It’s NHL playoff time. Much like The Masters and the Kentucky Derby the playoffs are a true sports-themed harbinger of spring. The weather is getting more pleasant, the snow has just about all melted under the warm sun. Bars and restaurants open their terraces and make sure that there are adequate big-screen televisions to accommodate hockey-loving patrons. Will this be the year the Montreal Canadiens finally snap their too-long championship-less streak?
Well, no it won’t be. That is a certainty as the team failed to qualify for the postseason. No Canadiens in the playoffs and we are anticipating the arrival of a late-season ice storm. I’m not sure about Mudville, but there’s certainly a lack of joy in Montreal this year and lots to crank about.
On the other hand, all is not lost. You see, part of being a fan of the Montreal Canadiens is a deep-rooted dislike for their two old rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. It just so happens that these two clubs are facing each other in the first round of the playoffs. Like scorpions in a bottle we, Habs fans, can sit back and watch the on-ice clash. Personally, if I have to select one over the other, I have to go with the Bruins.
I like the city of Boston; I root for the New England Patriots (and have been doing so for many years, not merely jumping on the recent bandwagon) and in the absence of a Montreal MLB franchise I cheer on the Red Sox. But of course, the Bruins are a different kettle of clam chowder as they are usually in direct competition with my Canadiens. Except now the hated-Bruins are up against the hated-Leafs. So, for perhaps the first time in my life, I find myself being able to side with the Boston skaters as they take on Toronto. It’s a bit weird at first, but I’m getting used to it.
I can’t say that I really care which team wins the series, but I have found a different angle from which to partake of the annual spring playoff viewing. I’d much rather be watching the Canadiens play of course, but for the next little while, I’ll have to make do with being a Boston fan. I’m even thinking of dropping my Rs when I speak (Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd), and debating the correct pronunciation of Faneuil Hall (does it rhyme with manual or Daniel).
But before tonight’s game in Toronto, I’ll be cheering on all the participants in the Boston Marathon and hoping for a safe race.