So here's the deal.
For at least 4 weeks, I've been counting down the days till hockey would once again return to Montreal, and our beloved Habs would take the ice. No longer would I be on edge and easily agitated. The blood would once again course through my veins. Between RDS, RIS, CBC, and TSN, my addiction would once again be fed on a regular basis, and all would be right with the world. And I have no doubt in my mind, that you the reader, are completely empathetic to how I felt. Like me, you bleed Bleu, Blanc, Rouge.
Now, don't think for a minute that I went Hab-less over the summer break. After all - it was a shorter break than usual; thanks to our boys taking us well into late spring with a hair raising, and inspiring Cup run. They shut up all the naysayers and hockey experts who professed only 4 games of playoff hockey for the 8th place Eastern Conference Habs. First it was "Bye Bye Ovie", yet still the experts couldn't keep quiet about how Washington was one thing, but certainly Crosby and the Penguins would be something of a different animal. Then it was "Farewell Syd the Kid!" and the hockey world was once again in shock.
I will never forget the celebrations on my balcony, shouting out in unison with my fellow Hab lovers, while the cars passed by honking on St-Joseph below. It was true bliss!
Fast forward to yesterday.
Habs shirt on, hat to accompany it. Flag hanging and towel at my side. Pre-season or not, the fix was about to begin, and the excitement about seeing the boys again flashed through my body. And then, less than 2 minutes after the puck dropped, the worst possible thing happened! They got one past Price!
By the end of the first, we looked shaky, but not terrible. Sadly, two more pucks slid through the crease and over the goal line, and the hurt was on. The fans started mocking Price, and even booing him. Funny how no one booed Spacek for the cough up at the blue line that lead to the goal.
I'll admit, even I wasn't thrilled with the performance, and I know I tweeted my frustration on many occasions, but the reality of it all seemed to slip under the radar. By the reactions by both fans and media, you would have thought this was game one of the Stanley Cup Final. All night people blew it out of proportion, and that easily flowed through to today as well.
But what about all the good things that happened in that first pre-season game? What about the seemingly increased speed of Hall Gill. How about Lapierre opening our years scoring from a pretty feed from Plekanec? Not to mention the fantastic heads up play from Cammy to Pleks for the second goal of the night.
Did everyone miss the young talent that took to the ice in the form of Tinordi, Palujash, and Leblanc? Did we also forget that half the squad wasn't even on the ice? Did most people also remember that this time last year - no one cared about pre-season hockey? I guess we should send nasty messages to Cammy for scoring so many goals in the playoffs last year and taking us so deep into the playoffs. If we hadn't had such a great run, we'd all have sat back and waited for October 7th - when it actually matters.
So let them get the cobwebs out. Let them get the rust off the skates. Let the new guys and the veterans learn to play together. Let pucks slip over the goal line. Because now's the time for that to happen. Mistakes will be made, and mistakes will be corrected.
Let's just make sure that mistakes are forgotten.
Tomorrow's another game, and we get to see what kind of fun Gionta, Gomes, and Eller can put together. And yes, Price isn't scheduled to start, but he never was. The management isn't making a statement - just maintaining the original roster so that everyone gets tuned up.
Forget about yesterday, and remember what it means to truly be a Habs fan. We don't just love the game, we own it!
A la prochaine!