Saturday, April 30, 2011


The first Saturday after elimination is always the worst. There's no jarring morning alarm, so you float gently to awareness and the potential of the weekend stretching ahead. A sense of well-being settles over you, and you hazily think...ah...Saturday. Saturday night. Friends. Beer. Hockey. Habs. Who's on deck tonight? Then it hits.

It's game day, but there is no game. At least no game that matters. Sure, there's hockey. Playoff hockey, even, which is bound to be entertaining and competitive. It just doesn't matter. Who cares who wins, when your team's not in it?

That's when all the "almosts" and "what ifs" that, when totted up, resulted in the end of your team's season, start to play over and over in your head. Plekanec almost had that breakaway that would have tied Game Three, you think. What if Moen had any hands at all and could have tipped in one of those Gionta set-ups in Game Four, you wonder? Even though you know your team did all it could, and no group is perfect all the time, making mistakes inevitable, you can't help analyzing the errors and wondering.

This year is the worst for the wondering because of the way it all ended. One minute your team is a contender, battling all out in a next-goal-wins, why-not-us competition. The next minute, their season is over. Just like that. The entire seven-game build up doesn't prepare you for the suddenness of the end. Hockey, then no hockey. Bags packed for the next round, then clubs packed for the summer.

This was a really hard loss in every way. The poor-sport team that won, the damaged team that lost while trying its damnedest, the rivalry, the blown chances, the sudden death. It's only now, on a Saturday that should be a game day, that you really feel it. The first Saturday is always so sad. I miss our team already.


Peter said...

One of the reasons I enjoy your writing so much is the way you describe the emotional experience of being a Habs fan. At the risk of sounding entitled or childish - I think our emotional saturation is more complete. The bitterness of defeat - the elation of winning. Our lives are in part intertwined with the rise and fall of those beautiful letters "CH".

Not to be melodramatic - but I understand how you feel. This group of representatives of those letters have really connected with us. Perhaps in part with their style of play, adversity, personalities. I also think - as will all great heroes, they are defined by their villains. The Bruins of 2011 are the personification of what we dislike in a hockey style. Brutal, ugly goals, cheap shots, and little class between the occasional acknowledgement of the importance of the rivalry.

In the end, this year will focus our veterans, has taught our youth core valuable lessons - and (hopefully) sent some messages to our management to turn a good team with a great heart into a great team with great heart.

In the meantime, I admit I feel the same way about watching hockey. I almost feel guilty not enjoying it more. But lets face it. Our emotions were running high and hot, you cant expect to duplicate the excitement of what the Habs just gave us when watching other teams. Our love of the game is not in question. In the end, we are only human.

J.T. said...

@Peter: Thanks. That's what I was trying to say.

DanielleJam said...

Me too.

Anonymous said...

Hi JT,
I'm a huge fan of your site and thanks for your brilliant and hilarious in game as well as post game analysis.

I really hope you plan on posting during the summer from time to time.

On a side note, I was wondering if you know if there's anything in the rules that prohibit buying out a player and then re-signing him? I figure it's not allowed or teams would use it as a way to restructure contracts and I haven't seen anyone do it. Just wondering.

DanielleJam said...

Just baffling to me that these guys have not moved on. And equally baffling that they take aim at PK en lieu of their class clown, Ferrence or Marchand.