Yesterday Once More

Canadiens-Golden Knights Game 6 score, live updates: Artturi Lehkonen's OT goal sends Montreal to Stanley Cup Final - The Athletic

There’s a line from the movie Miracle in which the legendary Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks lets his young troops know what’s really at stake inside the sixty minute crucible of the biggest hockey game of their lives against the Russians. He tells them the name on the front of the jersey is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back.

The Tampa Bay Lightning may not be confused with the Soviets powerhouse of a hockey team, but the Bolts are pretty damn good in their own right. And it’s going to take everything this young Canadiens team has to raise that Cup. And unlike that American hockey club at Lake Placid, these Habs have to do it four times in a couple weeks. So where you might be helped by a lucky bounce or a bad game by a superior line in a single game elimination, those chances dwindle when you’re talking about a seven game series.

These Canadiens are good with that. They came into this Stanley Cup playoff season with 500-1 odds to make the finals. Of the four Canadian squads with a dance card, they were given little to no chance of being the first team north of the border to get this far since Vancouver did it in 2011. And when they fell behind to the favored Toronto Maple Leafs three games to one in the first round, you wouldn’t have blamed their fans for toasting to last rites. And then the Canadiens pulled an Ali and got up off the canvas and punched their way through the Leafs, the Jets and the Golden Knights. And now you’ve got a group of kids with a whole bunch of tomorrows in their back pocket, intent on making today the beginning of a brand new chapter in their proud history. It’s been twenty-eight years since the Canadiens were last in the finals, and yet their twenty-four titles are still far and away the most of any team in the sport. Where some might find such a task daunting, this group seems to feed off of it.

These Habs bring a solid mix of veterans and kids to the party. From Brendan Gallagher to Cole Caufield, Tyler Toffoli to Nick Suzuki. And then you have Carey Price in goal, who happens to be in the middle of a playoff run for the ages. He’s been around long enough to know what to expect, and it’s a fine hockey blessing that he gets to sit at the high stakes table now. You want to see guys like Carey Price doing their thing on the sport’s biggest stage, getting his chance at immortality. And now Carey Price has the one thing, the only thing, a competitor really wants. He has his chance. And so does a Canadiens squad that doesn’t know what it doesn’t know, playing for history.

The Canadiens have made June a magical place to be, awakening the echoes of a once mighty empire as they topple the modern day giants of the sport. And now there’s one heavyweight champion left in front of them, looking to defend their belt, after having dispatched the Islanders in a seven-game nail biter.

Tomorrow in Tampa is where past meets present, and all that’s at stake is every single thing these guys play for. It’s when the names on the back of the jerseys get known and it’s where the name on the front of the jersey counts most of all. For this Habs squad, it’s a halcyon dose of recognition for what they have achieved thus far. And they’re well aware tomorrow isn’t promised.

It’s earned.

103 thoughts on “Yesterday Once More

  1. so right that tomorrow is not promised – but hope they can go al the way
    and very cool reading this:
    “been twenty-eight years since the Canadiens were last in the finals, and yet their twenty-four titles”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Marco,

    Wonderfully written piece. You managed to pack all the hope and emotion into it. Of course Im pulling for the Habs. πŸ˜‰ Someone has made me aware of the importance of a win for the Canadiens. Perhaps she can even turn me into a hockey fan.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 2 people

  3. B,

    You know you’ve got me right in the feels with this one!

    No, Tampa Bay Lightening is not to be confused with the Soviets; however, the Canadiens need to take them very seriously.

    I agree. The Canadiens are good with the challenge that starts tomorrow night. No one believed they would make it to the finals. Oh, we can hope and dream but deep down, so few believed it – didn’t believe they’d make it to the quarter finals, never mind the semi and to make it to the finals? No way!

    These kids and veterans with the amazing Carey Price (who was being maligned until this series started) are beautiful to watch. Yes, this Stanley Cup is far from a given but lemme tell you, they are gonna give it their all to bring home that cup that hasn’t hung out in our town in way too long.

    What a great post!

    Q

    Liked by 1 person

    • Q

      The feels is where it’s at, I heard tell.

      Yeah, the Bolts are no joke. They’re a hell of a team, and I wouldn’t have a problem with them excepting for their zip code.

      I ain’t gonna lie, after they lost the opener in Vegas, I wondered if the magic carpet ride had come to an end. And all the Habs did was win four out of five after that. Which is all the more impressive when you consider Vegas would go close to a month at a time without losing four games.

      Carey knows all too well the pressure that comes with being the goaltender for the Canadiens. The expectations are that you win it all, no matter your surrounding cast. It’s like being the center fielder for the Yankees or the quarterback for the Cowboys. The expectations hound the best of them. Good thing he’s a cool cat.

      Gracias! Mucho!

      B

      Liked by 1 person

    • Remember when the Blues finally broke through and won a Cup? They were one of the original expansion franchises, who had actually gotten to the finals early on, never winning it. And then a drought ensued. It’s what I think about with the Habs, It feels special, more special this way. Hell, my Blackhawks had gone almost fifty years before winning in ’10, so the Canadiens will be ahead of schedule. πŸ˜‰

      Like

  4. You already know my feelings about the ‘other team’ so when you hear a roar for the Habs coming from the Mile High City, you’ll know it’s me cheering on these boys. The one thing these guys have going for them over all the other playoff teams has been their unbelievable penalty kill. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. I can only hope they give the Bolts their just dues. Go Habs!!! πŸ’πŸ₯…πŸ’

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dude. I was just taking about this with my son! I was like they got through all those teams and that first game was rough. Here’s hoping the next one is better. AND … AND! You know we know that movie by heart, who do you play for???! My son listened to Herb Brooks (a.k.a. Kurt Russell) give that famous locker room speech before every game followed by Aerosmith πŸ™‚ you know me I love the underdog. Sunshine and waves brother:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Habs have to adjust to the Bolts relentless defense, which they use like an NBA team but transitioning into fast break chances. As the Islanders learned, you’re not going to find the perfect pass against Tampa. You just need volume because between the D and their goalie, it’s not happening on one shot usually.

      That’s very cool about Miracle, which is such a great sports movie. And YES to the underdogs!

      Liked by 1 person

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