This is the top of Mount Everest, where the Habs' marketing team saw it fit to hang the Ring of Honor
Guy Carbonneau was heard delivering this sermon before the game in the Canadiens dressing room:
"Guys, it's about 60 minutes, it's about playing for 20 of those 60 minutes. It's about 3 periods. It's about skating for one of those 3 periods. Which one? I'll leave that up to you. I really don't care. You wanna play the second and kick back for the first and third, not a problem. You wanna play the third and take it easy in the first and second to think about the ceremonies? That's cool. I may do the same. No problemo."
Bastards had me fooled. By the time this game was 20 minutes old, I was pretty convinced the Habs would trample over the Bruins for the rest of the game, running of the bulls style. They had the right idea in the first, jumping to an early 3-0 lead, obviously feeding off the emotion created by the nice introductory ceremony in this 100th season opener. But there was more time left on the clock and the players, it seems, had other ideas.
I guess the game mirrored the mood. The pre-game festivities were good. The new player intro, featuring today's players observing their historical counterparts to the tune of the Killers' All the Things That I've Done, will be a great ambiance setter all season long.
But the Preparation CH Ring of Honor was a total dud. This so-called ring is merely comprised of a row of posters that wrap around the building behind the very last row of the blues. Problems aplenty. First, we can't see the damn thing because the fans in their seats hide about 3/4 of every sign. I really don't care to see Sylvio Mantha's mug next to Robert Thibodeau, proud owner of tickets in section 436 row Z seat 15. If you want me to see Menthos Mantha, than let me see the guy.
Incidentally, the Ring of Fire is just way too high. Small cans of oxygen are given to fans who wish to visit it. Fans in the Reds have no chance whatsoever. Hey, nothing wrong with throwing the upper bowels a bone, I've had season tickets there for 3 years now, but let's make this thing something we can all enjoy, no?
Et finalement, the Guggenheim wondershleps who designed the Bell Centre decided on brown, a dark rich brown for the walls behing the blues. So naturally, when time came to decide on a design for this Ring of Honor, the Habs marketing gurus thought that brown on brown would give the desired effect. The result is a totally drowned out, bland, and dull Ring that does very little justice to the players it attempts to honor.
At least Buch Bouchard and Elmer Lach were there to drop the puck in a totally appropriate kick off to this centennial season. The team also handed out copies of Cocoon to every fan at the door.
Then came the player intros that felt contained and hasty. Home announcer, Michel Lacroix, gave the crowds very little time to voice their love to the players. Next, next, next. We don't want to be fined by the NHL, or rather, we want to make sure Larry Robinson doesn't come down to shake every hand in the arena. Also, word is the Habs didn't want to go head to head with Leno in the ratings.
It was an impressive start. But so was Joel Haley Osment's. The offence had lots of zip. The fans were loud and they believed. Geez, these guys are good. That's the sentiment that could be felt throughout the Bell Centre. That was the buzz. Everyone, every fan totally aboard.
Then the homeboys went to sleep, the Bruins made it a game and, amazingly, things got rather dull. A 19-8 shots advantage for Habs was followed by a 20-4 rout by the Bruins. Boston took the game away from the Canadiens for two periods. Carey Price stood very, very tall, but the Bruins found the holes. Then, it was revealed that a Mickey Mouse erection had dislodged a section of the boards the night before, and the game was suddenly tied.
Tanguay gave the crowd a reason to leave smiling and Maxim Lapierre played on about 240gr of Ritalin but, despite the 2 points, the job was left undone. It marked an end to a night that felt a bit out of step.
End of post. MENTHOS FREEZE FRAME!