Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Name That Captain!

Theme music rolls as the live game-show audience applauds wildly. Host Guy "Smiley" Carbonneau trots out to take centre stage, mic in hand (well, he's not doing anything else)

GC: Hey there, Habs fans! It's the night we've all been waiting for. We started all the way back in last October with a bunch of guys we didn't know at all. We watched them grow together and beat down two of the best teams in the East in the playoffs. So now, friends, it's time. Time to CHOOSE YOUR CAPTAIN!!

crowd cheers and whistles

GC: Alright! Let's meet our contestants! First up, he's small but he's got balls...Brian Gionta! How're you feeling Brian?
Gionta: Um, wow. This is pretty lame...I So, what am I supposed to do?
GC: Ha! I'm glad you asked! There's nothing to it, really. Each candidate will face a specific challenge that will test his fitness to be captain of the Montreal Canadiens. IF...and I'll say it again...IF you succeed in your challenge, you'll face our panel of judges. Are you ready, Brian Gionta?!
Gionta: Okay...I guess.

Music swells, backdrop curtain rises with a flourish to reveal a net, goal crease and a grinning, toothless Chris Pronger

GC: Brian Gionta, here's your challenge: You have to spend one minute in the crease with Chris Pronger without falling down. Bonus points if you hurt him instead. Ready? GO!

Gionta sighs, picks up a stick and helmet and plants himself in front of the net. Pronger starts with a butt-end and moves on to a quick succession of cross-checks to the back. He attempts a slew-foot, but Gionta nimbly avoids it. Pronger elbows Gionta in the head, the little guy stumbles, but stays on his feet. As the clock ticks down, Gionta slashes Pronger neatly in the ankle, making the behemoth wince. The crowd goes wild. Panting, Gionta returns centre stage.

GC: Well done, Little G. I think...let me check with the judges...yes, you picked up those bonus points there at the end. How do you feel?
Gionta: Hurt, what do you think?! And don't call me Little G.
GC: Heh heh...look at that passion, people! Thanks Brian. Now let's bring out the next contestant. He's got a college edumacation and he loves to tweet...welcome Mike Cammalleri!
Cammalleri: Hey, how's it going, Carbo?
GC: You tell me, in about five minutes. Are you ready for your challenge?
Cammalleri: I'm always ready. Bring it on.
GC: Your mission, Michael Cammalleri, if you choose to accept it (hee hee) is...

Curtain rises to reveal a goal with marked targets in the corners, and large, inflatable "players" shifting back and forth in front if it

GC: hit each target while shooting from one knee and avoiding the shot blockers. You have one minute. Go!

Cammalleri drops to one knee and starts firing. He shoots ten pucks, but hits only three targets

GC: Not bad, not bad. You missed that stick-side corner, but we'll let the judges decide how much that matters. Why do you think that corner was so tough to hit?
Cammalleri: Well, it's a philosophical thing really. I think the psyche of the modern player prevents him from revealing his best because he always believes there'll be another occasion when that extra effort will be even more necessary. He always keeps something in reserve, if you will. The funny thing is...
GC: Okay, thanks Michael Cammalleri!
Cammalleri: But I was going to say...
GC: Tell it to the judges...ha ha! Now, let's have contestant number three. I never understood a word he said and I think he was laughing at me sometimes, but I love him's the Russian General, Andrei Markov!

crowd stands and roars approval

GC: Welcome to the show, Andrei. This is a big night for you. Are you nervous?
Markov: No.
GC: Do you think you have what it takes to be me? I mean, the captain of the Montreal Canadiens?
Markov: (long pause) Um...yes? I vill do vhatever I can do to help the team to vin.
GC: Would it be special for you to be the Canadiens' first Russian captain?
Markov: But I em Canadian too, eh? Heh heh.
GC: Ah...good one, Andrei. Well, now it's time for your challenge.

curtain rises to show half a rink, with a bunch of large minor leaguers throwing themselves at the boards at intervals

GC: You must run from here, all around the end boards and back...and here's the tricky part...without getting hit and sustaining a season-ending injury. You have one minute...GO!

Markov runs like a madman, deftly avoiding the pounding checks. Just as he's about to finish, he steps on one of Mike Cammalleri's discarded pucks and falls awkwardly.

Markov: Oh, my enkle! Дорогой Бог, не раз. Ой, больно!
GC: Medics! Can we get the medics?! Andrei, can you walk?
Markov: (groans and mumbles inaudible Russian epithets)

Medics carry Markov off on a stretcher

GC: Okay. I'm sure Andrei will be fine. He heals like he's got penicillin for blood. Can we have our next contestant? Guys? he is! He loves the Lord and the Montreal Canadiens. Let's give a warm round of applause to Josh Gorges!
Gorges: Ah, thanks, Carbo.
GC: Okay, Josh, we know you're a fearless competitor, and your challenge is based on that.

curtain rises to reveal Zdeno Chara and twenty pucks

GC: It's a simple challenge, really. You have to block Chara's shots with whatever body part is closest, and then clear the rebound. Ready? You've got one minute, starting NOW!

