Finally it begins, 198 days from that dark October 1st evening when the Canadiens would lose 4-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre.
Through highs and lows they took us, from four and five-game winning streaks to three and four-game losing streaks. But they always kept pace, always stayed in the hunt from start to finish.
Up and down we went, and in the end, when the long 82-game regular season finally drew to a close, we found our team finishing fourth in the east, a fine100-point season to be proud of, with a goalie at the top of his game and a team that slowly but surely created chemistry within its ranks and a new and forceful first line in place.
Tampa’s number one goaltender Ben Bishop won’t start and we don’t know if he’ll even finish. Brandon Prust seems ready to go. The penalty killing has been spectacular. And our goaltender backstopped Team Canada to gold at Sochi and carries on now as the best in the business.
I’m not going to try and dissect the lines and matchups, or who’s dressing and who isn’t. I prefer to see how everything unfolds. Criticism can wait until it’s well-deserved.
For now, for me at least, it’s time to get excited, nervous and more than hopeful, and embrace the Montreal Canadiens as they attempt to give us and themselves what we last saw in 1993.
It’s time once again to bring out Annakin Slayd’s “Feels Like ’93″.