Eulogy: Montreal Canadiens

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(Glove tap to OdinMercer at Five For Howling)

The '08-'09 Habs train wreck was cleared from the tracks at 9:33 PM ET. The conductor Bob Gainey and 9 passengers are the only known survivors at this time.

- Stanley Cup of Chowder

Dearly beloved, we're gathered here today not to mourn the passing of the Montreal Canadiens' 2008-2009 season but to celebrate the life of the "Centennial" season which provided so many of us with so much pleasure. Not the kind of pleasure that Pasquale Mangiola could have provided the Habs but pleasure nonetheless. We'll likely end up wearing cement shoes in the St. Lawrence after Mangiola reads this but at least we'll have the remnants of Bob Gainey's career to keep us warm at night.

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  The Montreal Canadiens pictured in the third period of Game 3.

After last season's renaissance Habs fans were probably expecting much greater things from their club. If they did it's probably because they ignored the numbers that suggested otherwise. I assume it's because numbers, other than 1967 and 24, scare them. And letters. And basic hygiene. To be fair, they have good reason to fear numbers as they caused them nothing but pain this year.

  • 100 - The percentage of Habs fans who thought "this is the year" in August.
  • 100 - The percentage of Habs fans calling for a rebuild in April.
  • 2 - The number of powerplay quarterbacks that were lost to injuries on clean hits in their second last game of the regular season.
  • 0 - The number of powerplay goals that the Canadiens scored against the Bruins without Markov and Schneider.
  • -4.8 - The change in Montreal's power play percentage from last year.
  • 1 - The number of stupid gimmicks that allowed the Canadiens to even qualify for the playoffs.
  • $750 million - The depth of George Gillett's debt that led to some creative ticket deals and possibly a local owner.
  • 1 - The number of Habs' ex-coaches that out-maneuvered a soon to be ex-coach/ex-GM
  • 16 - The number of UFAs and RFAs on the Canadiens. Thank god they have a good GM to sort that out.
  • 3 - The number of times that the Bruins' have swept the Canadiens out of the playoffs including this year.
  • 1531 - The number of seconds that the Canadiens held the lead during the series or just under 21 minutes out of 240 minutes played.
  • 1 - The number of embarrassing parody music videos about winning "25 in 100".
  • 4 - The number of playoff goals scored by former Hab Michael Ryder in the same number of games
  • 3 - The number of playoff goals scored by Michael Ryder in 21 playoff games with Montreal.
  • 100 - The percentage of Montreal shopkeepers that protected their stores against rioters.
  • 99 - The actual number of season that the Canadiens have played.
  • 2 - The number of Montreal forwards who outscored Mikhail Grabovski this season.
  • 0 - The number of those players under contract with Montreal next season.
  • 3 - The number of cigarettes that Carey Price can smoke at once.
  • 1 - The number of 'Franchise' goalies that gave the crowd the Patrick Roy treatment during the deciding game.
  • 0 - The percent chance that Vinny Lecavalier saves Montreal next season.

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(more goodness from OdinMercer)

 Let us not forget those harder to quantify things that were lost this year. Habs fans lost a bit more of their class. Meanwhile, continued cheapshots and attempted cheapshots in this series even caused those rational fans among the blindly faithful to demand that some class be shown by the players. Some of the shine off of the Habs fans' inflated sense of superiority was debunked with a little research.

Now, for some words from the rest of the congregation:

Eyebleaf, Sports and the City:

You know, I thought I was ready to move on; to grow up. I thought I was ready to stop reveling in the failure of the Montreal Canadiens. But you know what? I'm not. Happy 100th Birthday! Helluva party. I only hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. All that's really left to say is, "Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole!!!!"

Cornelius Hardenbergh and The Hockey Blog Adventure:

I don't know if my favorite part was that Ryder got more goals against the Habs this year than he got with them last year or that their Captain got outworked by third-line superstar Chuck Kobasew at the end of Game Three.  Or the sweep.

Godd Till and Kim Jorn, Cox Bloc:

From our season preview

KJ: Is Montreal totally overrated or the most overrated team ever?

GT: Montreal is more overrated than the Doors, early Saturday Night Live, or the 2008 Detroit Tigers. They will finish 6th and go out in the first round.

"Brian Burke", Down Goes Brown

The 2008-09 Canadiens hit the wall harder than a player without the puck who turns his back on a Habs' defenseman.

MF37, Bitter Leaf Fan

The traditional gift for a 100th anniversary is a 10 carat diamond but all the Bruins gave the Habs this year was a broom. Ironically, I can't think of a better centenary gift. As a Leafs fan it's delightful to see the Habs removed as quickly as possible from post-season play; as a hockey fan who loves the Leafs – Habs rivalry, there's nothing the Montreal organization needs more than a broom to clean house this off-season.

I'd like to close this service with a short poem and the singing of a familiar hymn, the only appropriate song to sing as the Habs season jerks and shudders to its final resting place:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
The Leafs didn't win a playoff game,
But neither did you.

We only hope that while celebrating an easy tap-in that Max Lapierre doesn't come to our offices and high stick us in the face and that the Kostitsyns don't put a hit out on us. Happy Centennial Montreal! From all of your friends over at Pension Plan Puppets!

ps. Habs fans, if you need a shoulder to cry on, check out the excellent Four Habs Fans, Eyes on the Prize, or call the "Canadiens Grief and Depression Hotline" at 1-800-101010 (won nothing won nothing won nothing).

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