Chara winds up and his first shot hits Gorges in the helmet. Gorges drops to the ground, motionless.

GC: Uh oh. Another contestant down. Can we get some help here? Wait...wait...he's getting up. Josh, are you okay?
Gorges: Huh? Grammy?
GC: Okay, Josh? I think you're hurt?
Gorges: I'm not hurt, Grammy. I want to keep playing.
GC: It's okay, Josh. You did good. Come sit down now.
Gorges: Wow, there's a big crack in my helmet. Can I have a new one?
GC: Sure you can, Josh. Doc, can you help him off the stage?
Gorges: Grammy?
GC: Heh, heh...a big round of applause for Josh Gorges. Now, coming up right after the break, our four finalists will make their cases for the captaincy to the panel of judges. So, let's meet our judges! First, we have Le Gros Bill, Jean Beliveau!

crowd goes nuts

GC: Nobody understands what it takes to be the captain of the Canadiens like Jean Beliveau, the longest-reigning captain in Habs history. Next on the panel, representing the players, is Jaroslav Halak!

people look confused

GC: Jaro led the team in last year's playoffs and knows all these players and their leadership styles extremely well. We asked him to be a judge because we were banking on him still being here this year, but he's kindly flown in from St.Louis to be here anyway. And our final panelist is, of course, coach Jacques Martin.

crowd shrugs

GC: Now, let's hear from our contestants. Each man gets one minute to make his case to the judges and to you, the fans. First up, let's hear it for Brian Gionta! Brian, you have one minute to tell the judges why you should be captain of the Habs.
Gionta: I've never really been a captain, but I think I could do a good job. I try to listen to what everybody has to say, and I want to win more than anything. I've got a lot of experience in the league, and I think I could be a good leader. That's all. Thanks.
GC: Thank you, Brian Gionta. Now, contestant number two! Here's Mike Cammalleri. Mike, tell the judges why YOU should be captain.
Cammalleri: Friends, judges, teammates, fans. I've come here today with a goal in mind, a goal of the most admirable, enviable kind. The Montreal Canadiens are, without a doubt, a legendary franchise. When I look back at who has captained this club, I'm humbled. Butch Bouchard, Rocket Richard, Henri Richard, Yvan Cournoyer, Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau, Saku Koivu and, of course, Mr.Beliveau who we see sitting here on the panel, these are the names we can find in both the Hall of Fame and on the list of Canadiens captains. To be the leader of this team is a role any player would covet. We work hard all our lives to get to this place, and have a chance at a position like this. I think I would...
GC: Aaaaaannnnd thank you, Michael Cammalleri!
Cammalleri: But, I was going to say...
GC: Sorry, that's your minute. Hey, I could have used you when they were saying I couldn't communicate! Now, contestant number three, Andrei Markov!

Markov limps in on crutches

Markov: Heylo. I em Andrei. Mentreal is great city. I loff the city and the fens. I vork hard to help the team to vin. I alvays try. I be beck soon.
GC: Thank you, Andrei. That was the most coherent English I've ever heard from you. Were you holding out on me all that time?
Markov: Heh never know, Carbo.
GC: Now, here's our last candidate, Josh Gorges! Josh, how's your head? Are you ready to talk to the judges?
Gorges: Sure, Carbo. I'm used to a few little bumps. Okay, honourable judges, I don't think you should pick me. I'm looking at these guys who are better scorers, been around longer and have won Cups. I'm not better than them. I'm glad you chose me as a finalist, but for sure one of those other guys should be captain. Thanks a lot.
GC: Well...thanks, Josh. Now, it's time for our judges to make their decision. We're headed to commercial, but they'll talk over the break, and give us their choice, when we come back!

Over the commercial break, the judges confer.

