Thursday, January 04, 2007

1-4-07: Capitals 5, Canadiens 1

[Note: Moderate to severe insanity follows.]

There’s a series of commercials on RDS, I think for Molson Export, that have the tagline ‘Le Hockey. Rien d’Autre’. The latest one begins by showing three guys being tormented by their various womenfolk, before going out to drink beer and watch hockey. I’ve seen this commercial many times, and not thought much about it except to wonder why beer commercials are so often misogynistic. But tonight they ran it towards the end of the 3rd period of the game, and I noticed for the first time that the entire thing is set to the song ‘Love Hurts.’ And I thought, what excellent timing.

1. Firstly, the Capitals earned this win, they played beautifully, almost all of them for almost the entire game. I’m growing skeptical of some of the standard analysis of Ovechkin, particularly the common statement that he’s more or less a one-dimensional goal-scoring machine (I know, I know, there are plenty of people who don’t believe this, but one does hear it pretty often, especially in all the Crosby comparisons.) Anyway, he didn’t get himself a single but tonight, but did show that he can set the pace and rhythm of an entire game even without scoring. I am appropriately dazzled, but I’ve also got to say that the thought of all the joyous Caps fans out in hockey blogistan right now kind of makes me queasy.

2. Hello, Aebi. It’s been a while. How’s life? Nice to see you’ve been staying in shape. I’d like to meet Nelson Mandela too. Have you ever been to South Africa? Me neither, never even managed to get to the other side of the Sahara. Someday.

3. The Habs started well, and even after the end of the 1st, when they were down 2-1, it still looked more than possible that they could pull off a win. But early in the 2nd a peculiar sequence of events took place. Kovalev scored a power play goal which was then revoked due to a goalie interference call against Koivu. RDS showed the footage about a thousand times, the commentators arguing that Koivu’s action wasn’t enough to warrant the penalty, and I have to admit it looked pretty insignificant to me, but it’s in my interest to see it that way. Make your own judgment. I don’t necessarily care whether the call was just or not, because it’s the aftermath in this case that was important. After that penalty, the Habs disappeared completely. You could almost see it, the white of their road uniforms slowly blurring into the background ice, until it was like they weren’t even there. There are so many ways to describe it- they gave up, they folded, they collapsed, they deflated- but I don’t think any of those accurately convey the phenomenon so well as this: They disappeared, faded away, like Keyser Soze, poof, gone.

You know, I never intended to be a Habs fan. Yes, I live in Montreal, and yes, they probably put it in the drinking water, but it was never really my intent to be fanatical at all. I began, back in the day, back before I started this here thing, as a very neutral hockey aficionado. I just liked to watch it. And then, one day, out of nowhere, I saw this one play and WHAM, like that, like Wile E. Coyote under an Acme Anvil, I fell in love, and after that it just started snowballing. Now I’ve got an extra cable package, a heap of bleu blanc et rouge stuff, and a lengthy hockey blog that still can’t keep up with the pace of my writing on the subject. What the hell happened here? It’s not right. It’s not fair. It’s weird to care so much about a game, and it’s even weirder to care so much about a particular team. I’d probably enjoy it more if I could get a little distance, just sit back and not care who wins so long as someone entertains me, but I can’t anymore. I am stupid enough to love the Montreal Canadiens. And you know what? The advertising department at the Molson Corporation is absolutely right about this one thing: love fucking hurts. Loving people is hard enough, but at least with a person there can be reciprocity, you affect him/her and he/she affects you, and when you’re really lucky, he/she loves you back. But when you love a thing- even a thing that involves people, for example, a hockey team- you’re just screwed, you’re like Hafez, constantly putting yourself through all this for nothing, for a beloved object with which you cannot possibly have any sort of relationship. You sit there and watch while it does whatever it does, and all your cheering or screaming or groaning does nothing but annoy the real people who love you enough to put up with this kind of nonsensical passion.


Can you tell that this particular loss upset me a little bit? Anyway, now that I’ve purged all my crazy for the night out onto the internet, time to go grow a spine and do something meaningful with my life.


CapsChick said...

The Habs will bounce back from this one bad night, I guarantee it. Every team has nights like this - if we Caps bloggers seem particularly joyous after the win it's only because the really good games, particularly at home, have been few and far between lately.

It's really hard not to love the Canadiens, so don't feel too bad. I went to Montreal with an all-encompassing love for my own team and left four years later with a love of two teams that causes me to throw things at the TV set on a nightly basis. I'm just glad I've gotten to see the Habs live both times they were in DC - I've missed them!

Jordi said...

Well you got poisoned water, I chased my favourite players to their teams and picked the one that interested me most. But yeah, Montreal is just something that happened. I actually was kind of skeptical and believed the preseason predictions of the Habs falling down the ladder to second last. But amazingly, they've been doing well. However all I can hope is that it carries on to the rest of the season.

I just love this team, and you're right about loving a team. They're like your own child, you feel like you've failed somewhat when they lose and you beam with pride when they win. And your head gets a little big.

Doogie said...

My mom's from Montreal, my Dad's from central Alberta. The Oilers sucked by the time I got around to picking a team, so I got in the Habs bandwagon just in time to get a Cup run out of it. It worked out okay, but damned if those lovable underdog Oilers of the late 90s didn't steal my heart at the same time that Rejean Houle et al were running the Canadiens into the ground in a manner not seen in modern history. Now that the Oil are mired in a mediocrity that they might not be too talented or lucky to make their way out of, I'm really beginning to regret only getting 16 Habs games all year in Alberta, because this sounds like a hell of a thing.