Finally, after only nine months, the Canadiens take to the ice again, and which has been the case in the previous three seasons, they take on those wild and crazy Toronto Maple Leafs to kick things off. Last year it was an opening night loss to the boys in blue, but that was last season, a season that needs to be flushed down the toilet and sent out to sea, never to be smelled again.
I expect no less than a convincing win for our gang. And don’t forget, the Leafs’ slide begins every year around now, so Toronto needs to get on this right away. It’s just the way the world works.
It seems Alex Galchenyuk will suit up for the Canadiens on opening night, which should add to the all-round excitement, and possibly Brendan Gallagher too. Here’s hoping they leave a trail of melted ice, but it’s dangerous to go overboard with enthusiasm at this stage of the game. Although it would be fun to see flashes of future greatness for sure.
Don’t forget, Guy Lafleur scored just five times in his first two months in the league and played, as he admitted, like his skates were in cement. He was quiet, withdrawn, and uncomfortable for months, didn’t exactly endear himself to many of his teammates (J.C. Tremblay for one, who wouldn’t pass the puck to him and called him impolite for his off-ice tardiness), and Lafleur became an unhappy and lonely fellow in the big city of Montreal.
Lafleur’s unspectacular debut was a surprise to Habs fans, and boos were sometimes heard at the Forum in his early days. Many had figured, or at least hoped, that he’d just carry on as if it was all just an extension of his monstrous junior career with the Quebec Remparts, where he scored 130 goals in his final year and 103 the year before. But junior hockey isn’t the NHL, and it would take Lafleur more than three seasons with the Habs before the goals really started to go in.
Curiously, Lafleur began to loosen up once he’d removed his helmet and let his hair blow in the wind.
It’s great to see that Galchenyuk (and maybe Gallagher) will dress, but who knows, they may only be up with the big team for a few games before being sent down for more grooming. All in all, though, it’s going to be neat to see them.
Go Habs. Show us some good stuff. We’ve missed that. And I hope P.K. will be watching and wishing.