Sunday, November 12, 2006

11-11-06: Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 1

It’s a grey, cold, damp morning in Montreal, and even though I haven’t even left the house yet, methinks I can already hear the low buzz of recrimination rising all over the city. I’ve got to admit, those numbers… damn. Pretty cringe-inducing. The interesting thing, of course, will be to see where all the fan bitterness eventually settles. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Habs fans, it’s that after every single game, win or lose, each and every one of them- including myself- will develop a very sudden and very strong opinion about how X player is, in and of himself, everything that is wrong with the team. The identity of X player shifts constantly, so to whoever gets the worst of it this time: don’t take it personally, it’s just what we fanatics do. We’re not mentally stable. Of course, given the nature of the team this year, there’s at least a 75% chance that you aren’t exactly the picture of sanity either.

  1. What the hell is up with all the penalties? They’re not even strategic penalties! They’re just plain silly! So silly, in fact, that I almost have trouble believing that they’re unintentional. Are the Habs trying to develop some sort of avant-garde performance art hockey where they play with 3 or 4 guys for the entire thing? Their PK is still good, but it’s considerably less impressive without Higgins and that cute short-handed goal habit of his.
  2. The Canadiens’ CMD struck again in the second period, wherein they were evidently all consumed with profound existential despair. “Is man truly condemned to be free?” they ask themselves, “If God does not exist, is everything indeed permitted? And if so, why do they keep sending us to that little glass box?” And suddenly, for everybody on the team at the same instant, the entire game seemed so meaningless, so insignificant, compared with the vast emptiness of the universe. It’s a wonder they didn’t all just sit down on the ice and weep for the cold, dark meaninglessness at the core of being.
  3. However, I do hope it’s clear that whatever the significant problems with the team may be, Latendresse isn’t one of them. Yeah, his reach still exceeds his grasp- he overextends himself sometimes and tries to do things that he doesn’t have the control to pull off, but on a team given to under-exerting itself of late, I’m grateful for every spark of irrational enthusiasm that anybody can throw out there.
  4. Now the moral quandary: Do I write here, semi-publicly, what I personally think the most significant specific problem with the Habs is? Sure, my opinion is poorly informed and based mostly on being upset about the loss, but this is the Montreal Canadiens- everybody has an uninformed, petulant opinion about them. But on the other hand, adding my criticism to the hockey-criticism-opera in this context isn’t going to change anything- I’m sure that many other fans will say it anyway, and if the team has any sense left they won’t pay any attention to any of us. Plus, I really hate to pick on specific people who are (probably) not actually trying to do terribly- pointing out when a player/players is/are completely off his/their game seems not just mean, but redundant. They know their own play better than I. So I’m just going to keep the worst of my whining to myself.
  5. I don’t care what anybody says, even when kicking the Habs collective ass all over the place, the Leafs are still a tremendously boring team. Why can’t we have an interesting division rivalry? Hating the Leafs feels more or less like trying to sustain a venomous rage towards oatmeal, or ferrets. Sure, you can manage it, but is it really worth the effort?
  6. I fell asleep during the Calgary-Vancouver game, and I only thought one thing about it before that, which is that the Canucks are too clever for their own good. What does that mean? No idea. I was tired.

Coming up Monday: Canadiens-Senators, Existential Despair vs. Ancient Egyptian Curse. I can’t wait.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?


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