GC: Aaaaannnnd we're back! Alright, judges, you talked during the break. Now it's time for our contestants to find out what you decided. Contestants, could you please line up here?
Beliveau: I would like to say all of the candidates are worthy captains. Brian, you have defied your size and made yourself into a scoring threat. I was always a tall player, but I saw my smaller teammates like Henri Richard work so hard to score goals. I know that you have to work harder than most. Michael, you are passionate and proud, and you have to be both of those things to be a captain. You can also back up your words with your actions on the ice. Andrei, you are the longest-serving Canadien and your play is always very fine. You have shown your loyalty to Montreal and you have been a fine assistant captain. Josh, you have given your body and your health for the good of the team. You don't score a lot, but you try like hell. Players respect that, and they listen when you speak. With all that in mind, we have chosen...
GC: WAIT! We'll find out the judges' decision after the break!!

dreary commercials for two minutes, mostly those Marine Land ads

GC: Aaaaannnnd we're back. I'm starting to like saying that. Anyway. Now, it's time for the other judges to speak. First up, Jacques Martin.
Martin: Thanks, everyone. I have coached all these players, and any one of them would make a good captain. I have to say, though, Brian, you exhibit so many leadership qualities, you're very qualified to be the Canadiens captain.
GC: Thank you, Jacques Martin! Now, Jaro Halak!
Halak: I like you Brian. You came through and saved my ass many times. I can see over your head though, so maybe you're not a captain.
GC: Thank you, judges. Now, here's our second contestant, Mike Cammalleri. Jacques?
Martin: Michael, you love the Canadiens, and you always give your best when you're on the ice. However, you never shut up, so that plays against you.
GC: Thanks, Jacques. Jaro?
Halak: He's right, Cammy. You never shut the hell up. We love you anyway, but you bug some people in the room.
GC: Our next candidate: Andrei Markov!
Markov: Heylo.
Halak: Andrei, you could be the captain. But you don't talk. The microphones need to hear a lot of lip-wagging from the captain, and you don't need that.
Martin: Andrei, I think you should be the guy who worries about his own position. You're very good at what you do. You don't need to have the pressure of being captain.
GC: Alright then! Now, our last contestant, Josh Gorges!
Martin: Josh, you did everything I asked and more. You gave everything to win and the other guys were happy to follow you in the playoffs.
Halak: Josh, you made me look very, very good. I mean, I was good, but you helped me look like superstar. I never said thanks, so thanks.
GC: Okay, potential captains! You can all gather backstage now, while the judges confer. We'll be RIGHT back, with a decision!!

Annoying commercials about tampons and Toyotas ensue...four minutes later...

GC: Now it's time. Our judges will now announce the NAME of the next CAPTAIN of the MONTREAL CANADIENS!!!
Martin: We have decided it's appropriate for the great Jean Beliveau to announce our decision.
Beliveau: Thank you very much. It's a great burden for me to choose a captain. When I played, the other players picked their leader. But times have changed now, and I will announce our decision. We have elected...CAREY PRICE!! Okay, a small joke. We've really elected...JOSH GORGES!!

crowd goes insane

Beliveau: Josh is the only member of the team who gives of himself without really expecting anything in return. He goes as hard as he can in every game, but, most importantly, he doesn't carry a burden of expectation with him. Brian Gionta and Mike Cammalleri, if they struggle to put up points, will be ridiculed. Andrei Markov, if he has a long-term injury, will be questioned. Josh Gorges has the respect of his teammates, he's durable and he will give everything in him to win for the team. He's the captain. Congratulations, Josh.
GC: There you have it, fans. Josh Gorges is the new captain of the Montreal Canadiens. Join us again next year for our sequel, "Name that Coach!"


V said...

Gorges is my choice as well.

Anonymous said...

JT, I have to say I think I agree with you.

As you laid out (in a very funny way), each of the other candidates are strong, but have something going against them. Gorges seems like a great choice. A natural leader. A true heart-and-soul guy who works his butt off. He is well-respected and has been with the team longer than the new guys. He will also not have any real additional pressure put on him to perform by being captain.

Great choice.

Unknown said...

Yes, Gorges is a great choice. Which means, I have no doubt, that management will NOT choose him. :-(

Paul B. said...

Just one word: WOW

Anonymous said...

I second that WOW. I like your choice of Gorges but I would go with Cammalleri. I think he'd handle the pressure fine and he really wants the job which is important. Also, a forty goal scorer as captain is exciting. I just hope it isn't Markov.

moeman said...

Superb J.T.

I believe you are happily married but I will say it for all, marry me.


In order:

Josh Gorgeous

Andrei Vodkov

Brian Little Giant Gionta

Anonymous said...

Josh is the man-I totally agree this time,JT
Great Post !!!!

Pete said...

"Name that Coach!" ......lolz

Brilliant JT. I think Josh would be a great choice as well.

Anonymous said...

The bit about Markov was priceless :)

Anonymous said...

Great to see Leblanc sign a contract and leave Harvard. He wants to be a hockey player and not get a business degree to learn how to steal old ladies pensions. Good for him and the Habs.

Anonymous said...

The first one to do an interview in french will get the "C". For Anon@ and old ladies pensions...don't sell the program short, others have pensions as well.