I think the Gazette’s Mike Boone is a great and colourful writer, and is part of a group of writers in various papers who I’ve followed and been fans of over the years. Maybe only Milt Dunnell and Jim Proudfoot , who were my heroes, captured my interest more.
But I take exception with one of his lines in his recent column in the Montreal Gazette.
This one –
“All but the most delusional among us realize the Canadiens compete in the National Hockey League’s Parity Division, a middle tier of teams, each of which can beat any of the others – and, on occasion, one of the elite teams – on any given night.”
I believe in the Montreal Canadiens much more than this. More than just a team langushing in the Parity Division that can sometimes beat an elite team. And I believe in them because I love them and look at the roster and like what I see. I’m not about to concede that I’ve been cheering lately for a team that barely stands a chance.
Of course I understand they’re not the 1958 or ’77 Habs or some of the Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers squad from the 1980’s, but I think the 2011-12 Montreal Canadiens can stand up against anyone in this season. I think the five-year plan started by Bob Gainey is just taking slightly more than five years, that’s all. But it’s still on track, still on course.
I think this edition of the Habs shows more than any of the dismal lineups we’ve seen for much of the 2000’s, and I think they deserve to be taken seriously and become excited about. They’ve added and subtracted, and all parts being equal, they’re better than last year and the year before, and the year before that.
I have eternal faith and belief. And this year, regardless of what anyone says, a strong team will be lacing them up in Montreal. Carey Price is in goal. If Andrei Markov comes back we have one of the absolute premier defencemen in the league. We have the young and brilliant P.K. Subban and reliable Josh Gorges and Hal Gill and others lining up on the blueline. Up front, snipers abound, who, if they can all be on the same page at the same time, can be as potent as any team in the league. Don’t tell me that if Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, Erik Cole, Tomas Plekanec, Scott Gomez, Max Pacioretty, and Andrei Kostitsyn are all having a good year, that this isn’t a nice-looking group that rivals any team in the league.
With this group, why are we considered only middle-of-the-pack? And not just by Mike Boone but by much of the hockey community.
I’ve been following the Habs in serious fashion for a long time, and I don’t think I’m delusional. What good is it being a fan if I can’t hope and believe?
If they can put it all together, they are more than a middle tier team which on occasion can beat an elite team, as Mike says. All they have to do is go out and do it.
And I, as a believing fan, think they will.