At the start of the season, Canadiens' general manager Marc Bergevin, as if he doesn't wear enough hats, did some redecorating at the Bell Centre. He had all the individual player posters in the building replaced with group pictures; effectively taking away the importance of the number on the back the jersey and putting the focus on the crest on the front. This is a pretty awesome change and once again I applaud the little details that the franchise is paying attention to; details one wouldn't think really mattered but once they've changed, you realize the emphasis they have. I'm sorry for that really awkward sentence. The point is: the guy is cool. Team first. These aren't just a couple of words. It's a mentality, and it starts at the top.
The team gets together for the official 2014-2015 photo. The photographer tells everyone to smile, "including Andrei." This still doesn't elicit a real grin from Markov (dude, what's it gonna take), but P.K., sitting right next to him, obviously finds it funny, which gets the photographer to also say, "P.K., just concentrate here."
At practice, we see Plekanec riding Galchenyuk for having too much confidence for his age. "Did you see that? F***ing awful pass by you, but I still got a shot on the net." It sounds mean but it's just funny. Whatever it takes for Chucky to keep being f***ing awesome, it's all good.
It's the Red Wings game, at home. Another new thing 24CH is doing this season is having a camera behind the bench, and we get a birds eye-view of the players shouting at the players on the ice. I always wonder how anyone can hear anything, particularly in a building as loud as the Bell, but at least we can hear it over the mic. The Habs try everything to get one past Howard, but it's nothing doing. Detroit doesn't get one past Price either - on to the second period. Worth mentioning here that Pleks continues to mentor Galchenyuk at intermission, this time more thoughtfully. It's clear that this kid is not actually over-confident in that he takes advice and doesn't feel he knows everything.
Detroit opens the scoring, with the lone goal in the second. At intermission it's once again Manny Malhotra with the pep talk in the room. This guy has taken a leadership role since day one. Can we keep him, Marc? Someone off camera, might be Manny, gives a "here we go Pricer, here we go," and this gets a twinkly smile from Carey. He's so twinkly when he smiles. Remember when I met him? Ah.
More frustration in the third, and guess who? Chucky gets the wraparound, tying goal. In overtime, Desharnais gets the winner. The celebration on the ice is heartwarming, and as an ecstatic Subban walks off the ice, a grinning Michel Therrien slaps him on the back. The player of the game cape goes to DD of the infectious smile.
The Club 1909 campaign put together membership cards that include pieces of game-worn jerseys, which is such a cool idea - I want one. It's not just all about the Jay Baruchel videos. Incidentally they show Carey Price showing up for his shoot with Baruchel, wearing his hunting jacket. Can't take the Anahim Lake out of the boy.
Every year the Habs host a dinner at the Bell Centre in appreciation of their biggest sponsors. Every table has a player. Whose would you want to be at? I can't decide. Subban and Price are the obvious ones. Maybe Weaver. Yeah, Weaver. Or Pleks. Whoever doesn't take himself too seriously. Here's me pretending I could have my pick of Habs' players to have dinner with.
We see "Après la pause" that we're going to have Alain Vigneault and I'm still not quite done hating him since the playoffs. The Habs are hosting minor league coaches again this season. Vigneault is on hand with his pal Therrien, and he cracks a joke about not being able to be at a Habs' practice before, ha ha ha I don't want to laugh. Then when one of the audience asks what tricks are used to deal with a slump, Therrien goes to hand the mic to Vigneault and Vigneault insists Therrien take this one, because he wants to learn, ha ha whatever. But it's a funny moment and obviously everyone enjoys it. I mutter, "Who's gonna be laughing tonight, laughing boy?" which is still way nicer than what I was saying to him in May. (Hello, my name is Veronica, and I hold grudges.)
The children and their famillies from Leucan are getting their special night at the Bell Centre. A couple of lucky ducks get to ride the Zamboni. Then it's on to the Rangers' game, the first meeting since they eliminated the Habs in the Eastern Conference Final.
Subban takes a stick to the neck and goes directly to the bench in that "Oh my god what happened to P.K." moment we all had. The ref subsequently gives him hell for delaying the game, which tells us that P.K. got away with something. What a strange, wonderful new world we live in. The game is tied 1-1 going into the second period, after we're treated to the hilariously simple short-handed goal thanks to Patch and Pleks. In the second, Prust fights, and Eller gets the go-ahead goal in the second as Price virtually stands on his head for 20 minutes. He even needs his skates sharpened at intermission. In the third, Pacioretty finishes the de-throning of "The King" and victory is sweet, mesdames et messieurs. Prust gets the game cape for winning his fight. Also, I've finally picked up on that the previous cape recipient is the one who bestows the honour on the next one. Parenteau to Gervais, Gervais to Desharnais, Desharnais to Prust.
7-1-0! Now let's hit the western road trip, because those always go so well!