January 13 in Montreal, and the Canadiens are going to have a little social media lesson given by sports media expert Kevin Sullivan, who tells the camera that in 2014, every time you leave the house you should have no expectation of privacy ... particularly, I would add, if you're a Hab living in Montreal. He makes examples of George Parros' Twitter brand, which is super clever, on account of he's a smarty pants, and that time that Brandon Prust, during the lockout, brilliantly brought together fans for an outdoor game of shinny. I remember waking up to that tweet one Saturday, thinking whyyyyyy don't I live in Montreal! It was particularly awesome because it made those fans forget that they were pissed off at NHLers for a brief moment.
We also go behind the media scenes to meet Marc Denis of RDS who covers all the games, and find out that his insider is Peter Budaj, who tells it like it is, knowing exactly what Denis wants to know.
Play by play man Pierre Houde (who works on a Macbook), Denis and the other RDSers receive their orders from Martin Briere, senior producer of the RDS broadcast, prior to the game against the New Jersey Devils.
In the video room, head coach Michel Therrien is giving a soft spoken pep talk to the boys, telling them he trusts them to keep up the good work that they executed against the Chicago Blackhawks, followed by an awkward exchange where assistant coach Clement Jodoin kind of chases Brendan Gallagher as he leaves the room to give him some fatherly encouragement but it looks like Gally can't get out of there fast enough.
Ahead of the Devils game, the 24CH cameras catch up to Martin Brodeur, previous goalie for Team Canada in the Olympics, who classily conveys his best wishes to Canada's new hope, Carey Price.
RDS, the seeming focus of this episode, is prepping for the Devils game. The puck drops and we see the game from the perspective of Denis down at the ice and Houde announcing the game. Max Pacioretty opens the scoring, and the Devils tie it to end the first period. In the dressing room, Daniel Briere and Gallagher engage in a little game plan (because they're short) and Therrien gives the team a speech where he says "neutral zone" three times in the same sentence with no punctuation. Denis, today's protagonist, rushes back out to the ice and discusses lines with his BFF Budaj.
The Canadiens suck, and the Devils score twice in the third to make the score 3-1. Price does, however, make some gorgeous saves. And Gallagher scores to close the gap, but it gets called off on account of the puck going off his skate without a kicking motion, bringing the grand total of Habs goals called off since the start of the new year to SIX. Even the coaches, discussing it in French during the intermission, rewatch the play in astonishment. You know how you say kicking motion in French? "Kicking motion". In the dressing room, the boys just call it bullish*t. Therrien comes in and tells him that they're facing adversity, and there's nothing they can do except react. This time the boys aren't led out to Josh Gorges' "Here we go boys here we go!" line, rather, Prusty quips, "Shoot it, don't kick it. Use that stick, Gally, use that stick!" Which is probably meant to be funny but I don't think Gally particularly thinks it is.
In the third, the boys keep testing Brodeur but there is nothing doing. We continue to watch the game from Denis' perspective. Nothing else happens in the third, at least nothing by the Habs, but the Devils do put the puck into an empty net to end the game at 4-1.
Marc Denis goes running through the halls to get an interview with the gracious Martin Brodeur. This game had been touted as possibly Brodeur's last in Montreal before retirement. Brodeur talks about how it is always special. And I have never seen Denis smile so wide.
January 15, and the boys are palling around, playing some indoor soccer. I think I read somewhere once that Peter Budaj could have been some fancy soccer player once but then went with hockey. Budaj is of course there, as are Lars Eller, Douglas Murray and Andrei Markov, in net. Brandon Prust engages in kicking a football up to "le petit Gallagher" up in the stands.
At their January 16 practice ahead of their next matchup against Ottawa in ... Kanata, Graham Rynbend, head athletic therapist, tells the cameras that David Desharnais has been plagued by a virus and though he got the green light to travel to Ott ... Kanata, they're sending him separately from the team so no one gets his germs.
Keeping in mind that we now hate the Senators since last April, Therrien tells the team before the game that all he wants to see is their best hockey, no pressure. Every play is a big play, play hard but also disciplined.
Puck drop. Pleks SCORES for once on a shorthanded breakaway, yay! Then twists his ankle weirdly and goes down, boo. He goes to the dressing room to get looked at and gets back on the ice, yay! Then Max Pacioretty scores on a power play to double the lead, then virulent line mate Desharnais scores too, 3-0! Unfortunately in the final three minutes of the period, Ottawa scores two quick ones and Montreal goes to first intermission with a measly one-goal lead.
In the dressing room, we see Josh Gorges as usual giving his "what we gotta do" speech and I don't really think anyone is actually ever listening to him. Therrien gets more specific, denoting the need for offensive zone time.
In the third, "c'est le festival Carey Price" who performs, simply, magnificently. Habs fans in the crowd do the "we're not worthy". However, Price is not a one-man team, and left alone, has two more slip past him, to give Ottawa the lead.
At second intermission, Carey is understandably though uncharacteristically demonstrative with his frustration, throwing his stick as he walks down the hall to the dressing room. We are only provided with a fixed wide-angle view of the room for intermission and don't see any pep talks or speeches, just the general "we gotta pick it up" discussion.
Plekanec saves the game by tying it in the third, and in overtime, thank Price, P.K. scores the winner. Back in the dressing room there is jubilation, and P.K. marches in yelling, "Okay guys, let's get the f**k out of here!" He then tells the camera, "You've heard it before, but the Price is right, baby!" Carey's teammates rightly go to congratulate him and thank him for yet again saving their bacon.
Next game is another tense matchup, against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto, January 18. The 24CH cameras visit Kilgour's Bar, "the" home for the Habs in enemy territory. There is a sea of Habs jerseys and we pan around the bar to see miniature banners of retired Canadiens numbers.
At the team meeting ahead of the game, in the dressing room, Carey Price, bouncing a tennis ball and wearing shorts and a hoodie, is asked to leave the room, which he does awkwardly. Therrien then addresses the team telling them they owe a debt of gratitude to Pricer, telling them to be good teammates - that good teammates protect their goalie. He gives them hell for expecting Price to bail them out for all their mistakes. "We're gonna bounce back, we're gonna play a hell of a game, for him. He deserves it. He f**king deserves it big time."
The Leafs, however, have other ideas and open the scoring. Gallagher ties it up to end the period, and the mood in the dressing room at intermission is upbeat. In the second, Prusty engages in a little mano-a-mano with Troy Bodie, and each is charged with roughing. Price makes another beautiful save. The Leafs score two to make it 3-1, and before the end of the period the Habs come closer thanks to Brian Gionta, and the period ends 3-2, bad guys.
In the third, Desharnais ties the game, but the Leafs go ahead again, then score on the empty net. Final score, 5-3. Against the Leafs. In Toronto. I hate everything. After the game, the team silently undresses and silently boards the plane home.