Only 62 days until the Montreal Canadiens, chomping at the bit, suit up in Buffalo for their opening game of the 2008-2009 season. They’ll look splendid, these men in their red, white, and blue uniforms, the same kind as worn before by Howie and Maurice and Jean and Guy. They’ll be fast. Their passes will be perfect. Their shots will find the back of the Sabres’ net. It’ll be their first win in a long line of wins in the season.
The second win will come the next night when they take the short hop into Toronto, where a third of the crowd will cheer for them, and where again, they’ll be fast, their passes will be perfect, and their shots will find the back of the net.
62 days to go. We’ll go through the Beijing Oympics. The mosquito bites will heal. The evenings will become shorter. Kids will have new lunchpails and school clothes. A few more weeks and cottages will be boarded up for another year. Baseball will wind down. Football will be in full swing. There’ll be a chill in the early morning.
The boys are golfing now. They’re barbequing. They’re sitting in their back yards and having the neighbours over. Ryan O’Byrne is behaving like a saint.
Every day they work out. They practice on ice and on floors. They lift heavy things, and they run. They do all the things players of yesteryear rarely did.
They’ll be ready when they go to Buffalo.
This is the year they can win the Stanley Cup. They know it, I know, and most Habs fans know it.
And Buffalo fans will know it when the game is over, 62 days from now.