The Shrine that kicked the Tabarnak out of the Capitals
Montreal, April 29, 2010.
“Café des bois” is situated on the corner of Avenue Mont-Royal and Fullum and is owned by a friendly/ crazy Quebecker called Sylvain. Sylvain loves hockey and wears these thick rimmed glasses that make him look like one of the Hansen brothers from that movie Slaphot.
We dropped by last Friday, April the 23rd and saw the above on a small table; a framed picture of three of the greatest Montreal Canadien players ever (Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard, Guy Lafleur), a magazine cover featuring a big-boobed woman wearing Canadien colours, a small bowl of water (out of the picture), 7 candles (only the 5th was lit), and an old flashlight that looked like a big brass dildo.
“What’s this?” I asked. Sylvain explained that it was his shrine to the Canadiens. He demonstrated by kneeling in front of the table, doing the signs of the cross, taking the brass dildo and dipping it into the water. He then shook water from the dildo in the direction of “the hockey gods” and “the Madonna”. The candles represented the games in the series against the Washington Capitals; the fifth candle was lit because the Canadiens were in Washington that night to play the fifth game of their series against the #1 ranked Washington Capital (the Canadiens were losing 3 games to 1 and were on the verge of elimination). “This will give the Canadiens good luck” he said.
I was fascinated and impressed by his dedication; I took the above picture and talked a bit of hockey with Sylvain.
Montreal won Game 5 that night by a score of 2-1. They came back to Montreal for game 6 and won again, this time 4-1. This meant a deciding game 7 which they played last night. They won 2-1, eliminating the Capitals.
To put it in perspective: It was the first time in history that an 8th place team came back from 3 games to 1 to win a playoff series against the #1 team. Washington had a 54-15-13 record during the season, 33 points more than Montreal (who had a record of 39-33-10). The Capitals lost a total of 5 home games all season. Montreal beat them 3 times at home in this series alone. The Caps also scored 318 goals during the season compared to Montreal’s 217. Yet the Canadiens shut them down 3 games in a row. In all the years of watching the Canadiens play hockey and win Stanley Cups, I’ve never seen a comeback like this. They might not have the talent of some of the Canadien teams of the past, but I’ve never seen a grittier, tougher performance then I did in this series.
Only in Montreal can you go to a public place and start waving a brass dildo in the direction of a photo of a large-breasted woman and be cheered for it. That makes it a pretty special place.
Addendum: Canadiens went on to win the 2nd round, beating the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in 7 games. They ran out of gas later, losing to the Philadelphia Flyers who went on to play in the Stanley Cup finals against the Chicago Black Hawks (who won the Cup). For Canadiens fans, the 2010 playoffs will be memorable because of the goaltending of Jaroslav Halak. It was the most incredible goaltending performance I’ve ever seen. Halak was to be traded in the off-season to the St. Louis Blues for Lars Eller after the Canadiens decided that Carey Price was to be their goalie of the future. Those Playoffs were also memorable because PK Subban made his NHL debut in the first round after Andrei Markov‘s injury in the last game of the season against the Maple Leafs. Other great performances on that team: Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, and Scott Gomez (his last good season with the Canadiens). Jacques Martin was the coach.