Canadiens Magic Carpet Ride Touches Ground

They may have lost the series to the Philadelphia Flyers, but they won in so many other ways. They won fans of non-fans and those with a strong dislike for the Habs, and, I suppose, many who previously said they cheer for anybody but the Montreal Canadiens. 

And of course, they had us, their fans, and we walked with our heads held high as they blew us away on so many beautiful nights, and the odd day.

Those who never believed began to believe, as this team, who were scoffed at in the beginning, made their way well into the third round. They garnered respect and admiration from near and afar, and although it’s disappointing that it’s the end of road, I’m as proud as proud can be.

It’s only the beginning and now we know. Now we know the Montreal Canadiens are an excellent team, one to be excited about, one that can go even deeper with some tweaking and a key addition here and there.

We were never allowed to see the real team for most of the regular season. Someone was always hurt. One after another they dropped like flies, and the team stalled and sputtered, backwards and forwards, and only just crept into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth.

We didn’t know they would give us so much magic in this year’s playoffs, but they delivered in spades. The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins bit the dust in what bordered on Harry Houdini slight-of-hand or a present day Miracle on Ice.

Oh, those Habs. They made us hold our breath, stomp and cheer, and depending on the day or hour, we were either happy, sad, excited, or ready to throw a brick through the TV. We were on top of the world or on pins and needles for much of the past five weeks. They were king of the hill, and we went with them in delirious fashion every step of the way.

On the back of Jaroslav Halak they rode, with Mike Cammalleri leading the charge up front, and visions of past glory danced in our heads as this little team that could slayed the giants and made us cheer like mad. It was 1993 again, and 1986, and the late seventies, and it was even before that. It was all those years when the Habs were mighty, and we got a little taste of it again.

We’d hungered for a playoff contender for so long, and this underdog bunch, the ones who didn’t stand a chance, gave it to us.

They gave us so much to cheer about, and now we have next year to be so excited and optimistic.

The Habs are a good, proud, character team who ended in the final three, with 27 other teams sitting on the sidelines watching and wishing they were doing what they were doing. We didn’t have Andrei Markov for most of the post-season, and it proved a terrible loss. But there are no excuses. Philadelphia played a strong series, and they showed Montreal that there’s still a few holes to fill before the Canadiens can hoist a trophy or two. 

Maybe we need to get bigger. Maybe some players who performed admirably during the regular season but were nowhere to be found in the playoffs might need to be looked at closely. But we have young PK Subban, a delight if there ever was one, and with a full season under his belt, he’ll be one of the key guys in the big charge a year from now.

The Montreal Canadiens of 2009-10 have made us proud, and I can’t wait for them to get going again.

Random Notes:

Montreal scored the huge first goal (Brian Gionta), but disaster struck when a collision between Mike Richards, Jaroslav Halak, and Roman Hamrlik resulted in a key shorthanded goal for Richards and the Flyers that tied the game, and that was a tough one.

Scott Gomez tallied in the third to narrow the margin, and when Chris Pronger took a four-minute high-sticking penalty, Canadiens had a huge chance to tie it, grab the all-elusive momentum, and solve Michael Leighton again. But they couldn’t get it done.

Final score:

Philadelphia 4, Habs 2.

Thank you Habs.

And one more Random Note:

When you’re in front of your computer throughout the summer, please take five minutes and stop by and visit this little blog. I haven’t missed a day since November of 2007 and I don’t plan on it now. There’s still lots to talk about. About lots of good shit.

36 thoughts on “Canadiens Magic Carpet Ride Touches Ground”

  1. It’s been an amazing season, and I’m so happy that it lasted this long. You gave it an awesome goodbye, Dennis, like only a real fan could. Can’t wait to read your take on the offseason!

    (Oh, and I never thanked you for the link! That pretty much made my year… until the Habs made it to the Conference Finals.)

  2. Rookie – I’ve really enjoyed seeing you visiting here and I hope you keep coming back. Us Habs fans can stick together even in the hot weather. And you keep your fine Hab-it-her-way blog going too. It’s really, really good.

