The All Habs Banner and the Madden Curse
The All Habs banner is very familiar to our readers. The photo was chosen deliberately to reflect the vision of All Habs. The perspective from directly behind the Canadiens' bench is a shared view of the ice, by both players and fans alike.
Watching the action together, we are all Habs.
Due to roster subtractions, the banner has experienced changes over the past year. It has led some readers to whisper about the Madden Curse. Super Bowl weekend provides the perfect backdrop for us to investigate this parallel.
"Madden NFL" is a video game by EA Sports and named after former Raiders coach and football commentator, John Madden. Each year a prominent NFL player is featured on the cover of the game.
Some fans believe that the cover spot is a curse for the player pictured. It's true that some Madden NFL cover players have had poor seasons or been injured.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was the most recent player to be struck by the curse. After appearing on the cover of Madden NFL 10, Polamalu had an injury-riddled season. His misfortune began by spraining his medial collateral ligament (MCL) in the first half of the Steelers season opener.
Other notable 'victims' have included Donovan McNabb (hernia), Michael Vick (broken leg), Shaun Alexander (broken foot) and Vince Young (a season of 9 TD's and 17 INT's) in the year that they graced the cover of Madden NFL.
San Diego Chargers star running back LaDainian Tomlinson turned down the spot on Madden NFL 2008 because, some said, he was worried about the curse. Tomlinson denied the report but has never appeared on Madden's video game.
So what about the All Habs banner? The original eight-player banner included Guillaume Latendresse, Francis Bouillon, Patrice Brisebois, and Tom Kostopoulos sitting alongside the four players who remain.
The bench has gotten shorter as Latendresse was traded in November, with the other three not returning from last season.
Of the four who remain: Jaroslav Halak is playing well but has asked Bob Gainey for a trade; Josh Gorges has struggled this year, Ryan O'Byrne is playing his best hockey but no longer wears No. 3; and Max Lapierre is having the worst season of any of the Canadiens.
Perhaps that's taking this whole curse business way too far. But just in case, we're dumping the banner anyway. After all, superstitions are an acknowledged part of sports!
Keep visiting. Changes are on the way.
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