Category Archives: Canadiens

Posted in Business, Canadiens, Media, Montreal

Running over penguins is fun

A fellow editor noticed this ad that appears in Tuesday’s Gazette. It’s an ad for Ford that seems pretty generic until you think about it for a second.

Ford ad in The Gazette, May 4, 2010, Page A12

The text says “Passion to go the distance”. Penguins in the windshield, and in the rear-view mirror is the Capitol Building in Washington. At the bottom, the logo of the Canadiens.

Ford hasn’t had the best of luck trying to be funny in advertising in Canada, but this one was pretty cute. Not the most subtle ad ever created, but still relatively clever.

And hey, full-page colour ads pay my salary, so I’m not going to complain.

There was something I read recently (and, of course, can’t find now that I want to link to it) about car companies wanting to stop having Canadian firms develop their own marketing campaigns. Instead, they could just use U.S. ads in Canada. This is a pretty good reason not only to keep Canadian-specific ad campaigns, but locally-focused ones.

Posted in Canadiens, Video

It’s gonna feel like 93 forever

Remember how I said the number of Habs songs was disappointing this season, particularly since the massive roster overhaul over the past year has made those old ones obsolete?

Well Annakin Slayd, who produced music videos in both languages over the past two years, has updated its anglo one for 2010, replacing references to Kovalev and Komisarek with Cammalleri.

UPDATE (July 25): The inevitable parody version went up a few weeks later:

Posted in Canadiens, Media, Montreal

The experts have spoken

Capitals in four

Capitals in five

Capitals in six

Capitals in seven

  • Nobody.

Canadiens in seven

Canadiens in six

Canadiens in five

  • Nobody.

Canadiens in four

  • You know who you are

Totals

  • Canadiens win: 5
  • Capitals win: 38
  • Series goes seven games: 1
Posted in Canadiens, Montreal, Video

Hail Mary, full of ice

Concordia’s journalism program, which has been making a habit of posting its class TV productions onto YouTube, has produced this 45-minute documentary about Canadiens fandom – one of the few things we can claim to have an advantage over all the other teams in the NHL.

It features interviews with everyone from Brian Gionta and Maxim Lapierre to Mike Boone, Pierre Houde, Jacques Demers, Réjean Houle and J.T. Utah.

Spoiler alert: The Canadiens aren’t a religion, but they do have a lot of enthusiastic fans.

Posted in Canadiens, Montreal, Video

Your 2010 Habs playlist

I don’t know if it’s because of the recession, because nobody expected the Canadiens to even make the playoffs – much less be able to compete against the Washington Capitals – or just because the Justiciers Masqués aren’t on the air anymore, but the number of Habs songs and Habs-related song parodies produced in preparation for this year’s playoffs is pretty sad compared to previous years.

And if there was ever a year we needed more songs, it’s this one. We can’t just take the songs from last year and replay them – it’s hard to get excited about Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev, Mike Komisarek and Christopher Higgins since they all play for other teams now.

Still, a few amateur songsters have stepped up to the challenge:

Les Canadiens

by Clermont (featuring Kra-Z-Noize)

Montreal Canadiens 2010 playoff song

by Vince Colletti/Tanya Kassabian

Go Canadiens!

by Alex G.

Make it 25!

by Alex G. (also available in French)

Go Habs Go! (Séries 2010)

by Martin Scully

CH en série

(also translated – badly – into English)

Habs Romance

by Patrick Charles, Cat Spencer and Mark Bergman for CJFM. Sung by Lissa Vescio

UPDATE:

Feels like ’93 (2010 version)

by Annakin Slayd

Habs Fight (woo-hoo!)

by CHOM FM

The Cheese of Philadelphia

by Daniel Iorio

Je déteste les Flyers

by Justiciers Masqués

Bye Bye Flyers

by Virgin Radio

Gold’Halak

by Porn Flakes

Stand By Your Habs

by Christopher Pennington and Felicity Hamer

Continue reading

Posted in Canadiens

The anti-clinching scenario (UPDATED)

UPDATE (April 9): With Friday’s Rangers win over the Flyers, the Canadiens’ chances have dropped from over 99 per cent to 97.7 per cent (note to CHOM: Use that in a promo somewhere). Things have happened to make it more likely that the Canadiens will fall out of the playoffs, but it’s still highly unlikely.