  3. Howie was right, Lawrence. Montreal just didn’t have quite enough muscle. The Flyers proved that.

  4. Thanks a lot Dennis for a good year filled with your good stories and some good habs games (some better then others). I learnt last year how much time and effort it takes to run a blog so thank you for being so dedicated to this site and giving habs fans a place to share our opinions.

    Cheers,
    Gillis

  5. The good news, I can start enjoying summer now.
    The bad news, I’ll be haunted by what could have been.

  6. We’ve seen how fickle these playoffs can be. I was telling my son that success depends on so many things. Is Philly better than Pits or Washington? No, it was Philly’s make-up and style of play that Mtl couldn’t figure out. If we had played Philly earlier on would the outcome have been different. What if it had been Boston instead? It really is a crap shoot. My point is don’t think that this automatically makes us a contender next year. Advancing as far as they did with only 4 guys of your top 6 going is pretty remarkable and that makes me hopeful that with some smart signings over the summer we just might find ourselves dancing into late May. Can you imagine what Cammalleri and Gionta could have done with another talented winger on their lines? Anyway it was sure nice to be excited about the Habs again and thanks Dennis for the opportunity to vent and I will check back regularly over the summer. Now it’s GO Hawks!

  7. And, DJ, I wonder why some of the guys weren’t going. How come they were so quiet? Thanks for saying you’ll check in in the summer. And keep those mosquitos off you up there. If it would have been Boston, it would’ve been much better. The bottom line is, two many key guys stopped scoring. You know who they are. I’d like to know why they disappeared like that. Pouliot was incredible in how ineffective he was. What’s with that? And Kostitsyn and Plekanec and Metropolit. Imagine if they had contributed even just a little?

  8. A couple of different bounces maybe, Chris, it all might have been different. Shut out three times wasn’t very good.

  9. Gillis, thanks a lot. You and your comments have great personality and always fun to read. Keep practising lacrosse. And come back.

  10. Thanks Dennis and everyone else for an awesome year. What a ride. Completely forgot how that felt. Next year looks promising. I hope we make some positive changes and hope some guys won’t be back. I hope MAB doesn’t sign and we trade AK47 and his bro. Tough to blame Halal on the first goal but he made a big mistake. I love Hal Gill and what he brings. Slow but his leadership is evident. He made some leaders this post season. I hope Pkekky signs but he needs some work to do. Pouliot is a disappointment but maybe he learned something. Same time next year. And Dennis I’ll pop in everyday to see what you’re up to.

  11. Sometimes guys just cant find the right beat in times of need. The post-season is completely different hockey. For starters, if you make it, you are one of the top 16 ranked teams in a league of 30, and then you play each series via knockout, playing the best, the best and the best until the Cup Final. And best isnt always the #1 seed either, its the team who wants it the most with everyone on the same page feeding off each others energy making that team superior than any individual talent. Guys like AK46 and Pleks may have been good against weaker teams in the regular season, but in the playoffs you need to raise your game a whole new level while under extreme pressure and circumstances, and you either do or you dont, its that simple.

    Like in the movie Miracle, Herb Brooks says ‘Im not after the best guys, im after the right ones’, and went on defeating the Soviets and winning gold.

    Keyword is team, and it takes everyone to make a team great.

    Hats off to the Habs, we did all we could and can hold our heads high with pride.

  12. Thanks for all of the really, really fine work Dennis.
    We lost something bigger than a hockey game last night and everyone who comes here knows what I am talking about. There’s kind of an empty feeling in our hearts now where once a fire of hope was burning.
    We hoped unrealistically, and in spite of the experts, that this crazy bunch of beautiful bastards would go all the way. And for a while it looked like our dream just might come true.
    We prayed for one more miracle. One more lap in our tricked out CHevette racing in this the Indy 500 of hockey.
    But it was not to be and it feels as if we’ve been mugged by a bunch of thugs.
    The day after this defeat one side of me says “It’s just a game.” but another side of me is in deep mourning.
    I hope all the DK bloggers and all the Habs fans have a great summer and here’s hoping for even greater things next season.

