As Elisabeth Kubler-Ross famously pointed out, any time a person loses someone or something important to them, they go through 5 identifiable stages of grief. It is, apparently, a nearly universal human pattern that allows one to psychologically adjust to the absence of something important in one’s life. Like, for example, a half-decent hockey team, which everyone knows is one of essentials of a happy, healthy existence. The Habs, however, are not a half-decent team these days, so I’d appreciate it if fans of other teams (Leafs excepted, of course, we know what vindictive souls y’all are) would approach each of us henceforth as one would a person who has just suffered the loss of a loved one in a mysterious and inexplicable accident. For the benefit of said other fans, let’s take a moment to review the 5 stages of hockey-fan grieving:
1. Denial: Skid? What skid? They won the last game! Sure, they’ve had some rough periods recently, but it’s not the team’s fault- the refs have been absolutely killing us. Like that goal that was disallowed in the first period of this game- there was no kicking motion there whatsoever, much less a ‘distinct’ one! But of course, all goals are reviewed in
2. Anger: What the fuck do they think they’re doing? My GRANDMOTHER could play better hockey than this. I swear to god, my freakin’ GRANDMOTHER. And she’s DEAD. Don’t they have any pride? Any passion? We should just call up all the fucking Bulldogs and send all these spoiled millionaires down, maybe then we’d get to see someone playing the game like they care. Look at Lapierre and O’Byrne, Chipchura and Kostitsyn, at least their showing a little spark. Not like the rest of the lazy, soft, useless bums. Carbonneau needs to be fired right fucking now so we can hire someone who’ll whip their sorry asses back into shape, put the fear o’God into ‘em!
3. Bargaining: Maybe we can trade Ryder for somebody? Jagr’s struggling, isn’t he? Maybe the Rangers don’t want him anymore. Or, um… what about Gorges? He’s young, maybe he’s got some kind of upside, and you know,
4. Depression: What has happened to us? RDS, gearing up for next year’s centennial, shows historical clips during the intermissions- 100 years of Le Club de Hockey Canadien. 100 years. 100 years of being nearly perennial contenders, of winning more and more regularly than anyone else. 24 Stanley Cups, several of the most dominant dynasties the game has ever seen, countless now-legendary players. It’s been 14 years since the last Cup, 14 years of failure- they wouldn’t have tolerated that in the past. We wouldn’t have tolerated it. Yet now, with no indication of improvement, we nevertheless pack the Bell Centre night after night to watch little more than abject mediocrity or worse. This centennial shouldn’t be a celebration, it should be a wake: everyone come to view the well-preserved but lifeless corpse that was once Les Glorieux.
5. Acceptance: It’s a slump. A nasty one. We can’t score, we can’t defend, we can’t kill penalties, and (Bruins aside) it just seems to be getting worse with time. They’ve shown so little that’s good in the past month that it’s difficult to remember that they’re the same team who seemed so energetic, capable, and industrious early in the season. But every team slumps. Every single one:
Actually, Habs fans, scratch that. Hope is for pussies. Don’t hope, heckle. Go to the