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The Hockey News

It was a fun weekend in Montreal – at least, so I’m told by those who were there with me. Thanks to Wayne Bews and everyone at the Team 990 radio for their hospitality. And thanks in general to Montreal’s unrivalled collection of stunningly beautiful brunettes. La Belle Province, indeed.

• A few hangover-based thoughts on attending my first game as a fan at the Bell Centre:

– I thought the Buffalo Sabres’ pre-game introduction was the best I’d seen – until Saturday. I stand corrected. The slow-building projections of the legendary names who’ve played for the Canadiens onto the ice surface was truly a goosebump-inducing thrill, as was the choice of the most affecting U2 song (“Bad”) ever recorded.

– I understand why Habs fans began chanting “(Jocelyn) Thibault” at the start of Saturday’s game against Buffalo; the Sabres’ backup netminder – and star of his team’s 3-0 win over Montreal – never lived up to expectations when he played in Montreal. But I will never understand why any gathering of fans chant the opposing goalie’s name when he hasn’t allowed a goal in the game yet. Is it possible to give a player more motivation than that?

– There is something especially magical about hearing fans cheer and jeer in two distinct languages, and you come away from the experience with a renewed appreciation for Canada’s two founding cultures. However, there will always be some small cultural gaps I have difficulty bridging.

For instance, what’s with the insistence on odd music selections? I mean, between hearing “Day-O” and the “Ole” song, I thought I was at a bullfighting event in Jamaica. Give me nothing but organ music, or give me death!

• Finally, a quick tip for train travelers everywhere: No matter how bump-free the trip has been up to that point, never put your face too close to the washroom mirror. Dealing with a minor concussion is no way to begin your vacation.


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