    Je suis Canadiens.

  13. Thanks Danno. It’s 5 A.M and I’m up and at ’em for work, eating waffles, and trying to regroup. It’s the first day of “No Habs” and I hate this day. Now it’s time to continue saving my allowance so I can buy the team and hire you and bunch of others and fix everything. I can’t help but wonder who would’ve taken the Cup from Bettman and raised it first. Without a captain, who’s the first? But regardless, Danno, you have an excellent summer and be careful you don’t get hit by any flying beer bottles at local blues and jazz festivals. And please check in if you have a free moment. You never know when I might have more recipes.

  14. Harrow, are you ever right about the playoffs being a different story. Suddenly in the playoffs the Flyers became bigger, stronger, with a system, and they were bums all season. But one thing’s for sure – Montreal needs some tweaking in some areas and it’ll be interesting to see what they do. I know I have my thoughts, but I’m just a bum with a laptop and a cat who wants to climb on my shoulder when I’m talking about line match-ups. And Harrow (Dave), thanks for finding this site and coming aboard. You’re a great addition and I sincerely hope you come back.

  15. No reason to be sad. We should all walk proud, because we’re Habs fans. And our team has done the improbable.

    Thank you for such a magical season.

  16. Jesse, thanks for that. I thought about posting it but I’ll just leave it to HIO instead. But what a heartwarming little ditty. And speaking of beer….when I get home tonight….maybe?

  17. Mayo, I’d forgotton too, and I liked what it felt like. In the next little while I might play GM a little. I have my thoughts on several who maybe should think about putting thier places up for sale. And thanks again, Mayo. Next year we need to find that nice table at TC’s to see more playoff action. Hope your summer rocks.

  18. You’re right, Phil It was magical, and no reason to be sad. But it is a slight adjustment. And thanks, Phil. You’ve contributed much on this site. You’ll be hired when I own the team.

  19. it was a pleasure sharing habness with everyone on this blog. this is the first time in over 12 years i have paid the least bit of attention to the nhl. too much stupidness, gary bettman, pheniox coyotes, too many men penalties etc. there is always something…………. altho the habs acompished some great things these playoffs they need more than tweeking to compete next year. for the most part the team showed a lot of heart and halak STOLE the first 2 series. halaks value is high right now. he didn’t play any better in the philly series than price would have. if you can’t score what does it matter. perhaps he should be moved to get a top power forward or something. don’t get me wrong, i love halak…..some seriuos purging needs to be done first. get the belarus boys and a few other bums out of dodge at any cost…………… tampa, islanders, carolina and even the leafs will be much better next year……………. congrats to the flyers, they are a very good ice hockey team.

  20. Hobo (Paul), am I ever glad you came aboard and offered your great comments. For those who don’t know, Hobo and I go way back to when we were kids, and we even took a train to Montreal to see a game in the early 1970’s. We got in to Montreal in the early afternoon and decided to check our tickets. We had no idea it was an afternoon game, we thought it was an evening game, and got to the Forum in the nick of time. We had thought all along that we’d have some good bar-hopping to get in before the game, but we didn’t. I don’t recall at all, but I’m sure we made up for it later. And thank goodness the train was on time.

  21. Dennis, Dennis, Dennis…what an awesome post season. This is a wonderful post you have written. Thank you for your insight, knowledge you share and sheer honesty (with a spattering of bs…) that you exude on a regular basis. You have to know that we here at this “house”, think that you rock and are fortunate to have an opportunity to have this quality time with you,(… the other Habs fans and the occasional Vanc fan as well.) Credit where credit is due…

    Now down to big business… this horrible orange colour has got to get banned from the league…all in favour? I guess tho’ if you are the most disliked team in the league…, it is only befitting that you would be issued the most horrible colour.

