It was October 7. The Montreal Canadiens were going into the Air Canada Centre to start their 2015-16 season after three days off from their last pre-season game against the Ottawa Senators. They would win that game, 3-1, and went on to go on a nine game winning streak to start the season.
Now, on January 23, the Canadiens will be going back to the Air Canada Centre to face the Maple Leafs following a three-day break from their last game against the Boston Bruins. And, after general manager Marc Bergevin's comments and a month-and-a-half-long slump, there's no other way to look at this other than the first day of the rest of the season.
He's not firing the coach despite having the perfect opportunity to do so, and he's not trading 20 players. It's full steam ahead, for better or worse.
This three-day break comes at a perfect time for the Canadiens. They know what's ahead of them. They have time to relax. They have some heat taken from them from their GM. It's almost like a fresh start and it comes exactly the way their season started.
There's some poetic symmetry in that.
On the surface, I loved what Bergevin said at his press conference, even if it was mostly things we knew. In the movie Enemy of the State, Will Smith's character is told, twice, that he's either incredibly smart or incredibly stupid.
I feel the same way about Bergevin. Either certain things he said were calculated to get his team going or he's being completely delusional about everything.
Honestly, the things Bergevin said made me think he gets it - he even mentioned Corsi. He pinpointed exactly when the slump happened and tried to figure out why it happened. He knows the team, the media and the city needed to hear from him and he did that while also pressing the reset button.
He took the responsibility publicly, albeit without promising any sort of change that would help the team, and it will be really interesting to see how his club responds. And, like opening night, it will happen at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.