When Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin acquired forward Dale Weise from the Vancouver Canucks in February in exchange for defenceman Raphael Diaz, the happiest man in Canada might have been Weise’s father.
Miles Weise, a warehouse manager in Winnipeg, is a lifelong Habs fan and dreamed that one day his boy might play for the Canadiens. When he spoke to his son after the trade in February, Miles told him: “My little boy is going to play on the Montreal Canadiens.”
“And he said ‘dreams do come true, eh Dad?’ ” Miles told The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell after the trade. “I’m just on top of the world.”
Miles – and Canadiens fans – were on top of the world again Wednesday night when Weise scored in overtime as the Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. Game 2 is Friday night in Tampa (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
GM Bergevin was caught by television cameras doing a dance in a loge after Weise’s goal. The dance is now being called The Marcarena or the Bergevin Boogie by many fans on Twitter.
“It was a good feeling,” Weise told reporters in Tampa after scoring the OT winner. “I can’t remember the last time I scored an overtime goal, but this has to be the biggest goal of my career.”
The Canadiens practised Thursday afternoon in Tampa with all the players on the ice, including Travis Moen, who is still recovering from a concussion and won’t be available for Game 2. The Canadiens spent time working on a power play that went 0-for-2 in Game 1 and is now 0-for-25 in the last nine games.
The Lightning practised before the Canadiens and injured goalie Ben Bishop was on the ice but didn’t take any shots. Coach Jon Cooper said he didn’t expect to see his No. 1 goalie, who has an elbow injury, back in net “any time soon.”
“This morning he skated in full pads and stuff like that,” Cooper told reporters in Tampa. “I don’t think we’re going to see Bishop any time soon, but I don’t know what soon is. This series would have to extend a little bit for him to come in.”
Weise, who started skating when he was 3, grew up as a Habs fan in Winnipeg and his father bought him a Canadiens scoreboard light for his bedroom.
“I bought it for him when he was a little kid and it’s still in his room,” his father told Branswell in February.
Miles Weise’s favourite Habs player was Guy Lafleur and “I almost had tears in my eyes,” he told Branswell after seeing his son in a Canadiens jersey for the first time after the trade.
If there were tears Wednesday night, they were tears of joy.
The Gazette’s Pat Hickey reports that Hall of Famer Phil Esposito, who now works as a radio analyst for Lightning games, drew Weise’s name for the media winning-goal pool before Game 1.
“Who the hell is Weise?” Esposito said as he threw away the piece of paper with Weise’s name on it.
The prize was $180.
(Photo by Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)