Well hockey fans, the NHL playoffs are upon us and if you've watched any of the action recently, you know that playoff hockey is of an entirely different calibre than anything we see during the regular season. This time of year, it's all heart, passion, blood, sweat and tears in the hunt for the prized Stanley Cup. Every goal is precious, every power play makes your breathing shallow, every spectacular save can alter sports history. It is non-stop, one thousand percent adrenaline.
Photo: Jimmy Lin on Flickr
Anybody who has known me since I was a kid knows that although I love our Canucks (and I support the home team 'til the cows come home), at heart, I am a Habs fan. It's true, I bleed bleu, blanc and rouge.
It all started back in grade four when my class did a unit on the history of hockey. As I learned all about the 'Original Six' and the wonder that was Maurice Richard...a love for the game, and a team was born. At that time, the starting goaltender for the Montréal Canadiens was Patrick Roy. This was the man who really made me jump to my feet. I was completely taken by him and instantly became a super fan. Posters of my beloved Patrick covered my bedroom walls, hockey cards filled books on my shelves, and believe it or not, I had a full wardrobe of Montréal Canadiens apparel. Embarrassing as it may be, at that time, I could regularly be seen dressed head to toe in Habs gear. And I actually mean head to toe- I even owned a hair scrunchie and a sweet pair of shoes with logos on them. I had earrings and necklaces to go with my hoodies, t-shirts, shorts, pants and socks. Then there were those famous Habs boxer shorts that I wore underneath my basketball uniform, with just the fringe showing, to add some personal flair. That big "C" with the "H" in the middle appeared on everything that I did- test papers, assignments, after my signature. It was even on my birthday cake. I was obsessed. The boys in my class were evenly split in terms of the teams that they supported. Half of them were die hard Flames fans, and the rest were hardcore Bruins boys. The Flames guys never gave me too much trouble...but every year when the Habs came up against Boston in the playoffs (...and choked, as in those days they did quite often)...I would come into class after game four to find brooms adorning my desk, (courtesy of the boys) because my Habs had been swept.
Photo: Taken from here
Granted, the old red-white-and-blue have had their share of ups and downs this season, but in the pantheon of hockey lore, the club’s legendary status is unflappable. Why cheer for the Habs this year, you ask? First, they still hold the record for most Stanley Cups won (24 as of 1993) and most consecutive championship victories (five). Also, no other NHL team can hold a candle to the Canadiens when it comes to hockey drama. Québec fans expect a lot from their team, so famous dust-ups; notably Patrick Roy’s famous walk-off in 1995—often make the front page news. Then there's that 'Original Six' factor. Along with Boston, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago and New York, Montréal was one of the first cities in North America to adopt professional hockey, so know that when you watch them play, you’re watching hockey history in action. This is also a team that doesn't f around with their uniforms. They've had the same logo from day one (unlike other, uh, more local teams, who change their whole colour scheme and logo on a regular basis). Finally, it doesn't hurt at all that Carey Price is a total babe. (Ok, maybe I have a thing for goaltenders?)
Yes, it's true that the Habs haven't had much reason to stay off the golf course this time of year in recent seasons; however, this year, for the first time in ages, the Montréal Canadiens' immense playoff expectations have whipped the city into a frenzy as fans dream of a Stanley Cup run that will raise another banner to the Bell Centre rafters.
I've been cheering my little heart out tonight. The Habs just pulled off a 1-0 win over Boston to put them up 3-1 in the series...going back to Montréal for game 5. My neighbours can probably hear me cheering: "GO HABS GO!" Hopefully they'll be able to hear me through the walls for at least a couple more series. The drive to 25 is on!