Thursday, February 28, 2013
Well, folks, it's been five whole years and nearly 1000 posts since this blog first saw the light of day. The H Does Not Stand For Habs, aka Habsloyalist, was born in February, 2008. A lot happened that month, and a lot has changed since then. Back then, Michael Ryder was in the pressbox nearly every night, soon to be let go to join the Bruins. NHL teams were lining up to vie for the services of Peter Forsberg. Mathieu Dandenault was playing on the first line for the Habs. Brian Burke was the GM of the reining Stanley Cup champion Ducks. Ryan O'Byrne and Tom Kostopoulos stole a purse. The Habs were down 5-0 and came back to win against the Rangers. Carey Price got his first NHL shutout. Cristobal Huet got traded. And Bob Gainey missed out on the bidding war for Marian Hossa.
Then again, some things look just the same five years later. Josh Gorges, Andrei Markov and Francis Bouillon still patrol the Habs blue line, even if their roles and responsibilities have changed. Carey Price is still in goal, and Tomas Plekanec and Michael Ryder (as of Tuesday) remain in the lineup. The Canadiens were first in the Eastern Conference and the Ducks were a powerhouse in the West.
Overall, though, looking back reminds us that five years are, in the lifespan of a hockey team, a generation. The Habs' second-longest reigning captain was let walk way from the team that drafted him, stood by him through injuries and cancer, and let him struggle valiantly as the number-one centre without real wingers for 13 years. The team was sold by George Gillett and purchased, once again, by the Molson family. Bob Gainey gave way to his buddy, Pierre Gauthier, who then was turfed in favour of Marc Bergevin. Five men...Guy Carbonneau, Bob Gainey, Jacques Martin, Randy Cunneyworth and Michel Therrien...have stood behind the bench. The Habs won the East and they finished last in the East. They beat the Bruins in Game Seven in the playoffs, and they lost to the Bruins in Game Seven. Scott Gomez was a blockbuster acquisition and an ignominious buyout. Georges Laraque came to protect the skill players and got bought out for adhering too closely to his antiquated Code. Mike Komisarek was let stand with the coaches and was touted as the next captain, then bolted to Toronto for a little bit more money than the Habs offered. The Red Wings, Penguins, Blackhawks, Bruins and Kings have won the Cup, while the Habs won three playoff rounds. The power play has been first in the league, and last.
I was thinking about a way to mark five years of this Habs-dedicated space. I thought of posting a top-ten list, perhaps of my favourite posts (Kovalev speaking to God, the concussion study and some of the interviews with guys like Mats Naslund, Mike McPhee and Guy Carbonneau came to mind), but that seemed too self-serving. Then I thought of writing a blog about all the things Habs fans have obsessed about over the years, that don't matter anymore (Kovalev, Carbonneau, the PP, Martin, Gauthier, Price vs.Halak...etc., etc.) but that felt a bit too negative.
Therefore, I've decided to celebrate with you, the readers. I'd love for you to drop me a note to tell me what the most outstanding Habs-related moment has been for you in the last five years. Was it the 5-0 Rangers comeback game? The Centennial? The firing of Gauthier? The 2010 playoffs? Maybe you had a personal experience and met a Habs player, saw a special game at the Bell Centre or felt moved by someone connected with the organization. Whatever your special Habs moment might be, share it and I'll throw all the names into a hat and draw for a Habs-related prize. After all, if you weren't reading, I probably would have closed this space before now. So, thanks for reading here in the last five years, and for all the welcome feedback you've provided. It's been a lot of fun to be here.
Posted by J.T. at 11:19 AM