Habs Stomp On Bruins To Kick Off The Next 100 Years

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007It began with heart-warming moments. Onto the ice in full uniform came Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, Pete Mahovlich, Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey, Steve Shutt, and a host of others. It was like seeing a 1976 pre-game warmup.

And the best was yet to come. Others were introduced, and for me personally, seeing Ralph Backstrom, Bobby Rousseau and Terry Harper come out were special moments. I wanted to play like Backstrom and couldn’t, so instead I got a brush-cut like him. I wanted to shoot like Bobby Rousseau but few could, and anyway, I had a nice brush-cut like Backstrom. And I recently had a friendly and interesting chat on the phone with Terry Harper, who also had a brush-cut when he played.

But it was great seeing all the players. A whole cross-section of those from different decades, like the 1940’s Bob Fillion, Elmer Lach and Emile Bouchard, right up to modern times with guys such as Vincent Damphousse, Pierre Turgeon and Mike Keane. Coaches were there – Scotty Bowman, Claude Ruel, Jean Perron, Jacques Demers. And crusty old trainer Eddie Palchak came out in his trainers jacket and threw a couple of pails of pucks on the ice, like he did so many times in the past.

Next in line was seeing Lach and Bouchard finally have their numbers 16 and 3 sent up to the rafters. And as a capper, Ryan O’Byrne gave up his number three forever when he took it off and presented it to Bouchard, and O”Byrne is now number 20.

And then, to top everything off, the Habs trounced Boston 5-1, with Mike Cammelleri scoring three times. The team was solid, although a few less penalties would’ve been nice. And Carey Price was terrific, turning back 37 shots fired at him and looking like Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy, who surely were pulling in a big way for the youngster from their private box.

Such a turnaround after the zombie-like performances against Toronto and Buffalo. But I suppose when you’re playing in front of all those legendary figures up above watching, you need to bring your ‘A’ game. And they did and it was the best birthday present the team could give themselves. And us.

Ken Dryden said it perfectly, as he always does. When he speaks, it’s like he’s writing a book, his words flow with grace and smarts. Dryden said the 2009-10 team can never be the team of the 1950’s or 1970’s or any other year. For the players, it’s now their team, their century, and it’s up to them to create their own history.

The team of today must have heard Dryden, and they came out with a huge win on a huge night. The birthday party is ending, and a new team is born.

Random Notes;

Along with Cammalleri’s three goals, Glen Metropolit and Jaroslav Spacek also lit the lamp.

Gordie Howe came out carrying a Maurice Richard jersey. This is very poignant because they were never friends and Howe said many times he wasn’t crazy about the Rocket, even long after both had retired.

Philadelphia’s in town Monday. This is a team in slight disarray and it would be an excellent time to take advantage of their fragility.

Nice to see wooden sticks the old players carried, and Dryden’s mask.

I’m thinking about getting a brush-cut.

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33 thoughts on “Habs Stomp On Bruins To Kick Off The Next 100 Years”

  1. I received a navy blue shirt for my birthday recently with habs in white across the front and CANADIENS HOCKEY in red underneath. I wore it today for the first time in honour of the date despite the potential ribbing from my students over the loss to the laffs. I decided to keep it on tonight for the game, something I have never done before. Now I’m not taking any credit here for a superb performance by the boys but I think this shirt is going to find it’s way to being front and centre for the next big game or when we could really use a win. You know something else? None of the kids made any cracks and damn I look good in this shirt!

  2. When it comes to honouring the past, no one does it better. Howe carrying Richard’s jersey was very touching, but my favourite was Viggo sporting a long mane honouring my idol Lafleur. If only Viggo’s hair were slightly lighter coloured.

    The game was terrific, the Habs were flying and were simply amazing when short-handed. I wish the game was closer to have kept the excitement going. The Bruins deserved a better result but Price also deserved a shut-out.

  3. Chris, I was really hoping for a shutout. Just seems to never happen. I sure don’t mind the lopsided score. They’re so few and far between. And yes, Viggio was cool.

  4. Dishonest John, Pick your spots carefully with your shirt. It could be the answer. It could be – Price playing well, Markov coming back, and Dishonest John’s shirt. And if those kids make any cracks, tell me. I’ll be there with the strap.

  5. 1) I never thought I would see Patrick Roy in full Habs gear ever again.
    2) Gordie Howe holding Rocket’s sweater was great.
    3) Has anyone ever said an unkind word about Beliveau? I’ve never heard an ill word ever said about that man.
    4) Ryan O’Byrne pulled a Ray Bourque with the jersey switch
    5) That Montreal Symphony Orchestra was really something, both anthems were magnificent.

  6. Kathleen, me too about Roy. That was cool. There’s never been an unkind word that I know of about Beliveau. The guy’s a saint. And the Montreal Symphoiny Orchestra was really neat. I enjoyed that very much. I enjoyed the whole evening immensely. And I really enjoyed the outcome.

