Regular FHF readers are undoubtedly familiar with both the Je Me Souviens summer filler series and the possibly brilliant yet possibly insane comment rantings of Jeff in Hong Kong. Today at FHF we've mashed up the two, thanks to an unsolicited story Jeffhk sent us because, well, we're not sure. But we wanted to share, and Jeff said ok, as long as it was accompanied by a photo of Harry Howell in combo with a 70's porn girl from Minnesota. We had to substitute hot Hong Kong film actress Kelly Lin for the latter. Sorry Jeff.
As Jeff himself told us it's a bit long, so we're introducing a handy new "read the full post" feature in honour of the occasion. So for an unedited look into the childhood hockey memories that hide in the electrified Swiss cheese of Jeffhk's mind, please join us, as the kids say, after the jump. Pants.
Oh my young tender boys, my little sweet...crap, wrong site. How embarrassing.
There was this feeling of surety watching the Canadiens in the 70's. If you were born in the early sixties or before, life was simple.
On a snowy Sunday in January, -75 Fahrenheit (we had global cooling then, big panic at the time, but the oil truck always showed up and kept our asses alive for another winter, thanks to our killing cold war world dominance and posh sheik types of guys in the middle east who had to send their sons to Oxford), you'd twist the UHF rabbit ears thingy to catch channel 22, WPTZ, welcome to the Boston Garden. And then you'd see the Habs win, again. Though the Bruins scared the fuck out of us every time.
I loved those games from the Garden and Madison Square. I loved the Bruins and the Rangers (a great story always has enemies you respect); they played their asses off every time. Vic Hadfield. Brad Park. Both teams always had great players.
And then Buffalo. Buffalo? Where the hell? What are they doing in the league? They used to piss me off, they even fucked us up sometimes, in the playoffs too. How dare they. Perrault that cunt, christ he was good. I’ve heard from a goalie who played then that Richard Martin had a wicked heavy wrister, just fuckin impossible to see, and if it hit you, it hurt like fuck, every time. You just never saw it coming.
Or you'd tune in to Dick and Danny, CJAD, live from Detroit, at 10 PM, and fall asleep after the Habs won again, live from Joe Louis Arena. The Wings were always crap then, a shame. Fucking fantastic though, to listen. Detroit was a million miles away then.
And that year, every year, the snow kept falling, and my damn fingers had frozen agony solid putting up the Christmas lights with my brother, bending the wires around rusty nails set in by my father in 64.
Los Angeles was just way too fucking late, (I was like 10 OK? I hadda go to sleep) and who the fuck were they anyway, Jesus, the KINGS? What the fuck gayboy kinda stuff was that?
I got the Harry Howell Esso card though, in 72. Last sticker, filled the book. Sweet. Harry played out his last years in LA, no teeth, in the sunshine, gintonics by the pool, doing tons of coke and having sex with young girls from Minnesota who wanted to be film stars. Always liked Harry Howell, great name. He may also have been the guy who’s point shot was deflected into Plante’s face in 59, thus forcing Jacques the man to put on the MASK for the first time. Need to check my facts on that one though.
Blah. Sorry Harry didn’t do that drug or girl stuff ok so don’t sue me blah…though I would of if I was him. Back to the story:
Now they sell those Esso sticker books on e-bay or whatever that crap site is. I wouldna sold Harry though, no fuckin way. I still wouldna. Cept I didn’t save the book because I grew up, and kids didn’t think about cash all the time then.
Made my mom fill up the fucking huge 5 ton no seat belts sharp things on the dash kill you GM Fury all the time to get those cards. Gas was cheap and life was good. I did not see the great world crisis looming on the horizon ok? I was fucking 10.
Point is it was fuckin great, and the moon circled the earth, and you'd go to the Forum 3 times a year and watch the Habs pick apart and fuck up some team. Just skate them to death. The Blues, or the um, Penguins. Penguins? What the fuck?
Cigars and beer in the halls between periods for the Dads. The forum halls reeked of beer and tobacco, of men, of Montréal men, French and English, who had paid for their tickets with hard work, and who no one was going lecture about smoking or drinking. This was their city, their building, their team. The forum was not a marketing idea; it was not a ‘venue’. It was a gathering place for all people of Montréal to watch their team play hockey. It was a civic place, a public place, a town square with seating so steep you could wave to your friend across the ice. It was our opera house. The pretty wives in the reds wore their fur, and the men with less money up in the whites watched the game with keen and quiet attention. It was the most dignified public gathering place I have ever seen.
And: It was bright, terribly bright. The light was pure white and hurt the eyes, the red railings were always fresh painted, you could see the play perfectly, but the shots were coming so damn fast that you still couldn’t see them all.
My mom would wear her fur coat, yeah a real one, christ she’d get killed now, and sit in the reds, falling in love with Larry Robinson, because “he was such a nice young man and had kind blue eyes.” I tried to explain that in fact Larry used to destroy decent men and damage their internal organs permanently, but my mom just liked his eyes. Jeez.
My step dad would just sit there watching, a cunning look on his face. He was a good goalie in his time and he was also one of those guys you see in suit and hat, smoking ciggies, in black and white pics from games in the forties and fifties. Sitting behind the wire mesh. Watching quietly. Fucking cool that war generation. Poor bugger flew bombers over Berlin and then drank way too much whiskey for the next 50 years. Don’t blame him, would a done the same.
So here we are now, and for us, my Montreal generation, French and English, generation X (and by the way fuck you, idiot media kids, generation X was 1960 to 65, not like 1970 or um 73, fucking moron badly educated cretins, read the book fuckheads), it's like some fucked up thing, a wrong nightmare, to see Habs struggle, or have a challenging game against the DUCKS or some marketing idea team from wherever the fuck. I mean it's just fucked really.
But the snow still flies in January, it's still cold as fuck, and this winter there will be a little guy on the South Shore, or in Beaconsfield, or in Laval, in Pierrefonds or in Park Ex, lacing his skates on to skate like fuck. He knows, he knows all of it, and he loves the Habs as much as I ever will.