Canada, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, History, Hockey, Humor, Montreal, News, Sports, United States, Wordpress

The Stanley Cup Ventures South of the Border

While it feels like it’s been much longer, it has been 20 years since a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup. The Montreal Canadiens 1993 cup win was the last by a team from north of the 49th parallel – and it looks like it may be up to them to break the streak, as Canadian teams are as rare as hen’s teeth in the 2013-14 playoff hunt.

In fact it was on this day, March 27, in 1917 that the first ever US-based Stanley Cup was awarded when the Seattle Metropolitans defeated the Montreal Canadiens.

Seattle Metropolitans

The distance between Montreal and Seattle is 3,670 kilometers (2,281 miles). I assume that in 1917 charter flights were not the norm for professional sports teams, which means a long train ride. As the championship was held in the Seattle ice Arena I can only imagine the Montreal team must have been exhausted after the long trek across the continent, no doubt accounting for their drubbing – three games to one while being outscored 19-3!

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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Back when I was young, Canada, History, Hockey, Humor, Montreal, Montreal Canadiens, Sports, Wordpress

Daily Prompt:If I were a great lover of Puccini, would that make me a Fandom of the Opera?

Today’s Daily Prompt is Fandom. If I were a great lover of Puccini would that make me a Fandom of the Opera? But I digress …

Back when I was young, the Montreal Canadiens hockey team was expected to win. It was a foregone conclusion in many Montrealer’s minds that the Canadiens would win. The story goes that, so confident was he, long-time Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau, in his annual planning briefing, would state “…and the Stanley Cup parade will take its usual route”. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the  Canadiens’ last Stanley Cup; a phrase I, at one time, never thought I’d hear, let alone write. (Currently the team is playing much better than hoped for, and an exciting, albeit truncated, season is providing Montreal fans with a taste of what used to be.)

MIKE BLAKE , REUTERS

Mike Blake , Reuters

Spectators didn’t go to the Montreal Forum to see the team play, root for them and hope for a successful outcome to the game. Nope, they went to see them win, much like an opera buff attending a performance at La Scala doesn’t hope for a stunning performance: he or she expects it. And God forbid anything less than stellar should be presented. Perhaps the stereotypical Montreal season ticket holder was a man who, sitting in the expense red seats, wore a jacket and tie to every game. He brought a newspaper to read during stoppages in play and during the intermissions. He took wins in stride but was angry, not disappointed, on those occasions when the team lost.

In 1967 the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. Had you told a celebrating Toronto fan on that day that before the Leaf’s would win another Cup, the Toronto MLB franchise would win two World Series,  you would have been taken for an idiot.

The franchise was often compared to the New York Yankees and the word “dynasty” was never far away. Until 2001 the team had never gone more than seven years without a championship.

In 1967 the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. Had you told a celebrating Toronto fan on that day that before the Leaf’s would win another Cup, the as yet non-existent Toronto Major League Baseball franchise (the Blue Jays) would win not one, but two World Series (’92 & ’93) you would have been taken for an idiot. However …

1966 Stanley Cup parade in Montreal

As I’ve explained elsewhere, the picture at right shows, by pure chance, the six-year old me attending the 1966 Stanley Cup Parade (or at least it shows my left ear). During my formative years, let’s say through my teens, the Montreal Canadiens won 11 Stanley Cups. That’s eleven championships before I had turned twenty. The year I was born, 1959, the Canadiens won the cup for the fourth time in a string of five – from 1956 to 1960.

During my younger years watching the Habs, they had some outstanding teams, but perhaps none so much as the 1976-77 version of the team that won 60 games out of an 80 game schedule. Even more impressive was the team’s home record of 33 wins, one loss and six tied games. Other than the Boston Bruins’ 4-3 victory over the Canadiens on October 30, 1976 the team did not lose another home game that season!

This is what I grew up with; this is what influenced my approach to the NHL and the Canadiens in particular. So now, with the Canadiens just another team – certainly no longer a dynasty, I can only wonder what went wrong? Maybe I should spend less time looking at the banners that hang above the ice in the BELL Centre and more time watching what’s on the ice.

But it’s just not the same.

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Hockey, Humor, Montreal, Sports

Letter to Toronto Maple Leafs fans from Montreal

Dear Maple Leafs fans,

It’s been a few days now since your heartbreaking loss at the hands of the dastardly Boston Bruins. While, given the circumstances of the Leafs late collapse in game seven, no words can make the hurt go away, one question may ease things a little. Did you really want to win the Stanley Cup this year?

Did you really want to win the Stanley Cup this year?

Under normal circumstances the answer to that is a no brainer: of course we want to win the cup, we’re hockey fans, it’s what we do.

But the 2013 NHL season will forever be marked by asterisks. It was almost cancelled, then when an agreement was finally struck a 48 game schedule, just a little more than half a real season, was begun. C’mon, 48 games … can the winning team really claim bragging rights?

C’mon, 48 games … can the winning team really claim bragging rights?

When the Montreal Canadiens succumbed to injuries and a general lack of size and were ousted in the first round by the Ottawa Senators, not even making it to game seven, I found myself wondering if this Year of the Asterisk loss was such a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong, had the Habs won the cup, I wouldn’t have suggest declining the title. Would I want the their elusive twenty-fifth Stanley Cup to be awarded in this delayed, truncated season? Ideally no.

