In 1993, the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. It was the 24th in the franchise's history. But since then playoff spots, let alone division titles, have been harder to come by. But tonight, after two full years, the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge are back where they belong. The journey begins -- hopefully it will be a long one -- tonight versus a very strong Ottawa Senators squad. But you've already read all there is to read. Now it's time for your other senses to truly get you excited for what should be a great series.
It all began last night, when CBC's musical director Tim Thompson (you can follow him @b0undless) put together another special Hockey Night in Canada opening playoff montage, sure to give you chills. This one features The Who's famous Baba O'Reilly.
So what is it about this edition of the Montreal Canadiens that we should embrace? Well, it's no longer a team of undersized, hardworking but insufficiently talented individuals that rely on special teams and goaltending. Sure, this group is hardworking, and comes into the series in the minds of some as an underdog, but they are actually a good even-strength team, and that is something to cherish. There are also some great leaders in the group. Brian Gionta, Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec, Travis Moen, Jeff Halpern, Francis Bouillon. These are all veteran leaders who will have a large role in mentoring some of the playoff virgins. Oh, and then there's Josh Gorges. If this Inside Hockey feature on him doesn't bring you to tears, then nothing will.
The Montreal Canadiens represent so much of what is right with hockey, and what is right with this city. Coming from a 15th place finish, instituting smart management and coaching, and turning it around. This team deserves its props. Here's a good Canadiens pump-up video for the playoffs featuring a song we all know well, and love. (via BrendenKnezZ)
Of course, there is a local rap legend who has produced Canadiens songs of his own. Here is the most recent, from 2011.
For those who don't know Janne Makkonen, he is the exceptional video editor who brought us "Together We Can", a stunning call for action during the NHL lockout. His greatest video of all time, however, may be this gem about the game we love, called "Our Way of Life".
And then, of course, there's the prize at the end. Lord Stanley's Cup. There are no words.
I hope everybody got some sleep last night. And before puck drop, don't forget to make a wish.
This should be fun. See you on the other side.