Five Must See Canadiens Games in '08: Rivalries, Grudges, Pride, and Prejudice

Andrew GregoryContributor INovember 2, 2008

For the record, I am a dyed in the wool Canadiens fan.  I was born in ‘68 and my brain was formed watching some of the best teams in hockey history.

Ask any Hab fan and they can tell you that among other things, the Canadiens have won a Cup in every decade since their founding.  Fate seems to be saying that this year will be the one.

In this 100th anniversary year, every game is important.  For me, it is the rivalries built up over decades that add excitement to a matchup.  Here is a highlight of five games to get excited about between now and New Year's eve in the Habs’ quest for their 25th Stanley Cup.


Nov. 8, Canadiens at Maple Leafs

A tilt between Montreal and Toronto needs no hype to make it significant.  Simply put, these two "Original Six" teams are mortal enemies and unquestionably each other’s greatest rival.  A game between Montreal and Toronto evokes a grudge between the French and English that spans centuries. 

Take your seat and enjoy.


Nov. 13, Canadiens at Bruins

In its storied history the Big Bad Bruins can only boast two Stanley Cups, and if their fans are being honest they'll tell you one of the main reasons is their nemesis the Montreal Canadiens.  Year after year when the Bruins were at their height in the ‘70s it was Montreal that stood in their way. 

1972 stands out—a year when Bobby Orr was second overall in scoring and the B’s were upset by a Montreal team led by rookie goaltender Ken Dryden.

These two Northeast Division rivals will have had time to work up a healthy disregard for each other by the 13th.


Nov. 28, Canadiens at Capitals

Ovechkin, Semin, Fedorov, and Kozlov have turned the Capitals into Russia’s team.  This has not gone unnoticed by Alex Kovalev and Andrei Markov.  Expect fireworks.


Dec. 9, Flames at Canadiens

Quick trivia question: Who is the only team to have held aloft the Stanley Cup in the Forum other than the Habs?  You guessed it.  Lanny McDonald and the Calgary Flames.  And who were on that team that lost the Cup to the most recognizable moustache in hockey history? Bob Gainey and Guy Carboneau—Montreal’s current braintrust. 

The loss must have been a particularly bitter pill for Gainey, who was Captain of the Habs at the time and was playing in the last season of his Hall of Fame career.  You can’t tell me that Carbo won’t be putting a little more into his pre-game pep talk on Dec. 9.

Dec. 27, Canadiens at Penguins

Any chance to watch Sid the Kid play can’t be passed up.  Watching him play against the team he loved best growing up is always a treat. 

These are the games on the schedule that I will be sure to watch in the first half.   I also like the matchups with the Devils for the sheer joy of watching the best goalie in hockey facing who we hope is the heir apparent, Carey Price.

Would love to hear which ones you will be tuning into.