Tonight, Montréal will be on fire (hopefully not literally).
The last time the Canadiens, our hockey team, made it to the Stanley Cup final was back in 1993. Twenty eight years is a long time, especially when you are the team who won the the most cups (24, followed by Toronto’s Maple Leaves who – only – won 13 so far).
On paper, it seemed impossible that the Canadiens could even dream about coming this far… They were the last to qualify for the Playoffs. Everybody thought they’d get eliminated in the first round.
Toronto gave the Canadiens a hard time. I remember Chéri telling me ”We might not win the round, but we’ll be a pain in their (Toronto) *sses until the very end!” They made it to match #7 (for those of you not familiar with NHL’s Playoffs, for every round, one of the two teams needs to win 4 out of 7 possible games to move to the next round), and got their ticket to Winnipeg.
First match of the second round, one of the Jets’ players made a vicious move on one of the Canadiens’. The first couple of seconds, it seemed like Evans was dead on the ice (no worries, he is fine now), and somehow it gave his teams wings. Montréal won the round with only four games played.
Third round was against Las Vegas. They had a clear advantage, statistically speaking, and having large crowds of fans in their arena while we were allowed to have only 2500 spectators here, in Montréal. But as I liked to joke about, in Canada we’re not very fond of long (ridiculous, if you ask me) presentation shows (with cheerleaders, led lit drummers and lots of fake smoke). We play hockey, that’s it that’s all. And on June 24th, the Canadiens gave us the best gift ever, on the night of our national holiday: a place in the Stanley Cup final!
Ten years ago, I couldn’t have cared less for hockey or the Canadiens. But Chéri being a huge fan, he slowly but surely infected me with his enthusiasm. He told me countless times how special it would be if they made it to the final…
And here they are. In Tampa Bay. The Lightnings won last year’s cup, and they are fierce (plus, they have a boosted team because of questionable management of the team’s payroll)… The Canadiens are still the underdogs, but all the better. That way, the Lightning might underestimate our players, and get bit in the *ss.
Go Habs go!
P.S. Suzanne, I am wearing my lucky socks 😛