This one opens with the boys arriving in sunny Tampa, pretty proud and patting themselves on the back a bit for their latest comeback, character win against the Flyers. But you can't always just believe you're going to come back, that'll bite you in the behind soon enough (foreshadowing).
We all know what happened next: Steven Stamkos got a hattrick, Carey Price got pulled, Dustin Tokarski let in three more, and the Canadiens were positively demolished 7-1 by a team that, after being swept by the Habs in the first round of last year's playoffs, had something to prove to their fans, more than had revenge on the brain, in my opinion. And prove they did. Afterwards, a stoic Brendan Gallagher talks about the letdown and that as a group they have to make sure it doesn't happen again (foreshadowing).
We're shown the behind-the-scenes action prepping the pre-game ceremony for the Habs' home opener. The Bell Centre, of course, does ceremony better than anybody else, and they've assembled a company that has Celine Dion and Cirque du Soleil on its C.V. Before the show, a fluent-in-French Ken Dryden talks about the honour of participating in the ceremony and is the only legend on hand to pass the torch, to Carey Price, fittingly (Price, Brandon Prust, Gallagher and P.A. Parenteau had been discussing how they were going to pass it to each other in the tunnel).
The game against the Boston Bruins was one I had been worried about - talk about a team with something to prove. Well, kind of the only thing they proved was there is no cure for a**hole. All eyes were going to be on Milan Lucic this game after his bonehead behaviour in the handshake line last May. And all eyes were on him when he got laid out by his nemesis, Alexei Emelin. And all eyes were on him again when he did the "hand gesture" to the Bell Centre crowd after taking a penalty with minutes remaining in the game. It was classic Lucic, classic Bruins and a highly entertaining game for the fans. Another win for the boys, Tampa now just a bad dream.
After the game, we're treated to what may be a new tradition because it's the first we've seen of it: the players' choice for "player of the game." It's Parenteau, who had two goals in the 6-4 win. Andrei Markov presents him with a bleu et rouge fighter's cape, and as someone who last season found the Rangers' fedora tradition to be très fromage, I don't want to like this, but of course I do. I know, my bias is showing. What I like best is the smile on Parenteau's face. This is a guy who is really happy to be on this team.
Head equipment manager Pierre Gervais (who also traveled to Sochi with Team Canada) gets recognized by the team on working his 2500th game. There's a cool vibe amongst these guys and clearly the staff is a part of the brotherhood there, indeed Michel Therrien says that there is no one in the hockey world who will say a bad word about Gervais. It's obvious he's well loved judging from additional comments by Tomas Plekanec, Patrick Roy, Rejean Houle and Rene Bourque. The respect is further demonstrated before the Avalanche game with a centre ice presentation to Gervais by Marc Bergevin and Geoff Molson of a home jersey with the number 2500 on it. Classy move.
Habs go down early again in the Avalanche game, and at first intermission, once more, Manny Malhotra is a voice in the room. P.K. Subban ties it in the second with his rocket on the powerplay, and Alex Galchenyuk absolutely picks wunderkind Nathan MacKinnon's pocket right out of the penalty box and scores a gorgeous goal. P.K. takes a crappy penalty and also scores right out of the penalty box, in what nhl.com touted as an "early candidate for goal of the year." My god. That goal. Only thing I would have loved included this episode that wasn't, is Patrick Roy's tomato-red face after those last two goals.
Fifth victory in six games, and who's the player of the game and recipient of the cape? Pierre Gervais again, the honour of his 2500th game not eclipsed by Subban's two-goal night. Again; classy. Thoughtful.
New elements were introduced in this episode, from the cameras high in the stands to the interviews with spectators including Denis Coderre who actually said he was "sure" David Desharnais would score in the Bruins game (he didn't, but he did pick up two assists). This installment was cool.
Anybody who's read anything I've ever written here knows I am effusive in my praise of this organization, management and coach. But I have a quibble. For a team that has made so much progress in turning the franchise around, and has introduced an awesome new campaign to unite Habs' fans worldwide with Club 1909, I ask you: why isn't 24CH being made available in English this year? Last season, the English version would come out about three or four days after the French, and salivating English fans were appeased. This year, according to the Habs' website, the English version is only going to air in Montreal. Say what? I understand French so I don't really care, but there is such a lost opportunity here. Club 1909 acknowledges that Habs fans are around the world let alone the country. Here in B.C., so many young fans were created watching the Habs' magical run in the 2013-2014 playoffs, fans who already were enamoured with Carey Price after Sochi. So why this decision to not have the show translated to English for the entire country? Especially since the majority of the interviews on the show are in French? I don't get it. This is a hiccup in the decision making process in my opinion, that has even gone unexplained, unless I've missed something. This season, they've even skipped a week of #24CH Flash. It's just weird.