Friday, May 07, 2010

Heart and CHaracter, bitCHes - Habs 3, Pens 2

So I was perusing the hockey blogs this morning looking for some inspiration. Not that I should need any inspiration to write given last night's win, but there were just too many things to write about. Sure, we could take the "angry rant at the refs and NHL" route, but that's just what they'll be expecting us to do.

Anyhoo, I came across Moey who wrote the following:

As much as I still love and miss Saku Koivu, I've come to terms with the fact that it was time for him to move on. I love this little team, especially it's heart and character, after last year's centennial debacle they've managed to restore pride and a real sense of hope. They really are a joy to watch.

Well, I should probably just stop there, 'cause that's what I want to say. This team is a joy to watch, and it's because of heart. And CHaracter. I can't tell you how many comments I've read in this here corner of the intertubes lately along the lines of "no matter how far we go, I'm just so proud of this team." It was said against the Caps, and pretty much all of this series, even when we lost. This team's heart and CHaracter have been praised to no end. We agree with all of those comments.

But I have a serious question. Where the fuck did this heart come from? Do you remember the last week of the season? No of course you don't, because we've all collectively blocked it out of our memory. Let me refresh that memory with some of the headlines from FHF that week:

Dear Habs, I would Like it if You Could Kiss My Ass
FOR FUCK'S SAKE JUST GET A POINT
Huzzah, we're in the playoffs! Meh, we're in playoffs

If you made a list of Habs' assets in that last week of the season, "heart and CHaracter" would have been somewhere around "French Canadian superstar." This team was a mess. Needing a couple of points against crappy teams, they got beat down by the WhalerCanes, and just managed to scrape up single points in losing causes from two of the shittiest teams in the league, the Isles and Leafs. This team's "character" was sucking.

Now, that's all anyone can talk about. Habs' heart and CHaracter. So where did it come from? Let's take a look at some candidates:

Brian Gionta - I wanted him named captain before the playoffs and I was right, goddammit. He's continued his eternal work ethic and dragged this team into the realms of "anything is possible." If I didn't feel ridiculously guilty about making a "Saku who?" joke I would make it now.

Hal Gill - Number of negative comments about Gill during the regular season? 1.4 trillion. Number of negative comments about him during the playoffs? Zero.

Scott Gomez - like Gio, he just works. And works. He seemed like kind of flake at times this year, but now, he's showing, um, heart.

Notice a pattern in these three candidates? Stanley Cup winners all. Bob knew what he was doing.

Kirk Muller - Not to get all Don Cherry on ya, but Kingston rulz! What made Captain Kirk great has transferred to the bench, and possibly transferred to the boys.

No expectations - go back to that last week of the season. No one expected the Habs to do anything going into the playoffs. The whole team seemed to say "fuck it, let's prove 'em wrong."

Drugs - I know when I'm on meth, I have character up the wazoo.

Mad Max - two months ago his character was "whiny little lazy ass piss ant." Now he's emblematic of the work done by the third and fourth lines. Must be the drugs.

So I still don't know where the heart and CHaracter came from. But I don't care. We have it, and we can't let it go. And it was on full display last night. I know I said up top I wouldn't bash the refs, but it's central to our story. I transcribed Grapes during Coach's Corner, talking about the clothesline on Big Tits as he crossed the Pens' blue line:

"Now watch this. THAT's not a penalty? He give him a shot! He give him a shot like that! (makes hand to the face gesture) Call it like you like. No penalties for Pittsburgh? And what was it, 3 or 4 for Canadiens? It's ridiculous... I don't know what it is. I come out and say what it is, folks." (lots of sic)

And on Crosby's interference on Hamr:

"This isn't a penalty? THIS ISN'T A PENALTY? Are you telling me this is not a penalty? I mean, c'mon!"

