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Boston vs Montreal: Playoff Rivalry Take 34

BosMtl

Old and new in Boston

Any day now, after what seems like a decade-long break, the Montreal Canadiens will begin the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. The long period of downtime was the result of a four-game sweep of their first round opponents, the Tampa Bay Lightning. All teams like a bit of a rest during the hectic day-on-day-off playoff schedule, but it will be almost two weeks between games for the Habs. I hope they don’t lose their edge.

Their next opponent will be the Boston Bruins, a team they have met in the post season a league-leading 33 times, winning 24 of those series. To say a rivalry exists between the two clubs is an understatement. Rivalries used to be a big deal in the NHL when there were just six teams, but the league expanded over the years and teams now see less of each other, so it takes longer to foster a good inter-city rivalry.

Montreal has two languages, however if you spend enough time with native Bostonians you’ll start to wonder if they don’t also have a language of their own!

Looking back over the years Montreal’s main rivals have been the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and, for an all too short period of time, the Quebec Nordiques. The last one, was the shortest, ending with the Nord’s move to Colorado. Based in Quebec City the club arrived with a built-in rivalry given the Province’s linguistic and political make-up. Just check the infamous Good Friday 1984 game to get a taste of the hate that existed between these two teams.

Montreal fans are limited to one real rivalry now. The Maple Leafs are still in Toronto, but haven’t figured in any real sense for a number of years. A visit by the Leafs to Montreal just isn’t what it used to be. Maybe a playoff series would rekindle things, but that will have to wait as the Leafs didn’t qualify for the post season this year. So we are left with Montreal vs Boston.

Aside from both being original six teams, I believe the rivalry has much to do with the cities being similar. One often hears that some siblings don’t get along well because they are too much alike, I think some of that may hold true for Montreal and Boston.

Whatever the outcome, I look forward to my next sunny afternoon in the Boston Common, either gloating in my Habs jersey or basking in my Red Sox shirt. C’mon, you didn’t really think I could wear a Bruins shirt did you?

Montreal has the edge in population, but not by too much. Both cities comprise an element of college town; Montreal has four universities, two English and two French while Boston is chock-a-block with students. Both cities have large Catholic populations, are steeped in history and are working class. Montreal has two languages, however if you spend enough time with native Bostonians you’ll start to wonder if they don’t also have a language of their own! Perhaps most importantly both cities are comfortable in their skins; neither is trying to be something it isn’t, as is the case with the Habs’ other rival. If you have to keep telling people you’re a world-class city, you probably aren’t!

Old and new in Montreal

Old and new in Montreal

I like Boston very much, the rich history, the pace of things and an ability to have fun are all familiar to me as a Montrealer. Our cities do a great job of maintaining the old while at the same time developing modern urban centers. To gain entry to many of Montreal’s skyscrapers you pass through a century-old portico that has been retained and worked into the new edifice. In Boston you can have a pub lunch smack in the middle of downtown, but also immediately across the street from a centuries-old cemetery that is the final resting ground of many historical figures including John Hancock and brewery owner/politician Samuel Adams. (As the saying goes, it’s the only place where you can have a cold Sam Adams while looking at a cold Sam Adams!)

So let the series begin, and may the Canadiens best team win. Whatever the outcome, I look forward to my next sunny afternoon in the Boston Common, either gloating in my Habs jersey or basking in my Red Sox shirt. C’mon, you didn’t really think I could wear a Bruins shirt did you?

 

 

Me DCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Canada, Hockey, Humor, Montreal Canadiens, Sports

NHL 2013; a year of halves and Hab-nots

Stanley_cup_Half

NHL Stanley Half-Cup

In an effort to have future hockey fans not refer to the 2013 season as the year or the Asterisk, the NHL Board of Governors has done some math and come up with the following solution to this truncated season as it relates to other years. This season all teams played 48 games; a usual regular season is made up of 82 games.

 If the Governors had used Canadian-penny logic they would have rounded that up to 60% (Canada no longer uses the one-cent coin and rounds prices up or down as required)

This year’s 48 represents 58% of a full season. If the Governors had used Canadian-penny logic they would have rounded that up to 60% (Canada no longer uses the one-cent coin and rounds prices up or down as required). But no, to make life simple they have rounded down, and consider this season to be half of a regular season. The 2013 NHL Half Season was born.

Let’s face it, the NHL isn’t really all that big on accuracy: sometimes it’s a kick, sometimes a redirection, sometimes it’s icing, sometimes it’s not, sometimes the face-off is to the left sometimes … well, you get the idea.

“No matter how we do it, Montreal cup winners get cut, they’re everywhere, we just can’t work around them. Keeping all the Toronto and Boston teams on the Half-Cup was easy.”

So, in fairness to those teams who have been champions in the past, and did so by playing a full season, this year teams are vying for the Stanley Half-Cup. Silversmiths have been working diligently to create a suitable trophy. The design of the Half-Cup called for the names of as many teams as possible to be retained. However the silversmiths could not possibly keep all of the Montreal Canadiens teams on the half-Cup. Said one frustrated artisan “No matter how we do it, Montreal cup winners get cut, they’re everywhere, we just can’t work around them. Keeping all the Toronto and Boston teams on the Half-Cup was easy.”

Banner Half

So next year some lucky team will raise a shiny new Half-Banner at its first home game. And the players will be presented with their half-rings.

Let’s face it, the NHL isn’t really all that big on accuracy: sometimes it’s a kick, sometimes a redirection, sometimes it’s icing, sometimes it’s not, sometimes the face-off is to the left sometimes … well, you get the idea.

Looks like the 2013 NHL season is one of Halves and Hab nots!!

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