    Am I the only one who noticed how evil Pronger looks or can you confirm that this is already a well known fact. I think that I actually saw the devil’s face on his as he sat on the bench, early in the 2nd. Anyone ???

    Well this is up to the young guns from B.C. and other parts of Canada that make up this team they call Chicago now. I just really want to see Byfuglien get Pronger. Sizewise it seems more fair than what your Gionta was dealt…

  22. I don’t know. I don’t have the same optimism as everyone else. This postseason was great, don’t get me wrong. But remember, we struggled in the last week of the season to even make the playoffs (three losses against non-playoff teams), and struggled quite a bit at times this year.

    I don’t think the strategy of being outshot every game by a 40-20 margin is going to win us many series in the future. I think there needs to be some changes, even if it’s just to clear up cap space.

    While our shot blocking and goaltending were great in the playoffs, we had a lot of holes: Checking, screening the other goalie, secondary scoring, clearing the zone, etc. These need to be fixed, but it’s going to be difficult. We now have a low draft pick (#27) because we went so deep in the playoffs. We don’t have a lot of cap space.

    The worst thing we could do was to act like the Edmonton Oilers back in 2006 when they made it to the finals. They acted like that team was good enough, and gave many of those players over-inflated contracts. I don’t want the same thing to happen, where we keep most of the players, don’t improve the team, and then watch as we struggle the next few years.

    The best part of the run is that it may attract other superstars to Montreal. The Habs management needs to act on that while the can.

  23. Tom, for me, the real problem was the slumping of way too many players at the same time. I think they’re a good team, but too many guys didn’t answer the bell. Imagine if Plekanec, Kostitsyn, Gomez, Metro, and even some grinders really chipped in? They’re a good team with way too many underachievers. And I don’t have any idea how to get these guys going aside from dealing them for more consistant players. If these guys would have actually woken up, they’d have the puck more and send the opposition on the defensive instead of offensive and we wouldn’t be outshot like we were. It all boils down to a bunch who didn’t show up when it counted. Also, don’t forget about the injuries during the year. A slightly bit healthier would have meant not struggling just to make the playoffs. I also read your run-down on who should stay and who should go and it’s excellent. You did a bang-up job.

  24. Thank you, Jan. Although I’m shocked about the bs part. I really feel the Vancouver Canucks will be in the NHL next season. Or maybe the AHL. Or I’m sure they’d make an excellent senior team. And about that orange. I am so with you. It’s so ugly it makes Scott Hartnell even uglier. Seriously. And Jan, don’t forget, I’m here every day so you have to check in when you can. Thanks. And wait till I tell Pronger what you said about him.

  25. Thanks Dennis. I’d be happy if we got Kovalchuk, but there’s lots of good experienced talent out there to help this team.

  26. Tom, I absolutely feel Kovalchuk is as good or better than any other Russian in the league. Although Datsyuk has such amazing hands. Kovalchuk skates and shoots as well as Ovechkin, and might have more moves. I’d love to see him in a Habs uniform.

  27. Oh I’ll be checkin’ in alright…who else puts up with your slashing and forechecks on the team closest to my heart? Maybe you are still heated about my comment earlier this season?

  28. Congrats on a great run in the playoffs. It would have been nice to see them make it to the finals but considering alot of people didnt even expect them to make the playoffs, I think they can hold there heads high knowing they earned alot of respect from alot of people.

  29. Well DK it’s taken me awhile to put finger to keys, yes it was a great ride. Too bad we coud’nt ride the YouTube video I sent just a little longer. I have to agree with You, Tom & Hobo’s diagnosis, changes are needed 1st unload the 2 K’s & to me Pyat & Moen did’nt provide the in front of the net aspect to throw the opposition goalie off his game often enough. Well thats all for now & to all your faithful readers all the very Best this summer!!
    Cheers from the East & Les Canadiens Sont La !!!!

  30. Dennis, the season ended too soon. However, there is lots of talent and pride in the team. Can’t wait until October!

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