October 28, 2013 and the Canadiens are in New York city to play in the first game at the newly-renovated Madison Square Gardens. Louis Leblanc has rejoined the group after a good run in Hamilton; GM Marc Bergevin having made good on his earlier promise that if Louis shone with the Bulldogs, he'd get the call-up.
Peter Budaj gets the start against the Rangers and is at the morning practice. JJ Daigneault is skating around with the boys and makes some joke to Brian Gionta (that I don't catch) about some presumably iffy move Gio makes, chiding him that it would garner him a 10-game suspension. JJ then tells Gio that he did get a 10-game suspension once, for "slashing the ref". Seriously? These are things that I would just watch as a spectator, but since I watch these episodes carefully and listen to every word, I want to know more - I googled it and found out it's no joke, he got 10 games for slashing Don Koharski, which is simply all kinds of awesome.
Yvan Cournoyer and Rod Gilbert drop the puck at the first game at the "new" Madison Square Gardens - I'm reminding you that this was a big night in the Big Apple because the narrator does, several times - and the first period ends in a 0-0 tie with both Budaj and Henrik Lundqvist looking pretty good so far. Also looking not bad is Douglas Murray, according to the coaching staff's convo during intermission, with such back-handed complimentary observations as, "Not bad," and a "pleasant surprise." Which really means they expected him to suck. Like, when you hear, "You've lost a TON of weight!" really means, "You used to be really fat."
Second period, and Tomas Plekanec scores the first goal at the New Madison Square Garden, and in the third, the goal that went in off Alex Galchenyuk's skate makes the final score 2-0 ... and the Rangers are blanked in their first game at home. Both Murray and Leblanc are pleased after their first game of the season with the Canadiens.
October 29, back at home in Montreal, and the boys are at the Brossard dressing room. Our favourite ham, P.K. Subban, is messing around and sporting his good friend Carey Price's behemoth goalie pads, striking different poses. George Parros asks P.K. what he'd have on his goalie mask.
"I wouldn't have anything, it'd be all white, and then across the side and wrapped all around, it'd say, 'Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!'" P.K. responds, totally cracking up the goalies. Later, Carey informs P.K. he's not "wearing those anymore," referring to the pads. By the way, it's worth mentioning again even though I have previously, that I love Budaj's energy, and the guys in the room loooooove P.K.
We're introduced to Bell Centre security guard Mario Brosseau, who's been working with the Canadiens for more than four decades, and nearly half of the club's entire history; thusly being somewhat of a "Forum Ghost" in his own right. Geoff Molson tells us that Mario has been "next to the bench" for Geoff's entire life, and as a child when he would go to the Forum and his father was busy, Mario would take care of him and his siblings ... and 43 years later, Mario's still doing it. Mario tells Molson in conversation that he's "going to die" there - and he's seen nine Cups with the team. Molson's family has seen 14; Geoff himself has yet to win one, but his fingers are crossed. OURS TOO.
We see Le Gros Bill, Jean Beliveau, greeting Mario at the Bell Centre, promising him to see him again next time, not sure when that will be, but Mario says, "There's always a next time!" Mario had a scare after the 2009 ex-players game, when he was shaking so badly he went to the hospital, thinking he was having a heart episode. The doctor told him he was merely overcome with emotion; and Mario just laughs telling the story.
The next game for the Canadiens is against the Dallas Stars at the Bell Centre. Michael Bournival scores the first goal in the first period, and Rene Bourque doubles the lead with another goal in the second. The Stars then score to come within one, and we see Peter Budaj on the bench, hollering at Stars' Jamie Benn as he skates by, causing him to lose the puck, and Budaj totally taking credit for it. At second intermission, after the pep talk, the team files out of the dressing room to what we now know is Josh Gorges' typical "Here we go, here we go!" enthusiasm.
Despite a glove mishap in the third, which provides us with an insider perspective of the intricacies of equipment maintenance involving both sewing machines and blowtorches, the Habs go on to win their second game in a row, and after this is when the bad news starts, sorry for the spoiler.
On Halloween, October 31 and the last day before the month of Movember, the Canadiens' fathers have joined the team prior to their road trip to Colorado. Alexei Emelin is with the boys at practice, and later meets with Bergevin to sign his new, lucrative contract prior to even touching the game ice again since his April 2013 injury.
