Saturday, March 12, 2011

Habs Nation

After what can only be described as the week from hell for Habs players, its staff and fans, it’s hard to sit here and try to write something meaningful either about the Habs 4-1 loss to the Blues on Thursday night, or the upcoming afternoon game versus the Pens. I find it extremely difficult to focus on anything other than Zdeno Chara’s vicious hit on Max Pacioretty in Tuesday’s game against Bruins that rendered the 22 year old forward unconscious, and ultimately with a severe concussion and a fractured vertebrae. What’s most shocking of all was Mike Murphy’s decision not to suspend the 6’9” Bruins defenseman, claiming there was no reason to believe Chara targeted Pacioretty’s head. (Colin Campbell was not involved in the decision making process, being that his son Gregory Campbell plays for the Bruins. I, however, feel that there may still have been a degree of bias included in rendering the verdict, perhaps also being that Chara is a marquis player, and Pacioretty is but a rookie. But I don’t want to delve into my conspiracy theory any further). This picture, to me, clearly indicates Pacioretty’s head being targeted and forcefully pushed into the stanchion that separates the two benches, however evidently I’m wrong.

Now, I don’t want to dwell on this excessively, however the issue of headshots in the NHL and their lack of penalization is becoming a growing concern, one that particularly hit home for Habs fans this week. While I’m outraged along with my fellow Montrealers, we need to take heed in Geoff Molson’s statement to the fans, and begin getting excited for the playoffs. There are only a handful of games remaining in the season, we’re almost certainly guaranteed a playoff spot, and Max Pacioretty is alive. These are all things I’m thankful for this week. I will, however, give the Habs a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free-Card for Thursday’s loss to the Blues as their hearts were simply not in it, and their minds were clearly elsewhere. I was able to sympathize with them, and can’t even imagine how much worse it must have been for the players, or Max’s family.

That being said, I firmly believe that the best way to get revenge on the Bruins is by outplaying them. Not only do the Habs not have the manpower to rough house with the Big Bad Booins, but two wrongs do not make a right. A man almost died on the ice this week, and this has to stop. I don’t believe that the Bell Centre infrastructure, nor the fast pace of the game are at fault for what happened at the end of the 2nd period Tuesday night. While I don’t believe Chara hit Pacioretty with the intent of potentially killing or paralyzing him, I do believe he intended to send a message. If we were to do the same, it wouldn’t make us any better, and I refuse to stoop to their level.

We have to move on. There are still games remaining, important games, and an exciting playoff run is just around the bend. I know it’s difficult, and I myself want to mail individual bags of vomit to every Bruins fan who gave Chara a standing ovation for nearly killing someone. I want to leave flaming bags of dog poop on Bettman, Murphy and Campbell’s doorsteps. Will that accomplish anything? No. I do intend to make my voice heard, but the loudest statement of all is to succeed in the face of adversity. Habs fans, now more than ever, we must rally behind our team. We will not go quietly, and hopefully, if nothing else, Bettman has realized you don’t mess with Habs Nation…

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