Pfizer, Moderna or a Habs Vaccine?

The only void in these series is RDS’s Pierre Houde “ c’est le buuuuut”, as well as his impeccable and accurate use of the French language. This ridiculous contract with the NHL, only allows Houde and ‘les boys’ to broadcast 60 (41) Canadiens games per season under the 12-year deal. The rest are blacked out. Houde is part of the Habs family and he is not there for this spectacular climb. So sad. But otherwise…

How about those Habs! Can you not think of a better vaccine for us? For the first time in a quarter century, we are this close to hoisting Lord Stanley’s silver chalice. Yvan Cournoyer nailed it in his pre game broadcast taped appearance prior to the Habs 6th game against the Vegas Golden Knights. After this pandemic, its multiple restrictions, so many of us stuck indoors, these series are not only a phenomenal uplifting for the province, but the best vaccine, not for the body but for my head space. We’re alive again! The results are making us so happy. Demolishing the Maple Leafs, sweeping the Jets from Winnipeg, and then defeating the team so many broadcasters predicted would win the Cup, the Vegas Golden Knights. In the words of Jackie Gleason, “how sweet it is”.

Is it because we did so poorly during the regular abbreviated 56 game series? Is it because we were able to clinch a playoff spot by only one point? Is it because our expectations were so low? Is that the reason for such explosive excitement today? Call it serotonin, call it dopamine, we are experiencing euphoria, and the best may be yet to come.

“Happiness is associated with reduced neuroendocrine, inflammatory and cardiovascular activity” -The National Academy of Science. Aside from promoting a healthy lifestyle, happiness, such as the Habs have been delivering since the series against Toronto began, some scientific journals claim “happiness may even increase your life expectancy.”

And this is much more than happiness. Beating all odds, three times in a row, when none of the well-known broadcasters predicted the Habs would beat any of these teams. Did the Golden Knights’ Mark Stone actually say the series against the Habs “…will be like playing an AHL team, 4 easy wins”? Did a bunch of Leaf players really LOL when Quebec presumed the Habs would be alive after 5 games, and announced 25 hundred fans would be allowed at the Bell Center for game six? Total underdogs. Maybe that’s why it’s jubilation, cloud nine, rapturous, ecstasy! Maybe even a bit of good sportsmanship revenge.

Add to this, the elevation of Carey Price to some kind of God like figure. Even Chris Cuthbert and his colour commentator were forced to conclude several times during the games’ broadcasts, that opposing players’ shots were missing the net because they were in awe of Price. They know Price will make the save, unless the puck is perfectly launched and placed, leading to so many misses.

A stand-up goalie seems to be a must.

It was with Ken Dryden, who won so many trophies, he became the most decorated goalie of the 70’s winning 6 Stanley Cups between 1971 and 1979. And certainly with Patrick Roy. Roy was stopping the unstoppable when the Habs won their 23rd and 24th Stanley Cup in 1986 and 1993. He won the Conn Smythe trophy for the Most Valuable player in the post-season in his rookie year (1986), and won the Conn Smythe again in ‘93. Four games to one win in both series. The first against Calgary, the second against Wayne Gretsky’s L.A. Kings.

And the current Habs penalty kill has to be mentioned as a vital ingredient of a winning team. Says TSN’s Travis Yost “This is the best penalty-killing unit we have seen in the postseason in the Real-Time Scoring System era”

True, it’s not the miracle fix of a Pfizer or Moderna, but a Habs vaccine sure makes us feel good, very good, and an immense relief, after such a long, frustrating, stressful pandemic journey.

What a difference a summer makes. I don’t even want to think about life a summer ago, neither do you, I’m sure. But it’s a new world. Armed with at least one if not a double vaccine, please remain cautious. And now with a Habs vaccine, enjoy this brand-new summer, the summer of ’21.

Thank you, merci, Montreal Canadiens!

That’s what I’m Thinking

Robert Vairo