Montreal Canadiens Overdo Pregame Ceremony Big Time


The Montreal Canadiens opened their season tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and  I think they went waaayyyy overboard in their pre-game ceremony, which was more over the top than the LA Kings’ Stanley cup banner raising ceremony earlier in the day.

Jan 19, 2013; Montreal, QC, CAN; Front facade of the Bell Centre before the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

If you didn’t see it, and you are not a die-hard Habs fan, consider yourself lucky.  Here is a quick recap of the 13 minute production.

  • It started out with the famous quote from the peom In Flanders Fields – “To you from failing hands we throw the torch…”.
  • A parade of former Captains had a torch relay of sortd, but through different sections of the rink.  From Yvan Cournoyer to Henri Richard to Vincent Damphousse to Serge Savard to Jean Beliveau.
  • Beliveau handed the torch to current captain Brian Gionta who took it to centre ice and the players were introduced as they skated to centre ice to take the torch from the preceding player.

While the ceremony was overdone for a team that finished 15th in their conference last season (and I don’t think has much of a chance to finish much higher this season), it did make me think of a few things, some of which made me laugh, and some of which, if I was a Habs fan, would make me cry.

  • The legends are getting pretty old.  Richard, Beliveau and Cournoyer won’t be around forever and to honour them is great, but the current crop of Habs isn’t worthy to touch the same piece of metal the legends just had their mitts on.
  • Damphousse is the answer to the question- Which one of these things do not belong with the others?
  • Brendan Gallagher, who was a healthy scratch and introduced earlier near the Canadiens bench, looked very scared that Beliveau was going to drop the torch on him or even light him on fire.
  • I am surprised Andrei Markov didn’t tear his ACL while skating onto the ice.
  • Why, oh why, would you give your franchise’s future, Alex Galchenyuk, the number 27?  Why would they want an American born Russian bred player to remind them of the most enigmatic Hab, Alexei Kovalev?
  • How crazy would the Bell Centre have gone if the last player out would have been a newly signed PK Subban? That is the one thing that would have made sitting through that ceremony worth it.
  • Trying to think if I had seen a worse pre-game ceremony in terms of time and place, and then I remembered:

So I guess the joke is still on us.