The Montreal Canadiens have been around since 1909, accumulating twenty-four Stanley Cup championships and assembling some of the greatest teams in NHL history. Tradition is tried and true in Montreal, we are petulant and proud; living and dying by the bleu, blanc, et rouge.
It has been twenty-two years since the cup came home and its about time for Stanley to pack his bags and get the hell out of Hollywood – to come back to real weather, where hockey is not overshadowed by glitz and glamour and glorified celebrity.
Last year, the Habs run was cut short by some boys from the Big Apple – setting up the ever-so popular New York vs. Los Angeles championship series. The two biggest daydreaming cities in America would do battle over the grandest trophy in all of hockey.
Motivation was lost with the loss of our goaltender but the new light of a new face kept Montreal hopeful, but hope can only take you so far before the harsh realities set in and the sudden surge of hope has turned to despair and heartache.
The annual “drive-for-twenty-five” slogan will soon echo throughout the city as local television and talk-radio will beat the expression to death. Well, its time to stop driving with one foot on the brake – release and roar down the road already – eyes forward and locked on the ultimate prize.
These are the top 10 reasons why the Montreal Canadiens are a viable Stanley Cup contender:
10 The Time is Now
Patience is running thin within the city and the time to capture another cup is now. The teams looks good, actually, it looks better than any in recent memory. This is a squad that can contend with the best in the league and a squad that will have to do just that if there is any chance at glory.
Habs haters are a-plenty. even in Montreal. so it's time to shut the mouths of the asinine, analytical, laptop sportscasters. The time has come to take charge of destiny and write another chapter in the great history book of the Montreal Canadiens.
9 For a Fallen Friend
Not to sound too much like a moviem but the spirit of a fallen friend should motivate the Canadiens towards that cup push. In December of 2014, the passing of Jean Beliveau, a hockey legend and all-time Habs great, left a gaping hole in our collective hearts.
They couldn't get it done when Maurice Richard passed away, so the time is now for them to get it done for the great #4 – the number which has been proudly placed upon the chests of each and every member of the Habs roster. The spirit of Mr. Beliveau is hanging around the Bell Center, hoping to witness a new banner raised to rafters.
8 Quiet Production of Tomas Plekanec
Tomas Plekanec has become an invaluable asset to the Montreal Canadiens organization, silently slicing his piece of history. While Plekanec is not the most exciting player on the team, his worth is proven on every shift.
Plekanec excels on the penalty kill – a quality often overlooked in a league consisting of many exciting goal-scorers. Plekanec also provides leadership to a squad who can at times get aimless, needing some one to keep the club grounded.
7 Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk
The young guns of the Montreal Canadiens, Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk, have both improved greatly since first dawning the iconic Habs jersey. Both young talents have gained respect and notoriety among their teammates and the city.
Come playoff time, much will be expected from the pair. The next generation of Montreal Canadiens will need to rise to the occasion and produce the numbers which are expected. With the determination of both at an all-time high, we can expect big things from Gallagher and Galchenyuk.
6 P.K. Subban
P.K. Subban is beloved in Montreal but emphatically hated elsewhere. The truth is, the cities that boo Subban are the same cities that would love to have him as a member of their team. The envy of recognizing tremendous talent can be harsh. Just ask Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin.
This year, Subban was given a more-than-generous contract from the Montreal Canadiens and it goes without saying that he needs to earn every dollar of said contract, especially when playoff hockey rolls around. With everything to prove, P.K. Subban will shine.
5 Guts and Grit
The Habs as a whole are usually smaller than their opponent, such has been the case for many years, but where size is lacking, guts and grit are at the forefront. The Habs figure out how to play whomever they are placed up against.
Pushing back the big boys and blocking shots without fear or repercussion. The Habs play with conviction, with the purpose of the past and the prosperity of the future in mind. No time for hurt and infinite space for honor.
4 The Fans
The fans in Montreal can be tough on the Habs, but when you have the most storied and decorated franchise in NHL history, you come to expect the best. The love and criticism from the locals is a massive motivational factor.
The players understand that while the fans can some times get down on them, it comes from a place of love and not embarrassment (unlike other cities where fans are tossing their jersey's on the ice). In Montreal, it's hockey over everything. Most fans would rather sit in the nose-bleed seats at the Bell Center than a pew at church, for hockey is its own religious institution.
3 Max Pacioretty
What can be said about a guy like Max Pacioretty? The leading scorer for the Montreal Canadiens and the NHL leader in plus-minus. Pacioretty has proven that when he is on the ice, production and points are accumulating in favor of the Habs.
The Habs have been missing that consistent sniper but have finally found him with Max Pacioretty. During the impending playoffs, Pacioretty will be called upon to continue his point production and help the Habs pick up those necessary sixteen victories.
Behind every great team is a great coach and if you think otherwise, quit watching sports right now. Michel Therrien is the man at the helm for the Montreal Canadiens. The decision-maker when the game is on the line.
Therrien has done a phenomenal job since taking over as the Habs head coach – dealing with the usual circumstances that a coach must deal with such as line formations, defensive pairings, call-ups, scratches, the media, and everything in-between, but doing so with vital belief in his hockey team.
1 Carey Price
The biggest reason why the Montreal Canadiens are a viable Stanley Cup contender is fairly obvious to any fan, and that reason is goaltender Carey Price who stands on his head night after night for the franchise. The calm, cool, and collected Carey has become one of the finest goalies in the game.
The talk of Price winning both the Vezina and Hart trophies is beginning to circulate and with good reason. Price leads the NHL in goals against average and save percentage and is currently second in wins (which they'll be hoping will change shortly).
Watching Carey Price in nets has become akin to watching a great artist at work, as with a malevolent stare, all opposing players are placed on notice by the Picasso of Montreal that his blue ice with not be tarnished.