Thursday, 24 December 2015


Christmas Could Not Come Soon Enough

For whatever well-meaning reason the National Hockey League traditionally saddles the Montreal Canadiens with an epic road trip in December, anchored by a brief respite, the Christmas break. As is the case with all ‘best intentions’ anywhere, anytime, it does not go well. The Canadiens’ play of late has been more wretched than most seasonal songs and carols. History repeats.

In their past 10 games the club has sagged worse than an erectile dysfunctional penis. They have won one game and lost nine. Their consecutive games losing streak is five. Two members of the team’s elite corps of four players are injured. The other two, P.K. and the captain, are notable for their indifferent, distracted play. The Canadiens cannot buy a goal on approved credit, no money down.

And somehow, perhaps ‘tis the season, they remain clinging to first place in the Atlantic Division by virtue of a single point. Montreal has 43; Boston and Florida each have 42. New Jersey, currently seeded outside of the Eastern Conference’s evolving playoffs picture has 39 points. The Canadiens don’t have much room to wiggle within the confines of a regulation rink.

On Boxing Day Montreal will face Washington, the second best team in the league. Next are games in Tampa Bay and Miami, and the Habs generally suck down south playing in front of homesick snowbirds. After the Sunshine State tour comes the outdoor marketing extravaganza with the Bruins on New Year’s Day, a genuine four-pointer in pick-up shinny conditions.

The statistical potential for terrible trouble, disaster, a falling sky, the end of the world or dropping out of playoff contention looms and lurks. Some people who don’t know any better contend there are more important things in life to worry over and fret about: ‘It’s just pro sports and anyway, it doesn’t matter in the great scheme of things, especially at this time of year.’ Where do they get off? Because, see, at this point in the season, what the Canadiens do after the holiday break really, really matters.

Merry Christmas. If you’re not a Habs fan it should be a good one.

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