Monday, 12 May 2014



The Devil and Carey Price


A childhood friend visiting our old hometown Montreal dispatched an important e-mail yesterday. He met Elmer Lach, the Montreal Canadiens star who’d centred Rocket Richard and Toe Blake, the legendary Punch Line. When Elmer Lach scored his overtime and Stanley Cup winning goal against Boston in 1953 the Rocket jumped for joy and promptly broke his teammate’s nose. Alas, the Nokomis (SK) Flash is now nearing his tenth decade and will not be on the ice tonight against the Bruins.


The Canadiens are down three games to two in this best of seven series. But we believe there was good mojo in yesterday’s meeting and magical handshake. Tonight’s game is not about living to die another day, it’s just another hurdle along the way of going all the way. There is of course the lurking spectre of heartbreak and the official end of winter if the Habs are eliminated.


Every fall I have this fantasy of encountering gorgeous blonde female twins less than half my age wearing revealing Nazi uniforms and… Whoa! Wrong blog! Every fall I have this fantasy that the Canadiens will go 82-0 through the regular season and then 16-0 through the playoffs. Not a total steamroll though, there would be some touch and go drama to keep things interesting, a comeback from a three goal deficit once in a while, an OT win here and there. This scenario might not suit some people, but that’s their problem. I’m at loose ends about tonight’s tilt. Do we stay in or go out to watch it? Which cap do I wear? Which jersey? Or nothing? Maybe I watch the game naked? Right blog, folks… Whatever I choose to do must necessarily affect the game’s outcome.


But maybe not. I’ve had these visions of Habs goaltender Carey Price on the rodeo circuit last summer. There is a dilapidated barn somewhere in northern British Columbia. It is an eerie place, it resembles Dracula’s mansion. Local children believe it is haunted; they are afraid to approach. Inside the barn is a remote, shadowed stall. It’s in a rear corner and it doesn’t matter how bright the lights are, doesn’t matter if you’ve a six battery flashlight. There is the smell of hay and feed. And something else. Sulphur? Inside that stall is a black stallion, ebony, jet, a cosmic darkness oscillating like the feathers in the wings of circling ravens. This horse is the beast in the Book of Revelations, the unspeakable creature who carries the riders of the apocalypse. Like the British royal family, it has a fine set of teeth. And like Mr Ed, it talks.


‘Do you want it all in 2013-14, Carey? Olympic men’s hockey gold and the Stanley Cup?’


‘Hey! You’re in fine fettle. I’m a horse whisperer! Want a carrot or an apple?’


‘Um, thanks, but no. Actually, I’ve had this hankering for every edible cereal grain available on the entire continent of Africa. I’ve some other business there too. Anyway, where was I? Right! Do you want it all in 2013-14, Carey? Olympic men’s hockey gold and the Stanley Cup?’


‘Yes, yes I do. I’d like that. I’d really love that.’


‘Can do, but it will cost you.’


‘Hey! I’m a pro athlete! Money’s no object! I make millions.’


‘Ah, well, money’s not really a currency I trade in.’


‘Bonus! Let’s do it!’

Please, God.

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