So look on the bright side, our teams can take time to allow injuries to heal while those still contending for a pseudo-Stanley Cup Championship are beating the daylights out of each other. I say we’re better off out of this one. I recall around the time the lockout was settled it was suggested by some that the Stanley Cup should not be awarded, that some other trophy might be used instead. At the time it didn’t hit home, but as the mini-season wore on, and even though the Canadiens were doing well at that point, I started to think that it wasn’t fair to all the former winners of Lord Stanley’s cup to present it under these circumstances.

There’s only one thing you raise a banner for, and that’s a legitimate Stanley Cup championship.

It’s a little like teams that make a great noise about hoisting a division or conference banner. There’s only one thing you raise a banner for, and that’s a legitimate Stanley Cup championship.

Enjoy your summer, and we’ll see you next year for a real hockey season!

 

 

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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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Back when I was young, Canada, History, Humor, Montreal, Montreal Canadiens, Sports

Back when I was young: The Montreal Canadiens were expected to win

They say that one of the signs you’re getting old is that you find yourself, more and more often, using phrases such as: When I was a boy/girl, Back when I was young, In my day, When I was a kid. Well, you get the idea. Rather than fight this tendency I’ve decided to embrace it by posting, on occasion, blog entries the title of which will begin with “Back when I was Young”.

I welcome others to post similar pieces and let me know so I can link to them here.


Back when I was young, the Montreal Canadiens hockey team was expected to win. It was a foregone conclusion in many Montrealer’s minds that the Canadiens would win. The story goes that, so confident was he, long-time Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau, in his annual planning briefing, would state “…and the Stanley Cup parade will take its usual route”. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the  Canadiens’ last Stanley Cup; a phrase I, at one time, never thought I’d hear, let alone write. (Currently the team is playing much better than hoped for, and an exciting, albeit truncated, season is providing Montreal fans with a taste of what used to be.)

MIKE BLAKE , REUTERS

Mike Blake , Reuters

Spectators didn’t go to the Montreal Forum to see the team play, root for them and hope for a successful outcome to the game. Nope, they went to see them win, much like an opera buff attending a performance at La Scala doesn’t hope for a stunning performance: he or she expects it. And God forbid anything less than stellar should be presented. Perhaps the stereotypical Montreal season ticket holder was a man who, sitting in the expensive red seats, wore a jacket and tie to every game. He brought a newspaper to read during stoppages in play and during the intermissions. He took wins in stride but was angry, not disappointed, on those occasions when the team lost.

In 1967 the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. Had you told a celebrating Toronto fan on that day that before the Leaf’s would win another Cup, the Toronto MLB franchise would win two World Series,  you would have been taken for an idiot.

The franchise was often compared to the New York Yankees and the word “dynasty” was never far away. Until 2001 the team had never gone more than seven years without a championship.

In 1967 the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. Had you told a celebrating Toronto fan on that day that before the Leaf’s would win another Cup, the as yet non-existent Toronto Major League Baseball franchise (the Blue Jays) would win not one, but two World Series (’92 & ’93) you would have been taken for an idiot. However …

1966 Stanley Cup parade in Montreal

As I’ve explained elsewhere, the picture at right shows, by pure chance, the six-year old me attending the 1966 Stanley Cup Parade (or at least it shows my left ear). During my formative years, let’s say through my teens, the Montreal Canadiens won 11 Stanley Cups. That’s eleven championships before I had turned twenty. The year I was born, 1959, the Canadiens won the cup for the fourth time in a string of five – from 1956 to 1960.

During my younger years watching the Habs, they had some outstanding teams, but perhaps none so much as the 1976-77 version of the team that won 60 games out of an 80 game schedule. Even more impressive was the team’s home record of 33 wins, one loss and six tied games. Other than the Boston Bruins’ 4-3 victory over the Canadiens on October 30, 1976 the team did not lose another home game that season!

This is what I grew up with; this is what influenced my approach to the NHL and the Canadiens in particular. So now, with the Canadiens just another team – certainly no longer a dynasty, I can only wonder what went wrong? Maybe I should spend less time looking at the banners that hang above the ice in the BELL Centre and more time watching what’s on the ice.

But it’s just not the same.

MeDCMontreal 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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Montreal, Montreal Canadiens, Sports

NHL dispute and loss of hockey; fans don’t seem to care…yet!

English: Stanley Cup Imprimt for the Lockout S...A Postmedia News article in today’s The Gazette  quotes an NRG Research Group and Peak Communicators survey that found that half of those surveyed don’t really care about the possible lengthy loss of hockey due to the current dispute between NHL players and owners.

The results, out Tuesday, showed 52 per cent of those surveyed said it is not important to them whether the NHL and the NHL Players Association reach an agreement so the hockey season can resume.

The survey polled 1,001 individuals drawn from each of Canada’s seven hockey cities.

It will be interesting to see if there is no hockey come spring 2013 if the same results hold true. Unlike the NFL and MLB that have short post seasons, the NHL playoffs (like the NBA) feature 16 teams and four rounds to determine the Stanley Cup winner. It really is like a new season and  runs until June. Many people only start to  get interested in the NHL as the long stretch from Christmas to summer sets in.

If we don’t have what has become a “rite of spring” i.e. NHL playoffs next May perhaps more people will express a sense of loss. But for now I guess the CBC will roll out a Gordon Pinsent film festival for Saturday nights and TSN can have great moments in curling until such time as the two sets of millionaires come to an agreement.

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