Playing with house money

By making it to Game 7 against a top-seeded team, your Montreal Canadiens have salvaged their season.

And before we get hung up on the chances of eliminating the mighty Washington Capitals in their building, let’s take a moment to reflect on some of the misfortune that has befallen this team:

• The Canadiens lost their best player less than 60 minutes into the season opener.

• Subsequent injuries cost them the services of Brian Gionta, Hal Gill, Andrei Kostitsyn and Mike Cammalleri.

• For the first time in their 100-year history, the Canadiens played a captain-less season.

• The team never had a clearly-defined number one goaltender.

• In adition to eight new players in the lineup on opening night in Toronto, the Canadiens had a new coach teaching a new system to Bob Gainey’s chemistry-experiment team.

• Also in the lineup as the season began: Max Pacioretty, Guillaume Latendresse, Matt D’Agostini and – last and easily least – Georges Laraque.

• George Gillett sold the club.

• Gainey resigned.

Through all that turmoil, the Canadiens never imploded.

Nor did they quit. You could count on one hand the number of blowout losses.

On paper, this team was never a serious contender for a 25th Stanley Cup.

But on the ice, the guys wearing blue-blanc-rouge this season gave everything they had to give.

No superstars.

But no floaters.

A year ago in Boston, Milan Lucic and his teammates were laughing at the dispirited, rag-tag group of losers the Bruins were punching out in four games.

Think any of the Washington Capitals are laughing?

I hope the thunderous ovation that greeted the selection of Jaro Halak as Game 6′s first star wasn’t the last we’ll hear in the Bell Centre this spring.

But no matter what happens in Game 7, your Montreal Canadiens have done the franchise and the city proud.

 

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