So in the face of that, the Habs showed what they are made of. Let's face it, even with the non-calls, the Habs blew chunks for 40 minutes. A total of 9 shots. Jaro holding the fort as best he could after giving up two early goals. Beat down and playing like shit, the Habs went into the dressing room looking like they were about to go down 3-1. But in the room, JM undoubtedly gave his version of a Knute Rockne-esque inspirational speech or a Herb Brooks-esque tirade, by standing there and looking perturbed. It worked. Habs came out like gangbusters and got two quick goals and ended up with 16 shots. Jaro held on. Series tied 2-2.

Because of heart. And CHaracter.

40 comments:

kevincrumbs said...

I agree. As much as I wanted Saku to stay, this team did need a break with the past, especially when the past was really fucking crappy outside of one very fluky year.

I felt that a lot of the criticism of Max was because many of us felt uncomfortable with having a villain on our team after the hit on whatshisface on the Sharks. Yes, he regressed this season but I didn't think he was as worthless as a lot of people made him out to be. Then again, I have a Lapierre jersey and collect his hockey cards, so...

Anonymous said...

picture me doing a standing ovation cuz thats what u brought me to you glorious son of a bitch. Go Habs Go its weird having this much pride for this team i am in love all over again with the sport.

orangeman said...

/wipes single tear from cheek.

Mr Trivia said...

Fucking right.

Remember when everyone was blown away by Gainey blowing up the team last season? Never been done. Not gonna work.

Blah blah blah.

Gainer built this team and you know what? This team plays like Gainer.

Heart. Heart. Block shot. Block shot. Timely goal. Block shots like crazy. Heart. Heart. Heart.

Fucking character. Fucking Habs.

Fucking pants.

RiRi said...

awww. cutest pic ever.

Couldn't agree more. Every single time people count them out, they come raging back. This team wasn't even supposed to make the playoffs, according to the "experts". What's not to love?

*beams with pride*

Go Habs Go!!!

Moey said...

@Mr T,

And in the seventh year, Gainey created the Habs in hiw own image...

@29,

Merci beaucoup for the shoutout!

Moey said...

Crap, make that HIS own image.

Mr Trivia said...

@Moey - took enough time but, yeah, Gainey built a good looking team. You're right about Koivu, it doesn't hurt so much anymore.

I wished it could've ended better for him here but he's gone and we're a better team.


...

On another note, from TSN:

"Winnipeg will soon find out whether or not the Phoenix Coyotes franchise will return to the city it once called home. Sources tell TSN this decision will be made within the next three weeks, if not sooner."

Anonymous said...

If Gomez was a dog, he'd be a black lab.

If Mad Max was a dog, he'd be a boxer.

If Gill was a dog, he'd be an Australian Shepperd.

If Crosby was a dog, he'd be a Chihuahua.

If Malking was a dog, he'd be a St-Bernard

moeman said...

I agree 100%.

Habsfan10 said...

Hey! What the fuck happened to the cuddly bear pic?

@ Anon: If Mad Max were a dog, he definitely wouldn't be a boxer, unless he was a boxer that took a dive. He's more of a French poodle with an infected tooth. Yappy, annoying, sometimes peeved but not really very threatening.

Tyg said...

Did Bettman die? I thought Bettman would have to die for a Canadian city to ever even dare hope to dream of getting another NHL franchise, even if WE DO FUCKING DESERVE THEM!

Excellent blog today. Agree with everything. That will probably never happen again, but what the hell - I'm in a good mood today.

My wonderful, crazy, PANTS! *sniffs*

I think some of the credit for the Habs win is due to the fact that I demanded equality for the ladies on this forum, and got some naked male hockey shirtlessness link to TFS yesterday. Feel free to grovel in gratitude.

Wasted Years said...

I wish I could say I read the whole thing cause I love this site despite the fact I am a Leaf Fan....However you lost me with a headline that involves "CHaracter" and a picture with Maxim Lapeierre....Come The Fuck On! He is a disgrace to the sport and to your team. Little diving fuck nuts son of a bitch!!!!!! FUCK HIM!

Other than that....great effort last night. Way to stick it to the NHL and the Refs.

