From radio guy and music parodist Patrick Charles, a quickly created song about Jaroslav Halak is a freely-downloadable MP3:
Christopher Pennington, author of this pretty good (and bilingual!) Habs anthem from 2008 (available on iTunes), has teamed up withFelicity Hamer of United Steelworkers of Montreal to produce this parody of Stand By Your Man.
The timing couldn’t be better. Today is a critical game.
Finally, an FTQ campaign I can support.
Speaking of Canadiens pride, local musician Daniel Iorio has written another song about his beloved Habs. This one, keeping particularly current, name-drops Gazette sports scribe Pat Hickey, whose car was vandalized by crazed Flyers fans and has been getting a lot of attention for it.
Listen to The Cheese of Philadelphia:
You know, I was rooting for a Bruins win in the last round. Partly because coming back from 3-0 would mean stealing the Canadiens’ Cinderella status. Partly because the Canadiens and Bruins have such a rich history. Partly because it was time to take revenge for last year. Partly because I thought our chances were better against them.
But I’m learning to appreciate the value of a Canadiens-Flyers series. We can take revenge for 2008. The matchup has already been billed as Cinderella vs. Cinderella, and made history as the first 7th vs. 8th matchup since the conference system was setup.
And, because the Flyers fans can be just as much assholes as Canadiens fans, it feels good to hate them.
By the end of this series, the streets of Philadelphia will be orange … with blood …
Blood mixed with urine, I guess.
You can tell your team is going somewhere when other people try to take credit for it.
But that’s the way it is when you’ve gone from being the underdog to the favourite. Even though technically Philadelphia has the (ever so slightly) better record and home ice advantage, the pundits are finally calling it for the Habs:
Canadiens in four
Canadiens in six
- Mike Brophy, Sportsnet
- Dave Gross, Canwest News Service
- Allan Muir, Sports Illustrated
- Marcy Di Michele, The Hockey Writers
- Bill Beacon, Canadian Press
- Noah Sidel, totally unbiased Habs fan
Canadiens in seven
- Globe and Mail
- Pierre Durocher, Rue Frontenac
- Dan Di Sciullo, Sports Network
- Tim Wharnsby, CBC
- James Duthie, TSN (though maybe jokingly)
- Rémy Villemure, Fanatique.ca
Flyers in seven
Flyers in six
7pm: I get off the metro train at Lucien-L’Allier station. The platform is flooded with red Habs jerseys.
7:07pm: I arrive at the parking lot outside the Bell Centre, which has been designated as a celebration area by the Montreal police. A giant screen is showing RDS, and the speakers have plenty of volume for people to hear. The lot is mostly empty, unlike the Bell Centre itself, but a crowd is slowly forming.
Speaking of clever Canadiens ads, CKAC came up with this simple yet effective one, which appears in today’s Journal de Lockout.
Let’s hope it’s proven right tonight.
If you pick up the print version of The Gazette (or at least the sports section), you might have noticed that there’s a lot of articles and columns from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and before that the Washington Post, commenting on their hockey teams.
Since you may not have picked up the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently, you probably haven’t seen the Montreal Gazette columns that have appeared in those pages:
Even though, in an ideal world, no sports journalist is biased toward the home team, the reality is that Gazette sports columnists know more about the Canadiens and talk more about the Canadiens than the opposition. There’s an unavoidable Montreal-centric perspective. So it’s useful to get an idea of the other side.
Sharing copy like this isn’t new. Both the Gazette and Post-Gazette have done it before, their editors tell me. The Gazette did it two years ago with the Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Basically, the idea is to give Gazette readers an in-depth look at the visiting team from reporters who cover that team on a regular basis and know that team as well as our guys know the Canadiens,” says Gazette sports editor Stu Cowan. “Also a chance to read some different opinions and styles of hockey writers from other cities.”
When the Canadiens faced the Washington Capitals in the first round, Cowan contacted the Washington Post to see if they’d be interested in sharing copy. The Post jumped on board, and columns from Thomas Boswell, Tracee Hamilton and Mike Wise appeared in the Gazette.
(There’s a bit of irony here, in that until recently the Gazette was a subscriber to the Washington Post’s wire service. The Post cut Canwest off after Canwest filed for creditor protection.)
Washington’s not a hockey town
In Washington, though, there wasn’t much reciprocation. Even though the Capitals finished the season as the National Hockey League’s best team, there was little space in the sports section of a paper known for political stories to fit what are essentially wire stories from Montreal. In fact, I couldn’t find a single Gazette piece that was used in the print version.
The imbalance is particularly striking simply because hockey in the U.S. capital isn’t as important as here. They have an NFL team (the Redskins), a baseball team (the *spit*Nationals*spit*), an NBA team (the Wizards), plus college and other sports. Even during the hockey playoffs, they have to devote pages to these.
“When I contacted the Post hockey editor on the weekend of the NFL draft to ask which one of their columnists would be writing on the Caps, the answer was none: they were all writing on the NFL draft, even though the Redskins are brutal,” Cowan wrote to me by email. “The Redskins are to D.C. what the Canadiens are to Montreal.”
