Many Habs fans are convinced they play a role in the NHL team’s chance of success and winning the Stanley Cup.
So, it’s Saturday night and my daughter is visiting me from Toronto and she is a huge Habs fan ever since I first took her to a Bell Centre game when she was 14. She knew nothing about hockey, nor cared, and accompanied me just to make me feel better. Little did she or I know that she would become a Le Grand Club fundamentalist; it was also her first trip to the Bell Centre, so this is how it went 16 years ago:
We sit in our seats and she says to me, “Dad, can we stay until the end of the first period and then go home?” I said, “Sure.”
As every gushing convert to the historic gravity of the flying CH’s eternally stoked by local sportswriters (whether the team delivers the goods or sucks) will tell you: The marketeers who design the home opener’s pregame fireworks must have been separated at birth from the savants who do the Olympic opening ceremonies. (The motto of our rouge, blanc et noir is “It’s not whether you win or lose but how you out-glitz the Cirque de Soleil.”)
You know the deal: The lights dim, the music thunders and the light show assaults the senses.
Seconds later, my daughter turns to me and asks, “Dad, can we stay until the end of the second period?” I said, “Sure.” (Like I didn’t predict this.)
After a Super Bowl intro, the players come on and the ice bleeds tri-couleur. My daughter asks, “Dad, can we stay for the whole game?”
Full marks to the promo-cops. It’s a shame they don’t skim a few of those millions of marketing dollars and buy more players who can see over a Volvo without needing a step-ladder.
Remember the Smurf Line circa 1990, Saku Koivu , Valeri Bure and Oleg Petrov? Followed by the Munchkin Line (2009) of Mike Cammalleri, Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta. Or the Two and a Half Men Line consisting of any line with Desharnais on it. The Stanley Cup should have an added engraving: “Size Matters.”
So, 16 years later, I am still dealing with the monster/daughter I created. She is the most demure lady I know who only swears like a Trailer Park Boy when someone scores against St. Carey.
Anyway, the Buffalo Sabres were in town and I learned real quick where her loyalty nests when I sit with her in front of The Game:
I go to the bathroom and the Habs score. I come back and sit down next to her, and soon the Sabres score. I go into the kitchen to get some water and the Canadians score. I come back and Buffalo scores. Well, she erupted:
“Dad! You are jinxing us! (Us? I had no idea the team and the fans were interchangeable.) You have to go away!”
Okay. I laughed. I descended into my man cave and started this article. I got this far in the commentary and the Habs scored. I stayed away for the rest of the game. Final score: Montreal 7 Buffalo 4 .
1 — I am the reason the Habs lose games when I am watching.
2 — I am thinking of watching all the Maple Leafs games so they get kicked out in the first round of the play-offs.
3 — I tried this approach with the Alouettes last year and it didn’t work. They still need an air freshener when they field a team.