Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Pep Talk

The Scene: Canadiens dressing room, TD Garden, one hour before Game One versus Bruins. Players are half-dressed, waiting. Jacques Martin strides in and takes his place in the middle of the room.

Martin: (clears throat, clasps hands behind back, observes ceiling) Okay, boys. Here we are. Again. Everybody expects us to lose. Again. Not me. I know we can do this job. We worked on The System all year. We don't score much. That's true. But we can block shots. It doesn't take much skill for that. You don't have to be fast or smart or very big to throw yourself down in front of a puck. That's what I'm asking you to do. Carey's the guy wearing the pads, but you can all be goalies too. How can a team with twenty goalies lose?
Scott Gomez: (aside to Brian Gionta) When's the last time twenty goalies scored a goal?
Gionta: Probably since the last time you scored one, Gomer.
Martin: Gentlemen? Is there something you'd like to add?
Gionta: No, coach. You've got the floor.
Martin: Okay. Let's talk assignments. Hal and P.K. You guys are going to have a lot of minutes tonight. You're going to be responsible for stopping the Krejci/Horton/Lucic line. You're also going to be responsible for containing the Bergeron line. And you two will kill the penalties. P.K., you'll also set up the PP while Hal grabs a breather. Carey, you'll be responsible for moving the puck up to Hal and P.K. The rest of you, block shots.
Subban: (whispers to Gill) Skillsie, am I supposed to play 30+ minutes? That's a lot.
Gill: No, kid. Sounds like you're playing 60. Have fun. And don't forget to block shots. You're a goalie now.
Martin: (ignoring Subban's giggle) Patience and discipline, gentlemen. Those are the skills that will win the day for our group. We wait with patience, we block shots and when we see an opportunity, we leap on it. And discipline. We must stay out of the box. I can't stress that enough. If we give these guys too many chances, they'll burn us. Yes, Larry?
Lars Eller: (timidly raising hand) Um, coach? What if a guy has a breakaway? Is it okay to trip him then?
Martin: (sighs) Yes. If there's no other choice, you do what you have to do.
Eller: But, coach, are the rules for getting benched the same in the playoffs? I don't want to miss the whole series.
Martin: Don't worry about getting benched. Just be smart and work hard, and you'll be fine.
Brent Sopel: (humming Don't Fear the Reaper)
Mike Cammalleri: Coach, can you go over our offensive strategy one last time?
Martin: Well, I've been focusing on the D mostly. But, you should shoot the puck. If you shoot a lot, some of them will go in. Oh, and go to the front of the net. Now, about shot blocking, I want to stress how important it is against this team.
Andrei Kostitsyn: (hopefully) Shoot pack? Score goal?!
Martin: Yes, Andrei. Shoot the puck. But don't forget blocking shots. You have to be a goalie too.
Kostitsyn: Yes. Shoot pack.
Martin: (sighs) Andrei, just follow Plekanec and do what he does, okay? Now, I can't tell you any more. You know what you have to do. So...go, men. Take it to them! (pumps fist and blushes slightly)

Martin nods, pats a couple of guys on the shoulder in passing and heads back to the coach's room.

Roman Hamrlik: Anybody know what Coach just said?
Jaroslav Spacek: Vím, že nic. Já jsem nejnudnější člověk na světě. Můj prst je v mém nose.
Tomas Plekanec: (giggles helplessly)
Gionta: (rolls eyes) Kirky? You got something you wanna say? We're listening.

Kirk Muller, leaning against a back wall, straightens and strides to the middle of the room

Muller: Okay guys. We've been through the video and the meetings. Now it's time to take what we talked about out there and do it on the ice. I believe in you. I know what you can do, and if you believe it too, you can make it happen. The most important thing is to trust yourself and the guy next to you. Have each other's backs, but don't be stupid and get sucked into their game. Tommy? Do you believe you can do this?
Tom Pyatt: Um, yeah, Kirky.
Muller: No, Tommy. Do you BELIEVE?!
Pyatt: (with a little more enthusiasm) Yeah!
Muller: Tommy. DO YOU BELIEVE!?!
Muller: Davey? Do YOU believe?
David Desharnais: YES!!
Muller: What about you, Whitey?
Ryan White: YEAH! I BELIEVE!!
Muller: You hear that, guys? These kids believe they can win this game. They're looking for you to show them how it's done. I believe in you too, so let's go win this!

Muller walks out to a chorus of clapping and cheering.

Martin: (listening from the coach's room, picks up the phone and dials) Yeah, Lou? He's available. You'd better not wait, though. Joe's already called from Dallas and Dale's interested too. He'll be gone soon.
Perry Pearn: (eavesdropping and grinning) Jacques? Do you believe we can do it? Do you BELIEVE?!
Martin: (glaring icily) Shut up, Perry.
Pearn: Right.


Anonymous said...

HOw the mighty have fallen. They have to block shots to win? Agree somewhat . I think the bigger things are to use speed, be disciplined and get to the net.

If they do those things the Bruins can't keep up!

Brian said...

Houston we have some real problems if the pre-game pep talk is taking place at the Bell centre 1 hour before puck drop.

J.T. said...

@Brian: Aak! Fixed. That's what I get for writing this stuff on five hours' sleep! :)

Anonymous said...

lolo that was funny....


ChipsDressingand Gravy said...

As usual this is classic J.T. .... love this line "But, coach, are the rules for getting benched the same in the playoffs? I don't want to miss the whole series." .... Keep up the great work your blog is by far my favourite in the entire Habs blogosphere ... Arpon Basu has to be second

RL said...

Wow... as always amazing!... by the way for those wondering what Spacek says check it out -

I used Google Translator

Woodvid said...

Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

Very clever JT!

Tharsan said...

LOL! Your blog is awesome