Any of the Canadiens already sporting facial hair sit down to get said hair removed for a fresh start ahead of November, the month that raises awareness and funding for prostate cancer through "Movember" - 30 magical, strange days when men grow their "mos" for donations and get a lot of incidental ribbing for their new looks. George Parros, whose moustache is second only, in my opinion, to Lanny McDonald's, has his removed at the same time as Brian Gionta. Parros' son and wife look on, as his son asks, "Who is that?" Shaving off Parros' moustache all of a sudden reminds us that he has a rest of a face. Did you know his eyes are hazel?
The Habs' mascot, Youppi, goes out trick-or-treating with the winner of a contest; Youppi and the tiny mini-Youppi go out and hit houses in Lasalle. Is this an English neighbourhood? No one is speaking French.
So, the team and dads are all in Minnesota that evening prior to their (bad news!) game agains the Wild, and at dinner, Marc Bergevin welcomes the dads, and says this trip means a lot, believing that the team is all there thanks to their fathers, which is a biological fact, and the dormant and frequently-silent feminist in me wonders when the moms get their trip, because, MOMS. Anyway. Not to take away from the awesome experience and great tribute to the dads.
The team goes around and introduces their fathers, and striking me most about this scene is holy CRAP does Prust look different without his beard, that we caught Markov smiling for a brief second in spite of himself, and that Michel Therrien totally jinxes everyone when he reminds them that he is 4-0, hasn't lost a game, on these father-son trips.
George Parros is finally ready to see ice after his concussion sustained in Game 1 of the season, skating with the boys in the morning. The dads attend the team meeting that day as well, with Michel Jinx Therrien telling the boys that the most important thing for their fathers is to go out there and win the game. Easy, I know he wouldn't exactly ever tell them to lose, but blaming things is my thing.
Rene Bourque's dad commits a major oops by stepping on the CH logo in the dressing room, playing down the faux pas later as having only stepped on the edge of the logo. Who conducts orientations at Father/Son week? Even I know you NEVER step on the logo. Not even the edge.
November 1 game against the Minnesota Wild. The Wild strike first, then the Habs even things up with a goal by Brendan Gallagher, his proud dad watching in the stands. Parros gets a lot of audio at this game, like joshing around with Francis Bouillon on the bench, giving his stick to a teammate during play, and providing general support.
The second period is where things start going south, with the Wild scoring another - and despite Gorges' "Let's go get it, let's go get it!" urgency at second intermission and P.K.'s goal in the third, the Habs go on to lose the game 4-3. It's worth mentioning here that George Parros took accountability with his teammates for the third Wild goal ... and also that a ref took the time to ask Parros about his moustache or lack thereof.
November 2 in Colorado to face Patrick Roy's Avalanche. I for one was delighted that these scenes didn't dedicate absolutely any time to Patrick Roy himself. In the morning, the Canadiens do a little of what I can only imagine is a bonding exercise by playing some basketball, and badly. Even the narrator is relieved that it's a good thing the Habs are better at hockey.
Later, on the practice ice, we see Max Pacioretty skating around and a coach on the phone (side note - the coach is wearing latex gloves. Um, those aren't warm) talking about how Patch is looking good. Therrien is in a back room, talking to his fourth line about their important role and how he's expecting them to play a good game, and asks them to make it special.
The Colorado game is scoreless in the first period, and in the second JJ tells Raphael Diaz something we can't quite hear but sounds like, "Stomping at the blue line, stomping at the blue line!" Evidently whatever it was was also confusing to Diaz, who is later heard asking Gorges, "Hey, what's stomping mean?"
I'll tell you what stomping means. The game eventually ends 4-1 for the Avalanche, is what it means. This episode also ends quietly with a loss, unfortunately for the dads, who obviously would have loved to celebrate at least one win, and we know there are still two more losses to endure in the next episode.
More from Eyes On The Prize:
- Prust nearing a return, Dumont and Pateryn back with the Bulldogs
- Habs vs Lightning: Scoring chances
- Game Recap: Carey Price steals a point in the Habs' worst game under Therrien
- P.K. Subban contract talks begin
- Top Six Minutes: Building Another Carey Price Shrine Edition
- P.K. Subban and Lars Eller face off in Jenga Tetris
- Catching the Torch: Nov. 4-Nov.10 Edition