded away a pain in the ass, in Cammalleri, for a cancer in the name of Rene Bourque.
I bet all the other general managers were disappointed that they weren't contacted, after all they each had some mistake to pass off on the hapless Gauthier.
Listening to the sports talk shows on TSN radio, I'm convinced that every idiot who calls in offering advice to the Habs, actually makes more sense then Gainey and Gauthier.
It remains a sad truth that all these fans, many of them broke and many who can't even balance their chequebook, can better mange the salary cap than the Habs management!
I don't know all the candidates for coach or general manager that are being tossed around and that in and of itself is a problem. We need a coach with experience and a general manager who knows something about hockey players.
Who's got more experience and can speak English and French purr-fect-ly?
And realistically there's no better candidate out there.
As for GM, my choice is Pierre McGuire, an anglo from Montreal who's got that distinctive LCC French, which should allow him to pass muster.
He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of player personnel and is guaranteed not to make idiotic deals.
I've heard him on TSN radio over the past years and he wasn't shy to tell listeners that the Gionta, Gomez and Cammalleri deals were all bad for the team, based on various reasons, either talent-wise, term or salary.
He told us all this upfront, before the players all bombed and the crap hit the fan.
He also seems strong-willed and confident, as well as comfortable with the Press, something the Habs desperately need.
That readers by the way is a NODOG scoop and it is entirely reliable!
The Canadiens aren't going to make a big comeback soon, they are saddled with too many bad contracts and so will have to wait them out for a couple of years.
That being said I definitely see them making the playoffs next year, if they get rid of some deadwood.
Here's a couple of suggestions:
Buy out Scott Gomez's contract.
In 2014/15 and 2015/16, the team would still be punished to the tune of $1.5 million towards the Cap, but it'd be worth it. CapGeek.com
Same thing for Kaberle who has only has two years left on his contract. His $4.5 million contract and Cap hit could be reduced to $1.5 million by buying him out. CapGeek.com
Time for Molson to roll out the chequebook and pay for the idiotic mistakes of the past.
By the way, bring back a character player like Hal Gill and restore some pride in the team
What say you all?
Congratulations to Canada's National women's hockey team on winning the World Championship.
The winning overtime goal was scored by none other than bilingual Montrealer Caroline Ouellette (pictured on the left,)
It doesn't get any sweeter than that!
Please feel free to offer the team your congratulations in the comments section....