All of these things need to happen for the Canadiens to fall to ninth place and miss the playoffs:

  • The Canadiens must lose in regulation Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre
  • The New York Rangers must win in overtime or a shootout against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, giving them two points and the Flyers one
  • The Boston Bruins must get at least a point in their remaining two games

That middle part is the most unlikely. A regulation win by the Rangers would drop the Flyers out of the playoffs. A regulation win by the Flyers and the Rangers don’t make it. An OT/SO win by Philly and the Rangers lose the tiebreaker with the Canadiens. A point for the Flyers makes them tied with Montreal, and they win the tiebreaker with more wins.

The Bruins are in sixth only because they have a game in hand. They still need a point to break the tie after 82 games. Because they lose the tiebreaker against all three other teams, if the Rangers and Flyers both get points, the Bruins need at least a point to make it to the playoffs.

If Montreal gets a point against the Leafs, the Rangers won’t be able to catch the Habs (they could match in points and wins, but the third tiebreaker is the record between the clubs, and the Canadiens won 3 of 4). A win against the Leafs, and the Habs finish no worse than 7th place.

Complicated enough for you? All eight teams have already clinched in the West.

Continue reading

Posted in Canadiens, Media

Red Fisher’s almost-100 years

Red Fisher

Red Fisher

Lost in all the hoopla of the Habs centennial is a really long piece by Red Fisher (it was spread out over three pages) about his career covering the Canadiens and all the great moments of the second half of its first century.

I point to it particularly because Fisher goes into a bit of detail in how he got started in the news business, before he even started covering the Canadiens:

A man named Hugh E. McCormick helped make the dream a reality.

I was a first-year student at Sir George Williams College, The Georgian’s one-person sports staff, when McCormick, the owner of the suburban N.D.G. Monitor, Westmount Examiner and Verdun Guardian, sent out a call for college students to report on the sports activities at their schools. A phone call to his office told him I was interested.

“You’ve got the job,” McCormick said immediately.

“How much do you pay?” he was asked.

“Nothing,” he said.

“I’ll take it,” I replied.

It goes from there to an adorable story about him writing a story about a junior football game for the Standard and having it tossed in the garbage by an editor.

But what gets me is that Fisher worked for free, and later took a significant pay cut, just so he could follow his dream of reporting on the Canadiens early in his career.

Half a century later, not much has changed. Plenty of young journalists would make a similar choice now, willing to sign their souls to the devil to get a press pass into the Canadiens dressing room.

More insight into Fisher’s career can be gleaned from this Dave Stubbs piece, first published in April 2006, when the Habs honoured his 50 seasons covering the team.

Speaking of the Canadiens centennial, Mike Boone’s weekly Eeee-mail makes note of the team’s mastery of marketing (to the point where we’re all getting sick of it). Jack Todd echoes that, noting the contrast between the Habs’ history and its present (and perhaps suggesting a link between the non-stop commemorations and the bad performance of the team).

By the way, I used to find it funny that Boone’s column, which appears opposite Red Fisher’s Red Line page every Saturday, was essentially a column about Fisher himself. Only Boone could pull off writing a column about another columnist and making it worth reading. Sadly, even Boone has reached his limit. Last week he officially retired the Living Legend of Sports Journalism schtick after 10 years.

A moment of silence for the passing of one of The Gazette’s silliest running gags.

Posted in Canadiens, Opinion

Four Habs Fans … plus one

I have, in the past, been critical of amateur bloggers following pro sports teams. Particularly in the wake of the success of my employer’s Habs Inside/Out website, I just couldn’t fathom how people without access to the team and with daily jobs that might affect their posting schedule could ever really hope to compete for news. Even analysis, it seems, hasn’t been very convincing (though people talking out of their ass about what players the Canadiens should sign and what lines they should put them on is a problem in just about every medium).

But while many of these blogs are long gone from my RSS reader, one is proving me wrong. Four Habs Fans is reminding me that if you can’t be informative, you can at least be funny:

©FHF

©FHF, or is it TFS? Or BGL or GMS or something...

It’s not perfect – they use acronyms for nicknames that makes it hard to follow if you’re new – and it’s rather sexist with the scantily-clad women (not that I … uhh … pay attention to the hotties or anything). But this Photoshop job alone has me singing its praises now.

Okay, maybe not singing. But I’ll offer them a lap dance.

Meanwhile, HIO’s Mike Boone – who also relies more on humour than original breaking news or analysis to create a following – is offering to liveblog Habs games from the home (or bar) of just about anyone with an HDTV and WiFi.