Mr Trivia said...

the General is making the trip to Pitts.

apparently they're calling him a fucking game-time decision.

holy fuck balls.

Jaybird said...

Brian Gionta to me is the NYG... for New York Giant.

RiRi said...

Suck it, refs.

Boob Gainey said...

Lappy's alright.

Kmaxx said...

29 - you have moved me once again - what a fuckin' beautiful post that was. In the final week of the season - I admit - I gave up...something along the lines of "wake me when we draft another midget d man who can't skate...or something similar - GG called me on it a week later and rightly so...it is at times like that...and times like last night - when I realise that I will never be able to leave this team - and that I don't ever want to. When they play like they played for the 1st 40minutes I sure as shit want to...but then they turn it around and I'm back! I'll be there Saturday night (I say "There" but actually I mean I'll be in my living room at midnight in the UK - online) and I'll continue to be there for as long as they are. After All - I'm a Habs Fan. Where the fuck else would I be?

Bill 101 said...

Habs 2009/10

manicdepressive-o-genic

Fuck I love the manic part

moeman said...

@Kmaxx "Where the fuck else would I be?"

Here!

Kmaxx said...

@moeman...my bad..."Here" goes without saying - I have RDS open on one laptop, the ESPN/HNIC feed on another and FHF nicely positioned between the two. I don't tend to comment during the games - a superstition I developed during the last week of the season. Now, the routine is to put in 1 big rousing GHG (or similar) on the Game Preview and Open Thread, then I step away from the blog until the deal is done.

...oh - and I haven't shaved since the last week of April - more down to laziness than superstition but it's been a good enough excuse to get it past the wife this far!

Boob Gainey said...

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

HabsFan29 said...

god love that Markov pic. no crutches!

lawyergirl77 said...

Said it last night in the game comments, I will say it again.

I love this fucking team.
So much so that I went out and gave the Molson family more of my damned money and bought the "playoff tees" with the roster on the back. (And, because I'm weak, I bought myself a Gio t-shirt, and Mr. LG77 a PFK one)

Cup or no Cup, these guys are the fucking Canadiens de Montréal. This is the team that we've been waiting for since Roy got traded.

Love these guys. LOVE.

But - yeah, things looked shaky in the last half of the season... but these guys showed us glimpses of this CHaracter throughout the season too. It's just that they peaked at EXACTLY the right time. It's a sign of greatness, IMHO.

(And, Moey, I LOVED that line from your blog this AM. Made me sniffle.)

lawyergirl77 said...

You just know that Vodkov is going to try and play in Game 5... He's probably all "If that Stall motherfucker can come back from the dead, so can I, bitches!!"

Only, you know, he said that in, like Russian, or something.

habsss said...

I'm glad I finally get to see that montage.

Kirk is awesome. Him and Boucher would be amazing.

Lovely post except for the reminder about the Canes *shudders* I'm trying to block that day out of my memory.



Also, MARKOV!

GoldenGirl11 said...

This is exactly what 'watching the playoffs in 93 felt like. Fun fun fun.

Tyg said...

If everyone gets along with Gill (ala hockeybuzz.com), shouldn't he be wearing the Big C?


I'm torn about Vodkov returning for Game 5. He could get injured (targeted) again, be ineffective because of his current injury, or become incapacitated to the point where we lose him for half the season next year. Les Boys did well last night, no question (at least in the 3rd), but clearly they are missing their Vodkov. But yeah, if Staal can, why the fuck not?

Howard said...

@gg11 So true!!

wv meesa would like to put a nousa around that whiney little crybaby's neck!

Ronan said...

Per Eliotte Friedman's column:

"If Guy Boucher is offered an NHL coaching job this summer, the Canadiens will not stand in his way.

"Our organizational philosophy is the same as everyone else's," Montreal GM Pierre Gauthier said this week. "Never get in the way of someone moving up in his career.""

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

WV: "paper" - what Crosby's sticks seem to be made of.

orangeman said...

