Well, I believe the shelling has stopped. After what, 18 months and countless celebrations, it appears we’ve finally reached the end of the longest victory lap in sporting history. The Montreal Canadiens are officially 100 years old. A pessimist would say they were just milking it, while a realist would point out they are indeed 100 and often times the memory is the first bat to leave the belfry.
Either way I believe we’re once again safe, which is good. You can only take so much of the honor student waving those blasted report cards in your face.
The final ceremony was kind of touching and heartfelt. To those of you who weren’t able to witness the event, the Habs thought it would be quaint to have all these old players dress up one more time for a hearty pre-game skate (nothing more touching than seeing someone attempt a wrist shot from a gurney) instead of herding all the suits into a circle at center like something the Maple Leafs or Shriners would do.
No, on this night the retired players dressed as they once had and took part in a ritual they had done hundreds of times before. True, there were 180 of them and no opponent, but, like birthday presents and challenging game shows, the thought was there.
For the vast majority of those watching in attendance it was a trip down memory lane and, some say, a display of the ultimate dream team (although Yvan Cournoyer at 327 pounds probably wouldn’t make mine).
It’s certainly a sobering reality check to see a player you watched growing up decades ago, when he was tearing around the rink, doing his best on this night to simply keep from breaking the other hip. These are indeed the players we remember from a few years (and chins) ago, just a little slower and lot shinier.
Thing is, no matter what the Montreal Canadiens decide to do and how they intend to carry out their ceremonies, they always seem to do it right. They could roll out a celebration of the best all-time Habs whose first name begins with the letter ‘K’ and still outdo 29 other teams in the league. (OK, 28. Columbus’ ‘Dress Like Manny Malhotra Night’ was admittedly first rate.) They now dominate the galas the way they used to dominate the standings.
And therein lays the truth. If you constantly distract the patrons with all sorts of shiny objects, hopefully they fail to notice Stanley 16 years back in the mirror and getting smaller every day. Roll out a couple dozen legends every so often for the fans to ogle over and maybe they don’t vent so vehemently about your current streak of mediocrity.
I mean who has the nerve to yell at an old man?
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre cartoon, brings you Loose Change every second Tuesday. Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie's cartoon delivered to you in each issue.
Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Check out his website at charlieteljeur.com.
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