The 2008-09 Montreal Candiens: Passionless Habs?
Forgive me if I'm about to ruffle your feathers, but the Montreal Canadiens have not been the team that I thought they were going to be this season.
I think they're missing something big—passion.
For a team in its centennial season, the added pressure to perform should only serve as a steppingstone for big names to skate into the limelight and produce. The extra adrenaline rush, game in and game out, to even be in the Canadiens' lineup for such a historic season should serve as motivation.
But as it has been for many years now, players dawning le bleu, blanc, et rogue have missed that essential ingredient of wearing the legendary CH. Maurice "Rocket" Richard played with a fierce passion that few have matched. Patrick Roy was one of the most arrogant, yet successful competitors in hockey history and hated to lose.
Hated to lose.
Before I go on, I'm not going to pick on any particular players in the 2008-09 lineup or point fingers at any game or series of games because of the fact that the season is not yet half over.
Yet that's what frightens me most—can the Canadiens of this year, this era if you will, find that passion that the franchise has been built upon?
The lackluster performances of teams since the 1993 Stanley Cup championship in Montreal may have put a bronze glaze on a golden reputation in the NHL. And within the 100 years of history that has come to the fore in 2008-09, it's do-or-die time for this era of Canadiens players.
This season is a special one. It will only come around once. So why not make the most of the opportunity at hand?
If the mediocre teams that have supplanted the great Canadiens dynasties keep on rearing their ugly head season after season, perhaps a centennial year will be the same as always—big expectations, futile delivery, abrupt second-round playoff exit.
For the sake of the fans, coaches, players, and history behind this team and this season, let's hope they can put that monster to rest—for good.
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