PM spots Habs fans in Croatia. We're everywhere!

Number31 said...

Watching the Canucks... They don't have that character. They're playing like a bunch of selfish tools that seem more interested in punching someone and taking a stupid penalty over playing like a team that wants to win. It's like the opposite of our boys. If Martin were their coach, O'Brien and Burrows would have been benched since the first minute of play. Bieksa never changes, he just wants to be a mean asshole that forgets to play the position. The Sedins (particularily Daniel) have lost their fucking minds even if they're producing they're falling for everything the Hawks throw at them and are taking dumb penalties. Big Buff's in their heads. Luongo is hiding in his net.

And where the defensive structure of the Habs ALWAYS has someone covering a guy like Ovechkin or Crosby, the Canucks are distracted and forgetting their jobs. You can't leave a guy like Toews in the slot all alone and expect to come out of it ok.

Habs are a tight team. They're together. They're fighting for each other. They're cheering for each other on the bench. They're blocking as many shots as Jaro saves. They're playing smart. I don't see any of this togetherness with the Canucks.

You want a chance to win the Cup? You need to be together and play like a team.

I have never seen a Habs team this close together since '93.

b said...

Okay, Kingston does rule, the only Kingston boy you didn't cite or quote was Doug Gilmour. Gotta be a way to bring him in. I love Don Cherry, except when I hate him ( usually after he makes a dig against French guys)*. Grit lads, grit, grit will get it done.

* You know across the river from Kingston they have a whole week in July they call the French Festival.
Don would not love that.

Grrrreg said...

I agree with pretty much everything that was said here, even though I still have a hard time fully appreciating Lapierre. I'm way more enamored with Moen, Moore, and Pyatt. To me, the game against the Caps where he took two freaking diving penalties and also scored a goal was him in a nutshell. I aprreciate the effort he brings and his contribution, but I can never fully forget the moronic diving Lapierre either.

And about the captaincy, I really don't think they should give it to Gio now. They should just wait till next year. This group has lots of leaders and I don't think it would be fair/smart to put one above the others right now (no matter how much Gionta deserves it). There's no need to open that debate right now and to have half the media second-guessing this decision.

Go habs go

boob gainey said...

@Number31

That is exactly right. I think a lot of the credit has to go to JM.

I didn't like him much during the season. Defensive - not to say passive - style. Lack of rapport with the young players. But I think it's pretty clear he is doing an amazing job with this team.

The contrast with Vancouver is so telling. Or with Washington.

GoldenGirl11 said...

@Orange
Sure, everybody's a fan now. Why were those guys in Croatia in the first place? I bet the article just happen to leave out the part where those guys ran away in shame when the Habs lost to the Leafs and almost didn't make the playoffs but now that the team is winning they've come out of the woodwork to hug the prime minister! Bandwagon jumpers. God I hate that. Sure they've got Croatian names but that was just to throw off the media.

I kid. I kid.
Idi hlače!!!

Tyg said...

@Number31 - Great assessment. Yeah, I watched that too, and saw what you did. No real unity amongst the team - just a lot of talented players trying to do too much individually.

I hope it's a trap the Pens fall into as well.

Also, fuck Bill Guerin and fuck the Pens.

Number31 said...

Martin has the structure but it wouldn't work if Muller doen't make them believe in themselves. The players bought in and are working hard to win.

I think Muller is even getting to Martin though as apparently the usually silent coach raised his voice and rallied the team to play better in the 2nd/3rd.

Doogie2K said...

Wow. When Grapes says the Habs got boned on penalties, they got double-secret fucked in orifices that aren't designed for the task. Jesus.

Sonia said...

The Habs didn't need a "break with the past" (aka Saku). They needed a break from the chicken-shit cowardice of players hiding behind their captain and letting him get blamed for all the team's failings, year after year. He was just a convenient scapegoat, which suited many players and the organization just fine.

I'm glad Saku is free of this untenable situation. And I'm glad the Habs finally decided to grow the fuck up & be accountable.