But the Post did use the Gazette pieces online, and it looks like they got some interest there.
“The Gazette columns were a big hit on the Post website throughout the series and on some days recorded higher traffic numbers than our own stories. They enriched and broadened our coverage to a considerable degree,” says Matthew Vita, Washington Post sports editor, somewhat press-release-like. “All in all the content-sharing was a great success that we envision using in the future.”
Then, in Pittsburgh
After the Canadiens epically came back from a 3-1 series deficit and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinal, Cowan was himself contacted by two Pittsburgh papers – the Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review – looking to setup a similar agreement. “I had to make a choice and went with the Post-Gazette,” Cowan said.
In Pittsburgh, this kind of sharing has gotten routine.
“Every playoff series, we try to hook up with a newspaper to run at least a column a day from ‘the other side’,” says Post-Gazette Assistant Managing Editor/Sports Jerry Micco. “We do it for other sports, too. Particularly for the Steelers. Throughout the week, we’ll do RSS feeds from the opposing newspaper’s site as well as trading copy. We rarely have space for copy throughout the week from the opponent, but on the Monday after a game a ‘view from XXX’ is a mandatory run in our section.”
Micco says the agreement has been a win-win for the two papers. He listed two major advantages for him: “1. It frees our writers up to cover the Pens. Even if they write an opponent’s story, it’s not going to be a column. 2. I allows our readers to get another viewpoint on the series.”
Still, the Post-Gazette isn’t using nearly as much copy as the Gazette is, even though their sports editor said the Gazette has “excellent hockey writers” and “our fans here want as much hockey as they can get this time of year.” They have the Steelers (and its quarterback in the news recently) and Pirates, while Montreal can focus on the Canadiens (with the occasional mention of the Impact), running two or even three pieces a day from the Post-Gazette.
“Basically, the popularity of the Habs in this city goes through the roof during the playoffs, with people who don’t normally follow hockey jumping on the bandwagon,” Cowan writes. “The copy-sharing agreement allows us to provide additional hockey coverage during the playoffs, with a closer focus on the visiting team.”
What do you think?
None of the editors mentioned much about direct response to the enemy copy, so I’ll leave that to you: Do you think the new perspective is a valuable contribution, or a waste of space?
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.
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.
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?
UPDATE (July 25): The inevitable parody version went up a few weeks later:
Capitals in four
- Joe O’Connor, National Post
- Dan Barnes, Edmonton Journal
- Dave Gross, Canwest News Service
- Dave Waddell, Windsor Star
- The Hockey News
- Pierre LeBrun, ESPN/CP/CBC
Capitals in five
- Scott Morrison, CBC
- François Gagnon, La Presse
- Marc de Foy
- Yvon Pedneault, Journal de Québec/Montréal
- NHL on TSN consensus
- Mike Boone, Habs Inside/Out
- Dave Stubbs, The Gazette/Habs Inside/Out
- Tarik El-Bashir, Washington Post
- Ed Frankovic, WNST Baltimore
- Michael Traikos, National Post
- Allen Panzeri, Ottawa Citizen
- Scott Cruickshank, Calgary Herald
- Ken Warren, Ottawa Citizen
- Cam Cole, Vancouver Sun
- Kevin Allen, USA Today
- Matthew Barnaby, ESPN
- John Buccigross, ESPN
- Scott Burnside, ESPN
- E.J. Hradek, ESPN
- Barry Melrose, ESPN
Capitals in six
- Jean-François Bégin, La Presse
- Jack Todd, The Gazette
- Pat Hickey, The Gazette
- Brian Wilde, CTV Montreal
- Ted Starkey, Washington Times
- John MacKinnon, Edmonton Journal
- George Johnson, Calgary Herald
- Wayne Scanlan, Ottawa Citizen
- Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun
- Rob Vanstone, Regina Leader-Post
- Mike Brophy, SportsNet
- Bruce Garrioch, Ottawa Sun
Capitals in seven
Canadiens in seven
Canadiens in six
Canadiens in five
Canadiens in four
- You know who you are
- Canadiens win: 5
- Capitals win: 38
- Series goes seven games: 1
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.
Spoiler alert: The Canadiens aren’t a religion, but they do have a lot of enthusiastic fans.
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:
by Clermont (featuring Kra-Z-Noize)
Montreal Canadiens 2010 playoff song
by Vince Colletti/Tanya Kassabian
by Alex G.
by Alex G. (also available in French)
Go Habs Go! (Séries 2010)
by Martin Scully
CH en série
by Patrick Charles, Cat Spencer and Mark Bergman for CJFM. Sung by Lissa Vescio
by Annakin Slayd
Habs Fight (woo-hoo!)
by CHOM FM
by Daniel Iorio
Je déteste les Flyers
by Justiciers Masqués
by Virgin Radio
by Porn Flakes
Stand By Your Habs
by Christopher Pennington and Felicity Hamer