  7. I’m sure you enjoyed tonight’s game a lot more than you enjoyed last night’s against my Sabres! 😉

  8. Oh gawd, Kathleen. The Buffalo game was downright terrible. Not to take anything away from the Sabres, but the Habs just stunk to high heaven. It’s amazing how they can play like that and then the next night destroy Boston.

  9. a magical game.
    Cammalleri seems to play well on big nights
    He scored a hat trick before, when a little money was on the line when he was betting with some teammates.
    And now, he scores another one on the Centennial game.
    It will be one of the greatest highlights in his career, by far.

    Carey was his usual self, Stellar.

    Spacek did his role, being the Powerplay quarterback.

    Metropolit has been quite the Cinderella story. He keeps impressing me.

    All the players introduced gave me chills. You can feel the emotion. I am truly envious of my friend who went.

    On a completely unrelated note, doesn’t John Tavares look like a young Elmer Lach?

    Viggo Mortensen is awesome, While filming all three Lord Of The Rings, it was said that he wore a Canadiens T- shirt under his armor at all times.
    Aragorn likes Hockey!

    But the icing on the cake was when Ryan O’Byrne handed his jersey to the Emile Bouchard. Very classy move.

    Canadiens pour toujours.

  10. Great ceremony last night, but it just worries me that they needed to do all this to inspire the guys to start playing real hockey. I’m all for doing the ceremony before every game if that’s what it takes for a win, but I don’t think the team has the time or the money to do that, so the best solution would be for somebody to man up, grab the C and have everyone start playing as a team, and start playing like champions. Forget the past 100 years, it’s time for them to start writing their own history.

    random fact: O’byrne is the sixth player in five years to wear the number 20. I suggest that if they ever plan on playing in montreal for a long time, don’t pick number 20

  11. I was so glad I taped the event. Watching it over again this morning I was still moved by the many, many, heart-melting moments – what a treat to see and hear Dick Irvin again who was in fine form (forum?) and still has that sweet nasal-toned hockey voice. I noticed Pierre Boivin and many others were moved to tears during the ceremonies.
    This storied franchise, with its glorious and legendary past will surely overcome all odds to rise above and become champions once again.
    They should have brought out the torch last night. Because that is what it is all about. If there are any players on the team who don’t understand this after last night – then they shouldn’t be on this team.
    “To you from failing hands we throw The torch. Be yours to hold it high.” – The most inspirational slogan on a dressing room wall ever. Feel it. Believe it.
    Let’s see if last night marks the beginning of that new passion.
    It was icing on the cake to watch the game being played again with so much passion. A joy to behold Boston being shellacked like a shit-house toilet seat.
    The centennial is over. Back with the big CH and the winning ways.
    Go Habs Go!

  12. Can you imagine, Danno, if this birthday party was the one thing that changed the team and put them on a roll? Who would’ve thought? But like you say, let’s see if it marks the beginning. And I can’t think of a better team to trounce, except maybe Toronto.

  13. P’Byrne will change the fortunes of the number, Gillis. I’m just full of optimism right now. Or full of something….

  14. Leafs. They didn’t beat us, we let them win. Bring ’em on.

    But maybe we should keep saying the Habs stink. Because the strange thing is, whenever we get to the brink of giving up on them they pull out all stops and put on a brilliant performance. Hockey gods work in mysterious ways.
    The only downside of last night, it was too bad Carey didn’t get the shutout. But we baked those B’s anyways.

  15. On RDS the commentator noticed that Mike Camalleri took the time to shake the hand and speak to all the players and special guests. He noted this must have had an affect on him and resulted in his outstanding performance. Maybe all this class and greatness is contagious? If so, I am hoping for an epidemic of it throughout this team.

  16. Fellow Hudsonite Jacques Demers seemed to have been the most touched by this whole ceremony. He was just so happy to see all the boys from the 93 team together again

  17. And when O’Byrne tore off the number 3 to reveal the number 20, the camera went to Pete Mahovlich. I don’t think he was to pleased, haha.

  18. Pete shouldn’t be, Gillis. He was a good player, and played in the ’72 series, but his sweater was never going up there. Most coaches thought he was nuts. O’Byrne to Bouchard was perfect.

  19. Yeah, I don’t expect pete to get his number retired, but it was pretty funny that the camera went to him right after he peeled it off.

  20. Its nice to see Elmer Lack finally get his number retired. That should have been done along time ago, I personally think he is one of the most underrated habs players of all time. If the Rocket didnt have him on his line he may not have scored as many goals as he did. Emile Bouchard was was also very deserving of having this honor.

  21. Hi Dennis! Glad to see your team had a fine 100th Birthday. They really know how to throw an event. Too bad for my team, but it enhances the rivalry.

  22. Sorry Dennis, they need me more in Boston. Americans not liking hockey and this being Red Sox nation. So Patrice Bergeron would surely notice if I wasn’t cheering for the B’s. I can’t disappoint my men. Thanks for trying to get me on the dark side.

  23. Diane, they’d never notice. And do you understand just how gorgeous you’d look in Habs blue, white and red?

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