Game Night!

stanley_cupI have a number of Facebook contacts who spend a lot of time posting their political beliefs, both on their own page and, by way of comments (and some diatribes), on mine. While I do not agree with a lot of these beliefs, my position has always been that as a guest in the United States of America, it is not my place to discuss or share my politics. I consider myself a moderate in most respects, but that voice of reason does not usually do much to convince an extremist of anything. In any event, I have found that discussing politics is a good way to get people angry with you… something I try to avoid.

So I do not discuss politics. I will never say to someone ‘You are out of your mind.’ I am often tempted to… extremists on both sides invite it every day. I do, however, discuss hockey.

Mitch habsIt is no secret what hockey team I support. If you weren’t sure, take a look at my Facebook profile picture during these Stanley Cup Playoffs… I am standing in front of my Montreal Canadiens flag, wearing my Montreal Canadiens jersey, with my Montreal Canadiens ball marker clipped to my Montreal Canadiens hat. Still in the dark? I didn’t think so. #GoHabsGo !! For those who are wondering, while it is not really a playoffs beard (I am wearing my beard for the year to honour the passing of my father), I have not trimmed it during the playoffs, and so yes I suppose you could consider it such.

I am, and always have been, a fan of the Montreal Canadiens. It is not only something I do not hide, it is something I wear with pride.

One of the political zealots I mentioned in the opening paragraph splits her time between Nevada and Florida. If you are reading this, I love you! I am not obscuring that it is you that I am talking about. I am also not calling out who you are, so for those of you reading who do not know who I am speaking of, it is meant that way. She mentioned at the beginning of the last series that because she resides part time in Nevada that she would be supporting the Las Vegas Golden Knights against my Montreal Canadiens. I respect that… there are people who cheer for the other guys. That’s part of what makes sports fun. When Montreal defeated Las Vegas, I was out of my mind… but it did not occur to me to reach out to her and gloat. Yes, I gloated… or at least I was extremely open about my exuberance. It was never personal. Sure, if it had been Toronto of Boston I might have gotten personal with some of my friends… but Vegas? No.

Over the weekend this friend commented on one of my posts that I should not celebrate yet, because her Tampa Bay Lightning were going to kick Montreal’s butt. This is not a direct quote, but the gist is there.

It felt good, after all of those politically extreme posts and comments that I have ignored (on a plethora of topics) to finally have the opening to tell her how full of crap she was.

Let me be clear: I do not disagree with her on everything. Some things I agree with her on, just not the extremism. I do not agree with a lot of her conspiracy-theory stuff, but to say that she and I disagree on everything would be inaccurate. I am just against almost any form of extremism, and I see her as an extremist.

From a fan’s point of view, I have no doubt that Montreal is going to kick Tampa’s ass. From a rational and unbiased standpoint, Tampa clearly had the better team this year; then again, so did Toronto, Winnipeg, and Las Vegas… and all three of those teams are now golfing. Playoffs hockey is often about momentum, heart, and a red-hot goalie who has been nearly perfect through the last three series.

Living in Los Angeles and wearing Montreal Canadiens’ gear, I have had more than one conversation of late about Marty McSorley’s stick in Game 2 of the 1993 finals… and how that changed the series. Montreal went on to win that series in five games, after losing Game 1. I always remind those people that Montreal won four games in a row, so it was not likely that the illegal stick (see article) was the only reason that Habs won the Stanley Cup that year.

With that said, the penalty led to a goal, which led to overtime, which led to Montreal’s first win of the series… rather than going home up 2-0, the Kings returned to Los Angeles with the series tied 1-1… they dropped two games at home, and then the final game on Wednesday, June 9 at the Montreal Forum. Had they taken both games on the road, they might have played differently.

Montreal took away the momentum. add to that a red-hot Patrick Roy in nets, and a whole lot of heart from a lot of players, and the results are clear.

The Canadiens have the goalie, and they have the momentum. They have the heart. Will they win tonight? I don’t know. I certainly hope they do… but even if they do not, the series is a best-of-seven, which means that either team can lose a couple of games and still walk away with a series victory.

Last week while watching one of the games at my cigar lounge, someone asked if I prefer an exciting nail-biter game where either team can win right up until the end, or do I prefer my team be blowing the opposition away from the very beginning. I told him I prefer the latter; there are too many things that can go wrong because of luck or circumstance or bad officiating that can turn a winning game into a loss. Don’t believe me? Ask Marc-André Fleury… or Marty McSorley.

#GoHabsGo !!!


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