Taking Stock After Montreal's Amazing Playoff Journey

*Warning: This blog is very personal and has instructions on how to live a better life and how to be my friend. If you are a phone addict or care more about social media than real human relationships, it will be a rough ride.


We live in a world that demands instant gratification. We take for granted that if we click an order online it takes 2 days to arrive on our doorstep. We no longer even want to leave the house to search for food so we have our meals delivered. If there is a lull in a conversation at a dinner party, half the people whip out their phones in search of something or someone more exciting than their hosts; the very people who took the time to cook them a meal and offer their house. Dating is even sped up now. People swipe left or right on dating apps to find someone, without ever having to go through the awkward personal anguish of approaching someone and asking them out.


My point is that we have conditioned ourselves to expect instant happiness without wanting to go through the painstaking, personal growth to achieve true meaning in life. What many of us fail to realize? It's the journey, not the destination, that matters. Writing this blog has taught me it's the writing, not the views, that drive me. I will no longer worry if my blog gets 50 or 300 views. If I give some people something to think about, that is good enough for me. I know why I write these blogs and I care not what others think my true motives are.


Let us take time to reflect on what the Habs truly did these past 8 weeks and apply it to our lives.


The 2021 Habs taught me to enjoy the ride because you never know when it can happen again. I cannot emphasize enough that it has been a GENERATION between Cup Final appearances.


When I look back on the 1993 Cup win, I do not remember the Habs hoisting the Stanley Cup. I do remember, however, being down 2-0 to the Nordiques and storming back to win in 6. I remember the Marty McSorely stick measurement in Game 2 of the Final against the Kings. I literally have goosebumps thinking about Bob Cole yelling “DESJARDINS!!!” as Eric Desjardins scored 5-hole on Kelly Hrudey for his OT hat-trick winner. I mostly remember the 10 OT wins in-a-row, hugging my dad and jumping around waking up my mom, brother, and sister for 2 months. The journey to the 1993 Cup is tattooed on my brain. You cannot put a price on the family time spent, the father-son bonding, or the memories of that Cup win.


It has been 10 hours since the Habs lost Game 5 and I find myself not the least bit angry or frustrated or crushed. In fact, I am absolutely thrilled about the results for very selfish reasons, dating back to 1993. As I get personal here, ask yourself, “Am I enjoying the true moments of life these days, regardless of the Habs and hockey in general?”


My father and I have a playoff tradition where we call each other after Habs playoff wins. Being 750km apart, it is tough to get together for the games. Furthermore, for the last 10 years, we have not had the opportunity to have many of such phone calls — given the limited success of the Habs in the playoffs. The excitement in my 74 year old father's voice after beating the hated Leafs will not soon be forgotten. Add to that that my son (8), daughter (10), and gorgeous wife (hot) were on the couch with me as we Facetimed my dad was the icing on the cake. It was a true Habs family moment.


Fast forward a week later and there were me and my dad talking after the Habs swept the Jets in dominating fashion. I had to research the winning goal (Toffoli in OT) as the phone call mattered more than the result.


I had the opportunity to go back home to Sault Ste. Marie with my children for the Vegas series. Just like old times, I got to watch the Habs in the playoffs in my hometown, this time with 3 generations. My father and my children were there; he hadn’t seen them for 16 months! (My mom was watching Murder She Wrote reruns upstairs. Jessica Fletcher solved yet another homicide in Cabot Cove - the murder capital of the Northeast, as far as I can tell.) When Fleury misplayed the puck and Anderson scored to tie it and then win it in OT, my dad and I were hugging and yelling just like 28 years ago. I was a 13 year old boy just loving his team and celebrating with his dad.


I was back in Ottawa for game 6 vs Vegas watching the game with my gorgeous wife. There we were, hugging and jumping around when Artturi Lehkonen buried the winner to send the Habs to the Final.


Then I went back to the Soo to pick-up my children. We watched Game 1 & 2 with my father (their Nono), and I got to watch Game 3 with my brother and Uncle Buzz (huge Habs fan). Last night my daughter stayed up and my son, trying as he could, fell asleep after 2 periods and a barrel of popcorn.


These are the things I am going to remember. This run has turned me from “Disgruntled Habs Fan” to “Appreciative Habs Fan”.


The Habs, for me, were a distraction from Covid. They helped me tighten family bonds and appreciate moments rather than results.


The Habs also taught me that a collective belief in each other is far more important than individual talent. You do not need to win the Stanley Cup to be brothers forever. You certainly do not need the approval of strangers to validate your self-worth. If your family and true friends believe in you, why give a second thought to strangers, the media, or twitter followers?


Seriously, who are you trying to impress?


The Habs taught us all that, “No one cares. Just work harder.” Injuries, COVID, no head coach, lack of talent, tough schedule etc. mean nothing to a resilient team.


I came across a quote the other day that said, “You shouldn’t have to get sick to get better.” Did we need COVID to realize that personal relationships matter more than technology? Why did we need a WW pandemic to realize that hugs are far greater than “likes” on social media?


What moments are you going to pay more attention to now?


I know I am going to be even more adamant than ever that there are no phones in my backyard for pool parties and never at my dinner table. I do not care about your texts or who is not at my house. I care more about you and the fact we are together, regardless of who you are. Get all of your screen time done before coming to my house so we can create moments together. When I come to your house, I promise to leave my phone at home or at the very least, only answer phone calls from the babysitter if my children are not there.


Your Facebook “friends” and Instagram followers aren’t going to be there to comfort you in a time of need or celebrate with you when you are on top of the world. Your friends on your phone won’t cook you smoked ribs, pour you brandy on the rocks, hug you when you arrive, hug you tighter when you leave, and laugh louder than anyone you ever met.


But I will - me and my Habs hat!


Waldo1947 | The Appreciative Habs Fan