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The Boss, Da Bears, and the Bleu-Blanc-et-Rouge

My buddy Rick from back home and I were chatting via text the other day. Rick is a huge Chicago Bears fan and, given the week they just had, I felt it necessary to support him. The Bears lost their starting QB to the Bills. To make up for this, they tried to offer a king’s ransom for QB Russell Wilson from Seattle. That failed miserably so the Bears had to settle for the Red Rifle, Andy Dalton, who they picked up off the Dallas Cowboys’ scrap heap.

I asked Rick: “What the hell is going on with your Bears? They are a blue blood franchise and they still think success from (the 1985 Super Bowl) somehow matters now. The NFL is better when the Bears are solid.”

His reply: “Ya, I know. They are the Habs of the NFL! The people who keep talking about tradition and ‘storied franchises’ have to shut up. It's been forever since the Bears or Habs have been relevant!”

Habs fans (and Bears fans) are the epitome of Glory Days by The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. How long can Habs fans hang onto “We are the last Canadian team to win the Cup?” That was in the Glory Days of 1993. Last week was the 25th anniversary of the closing of the Montreal Forum. The Habs have become so irrelevant that they now have anniversaries for buildings they were once great in.

Ray Ferraro spoke to the fact that the Montreal Canadiens, as an organization, are famous for how well they design ceremonies for past players and events that honour the Glory Days. He, along with many other pundits, often say, “No team celebrates the past better than the Habs.” That is because no team has had more practice! All we talk about is the past with this team.

The worst tag your team can ever be labelled as is irrelevant. The team is 14-8-9 as of Monday March 22. Yes, I know that you get a point for an OTL. Do participation medals make for a champion? Remember the 1993 team that won 10 in-a-row in playoff OT? Well, this team lost 9-in-a-row in OT/SO up until Saturday night against Vancouver.

How’s that for Glory Days?

My buddy Butsy always brags that the Habs don’t hang banners for division/conference championships, only for Stanley Cups. The Habs haven’t been to a final in 28 years so he need not worry about counting banners.

There are a great deal of retired Habs’ numbers in the rafters of the Bell Centre (18 players/15 numbers) from the Glory Days. In the last 30 years, can you think of an iconic player that would one day get his number considered for eternal glory? Who in the last 30 years have they grown from the draft into a bonafide superstar? Carey Price might have been a superstar, but without a solid team in front of him, his talents are wasted. (The Bears’ best player, Khalil Mack, is on defence and is also having his world-class talents wasted. Yet another similarity as to how these teams are not well-constructed.)

Sooner or later, you are what your record says you are. The Habs are mediocre. They are fast and work hard but, then again, so do washing machines and chainsaws. The 7-2-1 start was a mirage; the 7-6-8 record since then is the truth.

Rick and I coached our minor football team to glory in the year 2000. We lost in the finals 56-6 due mostly to our defensive coordinator (Rick). It had nothing to do with our head coach/offensive coordinator (Waldo1947). Every time I see Rick we talk about the Glory Days of that championship run. It didn’t even matter to us that the league gave us jerseys with a spelling mistake that we wore all season; we were the All-Star Trohies. The further removed from that championship Rick and I get, the more glorious our franchise seems.

Kind of like the Habs (and Da Bears).

Waldo1947 | Sens Nation Hockey


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