Posted in Canadiens, Opinion

I like Georges Laraque

Georges Laraque and two fans pose boxing-weigh-in-style

Georges Laraque and two fans pose boxing-weigh-in-style

I’m going to come right out and say it: I like Georges Laraque.

When I found out last year that the Canadiens had signed him as a free agent basically as an enforcer to intimidate opposing teams and get into fights, I was disappointed. I’m not a fan of fighting in hockey, and I’m not crazy about goons.

Laraque is still a goon. He’s a fighter, an enforcer, a guy who’s there more for his size and the strength of his fists than the accuracy of his slapshot. But, for better or for worse he lives by a strict, unwritten code that supposedly uses one-on-one fighting to self-regulate against cheap shots that would otherwise target small superstars. And he’s always smiling when he fights, which I found incredibly odd. He finds it amusing when some guy from the other team thinks he can take on Big Georges Laraque. There’s clearly a big difference between Laraque and someone like Chris Pronger or Todd Bertuzzi.

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Posted in Canadiens, Montreal, Opinion, Video

Thanks Saku

I’ll never understand the concept of free agency in sports. Or drafting, for that matter. Sure, it makes the odds even, so that a hockey team from southern California can compete against another from Montreal even though one city has ice and the other doesn’t. But it just makes the whole system seem so fake. Much as I hate to agree with some of the xenophobic francophones who want to cleanse their country of impure races, I feel for them in the thought that a team based in Montreal should have Montrealers on it. Otherwise, what’s the difference between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs other than the city in which they play their home games. Why should fans here blindly follow the Canadiens, as if location alone gives their team an advantage?

Maybe it’s supposed to be like that. Maybe sports rivalries are supposed to be meaningless to preserve their fun. But it’s hard to think of the idea of a team when people can just come and go as contracts dictate, even sometimes when they don’t want to.

And so, just like that, Canadiens captain Saku Koivu signed a one-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks. The writing was on the wall for at least a week now (though most thought he’d be going to Minnesota to join his brother Mikko), but those crazy logic-defying fans held out hope that he’d still be here next season (at least the ones that don’t irrationally blame him for everything. We’ve now lost our C and both As (Alex Kovalev to the Ottawa Senators and Mike Komisarek to the Toronto Maple Leafs, both pouring salt into the wounds). Next year will see the biggest turnover we’ve seen in a while.

So, like Red Fisher, I will miss our captain, and thank him for his service. He spent his entire NHL career in Montreal, went through a lot (with us living it vicariously through him) and did a lot for our team and our city. He doesn’t speak French, isn’t from here (neither are Kovalev, Komisarek, Andrei Markov, Carey Price, the Kostitsyns, Tomas Plekanec, etc.), but he was an integral part of Montreal and loved by its citizens. He certainly won’t be booed by me next time he comes to town.

We’ll get a new captain, as parents explain to their young children what “salary cap” and “unrestricted free agent” mean, and why those things led to them losing their hero. But our fans will soon go back to irrationally predicting that the Canadiens will win the Stanley Cup next year (with lots of Quebec-born francophone players), because … well, just because.

Life will go on. Because hey, it’s only a game, right?

Posted in Canadiens, Media

Pierre Trudel joins Fanatique.ca

A year after refusing an “insulting” contract renewal at CKAC and a month after his last column at La Presse, Pierre Trudel has joined Fanatique.ca as a star Habs blogger. His first post is a self-introduction. You can also read this old Journal piece to get an idea of who he is.

On his blog, he talks about the Habs and recounts rumours (though at least he describes them as such).

Fanatique.ca is owned by Branchez-Vous, and while not the most spectacular poaching in journalistic history (talk to me when you’ve convinced François Gagnon or Red Fisher to come on board), it is a step toward making BV a serious media outlet in the city.

Now that I’ve posted this, maybe Carl Charest will stop bothering me.

Posted in Canadiens, In the news

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before

So a singer, a philanthropist and a media magnate walk into a banker’s office

Though scarier than the thought of Céline Dion being the permanent national anthem singer or the Journal de Montréal getting exclusives on everything related to the Canadiens is this:

This trio of potential buyers is said to be contemplating a dedicated pay-TV channel in Quebec that would carry Habs games and other hockey-related content as one way to increase revenues from the team.

It’s just an idea, but it’s an idea that would be devastating to RDS.