I figured it was about time.
For 35-some years, I've been an ardent follower of the only hockey team that really matters, the Montreal Canadiens. Now, I know such a statement is ardently egocentric, but it seems only befitting given we're talking about a club so entrenched in history, that reach well beyond the simple metrics of the game itself.
I'm not exactly sure when I became a fanatic of this franchise. My earliest memories are of a tall, gangly defenseman named Larry Robinson, whose stature of height and grace entranced and thrilled me. I think it was 1974, or 1975. I do know when I became an outright fanatic of the team - during their four consecutive glorious championship years, starting with a four game sweep of the hated Boston Bruins in 1976, and ending with a 5 game victory over the New York Rangers in 1979, due in large to the brilliant playoff performance of another personal favorite player of mine, Bob Gainey.
Choosing a favorite player back then was actually quite difficult. The favorite was the wondrous Guy Lafleur. To be Guy, to skate like Guy, to look like Guy, was a fantasy of countless children at the time. Guy, speeding down the right side of the rink, his hair flowing from the sheer velocity of his skating, enhanced the mystique of the team, and being a fan of the team. But there were so many others. There was Ken Dryden, whose cool mannerisms and thoughtful introspection between the pipes made him the finest netminder of his era.
There was, as mentioned, Gainey, quite possibly the greatest two-way forward to have ever played the game. There was Serge Savard, big, burly, and immensely talented. With Robinson, and Guy Lapointe (another Hall of Famer), and Rod Langway (yet another Hall of Famer), the Canadiens had assembled what was, and probably still is, the deepest and most talented blue line in hockey history.
This, and I haven't even arrived with Steve Shutt, or Yvan Cournoyer, or Yvan Lambert, or Doug Risbrough, or Pierre Mondou. But perhaps we can save that for another day.
So ... the blog. It's something I've been toying with for quite a few years, actually. Some (although admittedly not many) may be familiar with my public rantings on the Canadiens' usenet discussion board, alt.sports.hockey.nhl.mtl-canadiens, for which I've been a regular contributor since 1996.
In other words, I've written about this team during it's longest championship drought in team history. How fortunate for me!
But now, through this blog, I'd like to make the record a little more official. So here's the plan. From this point forward, to the best of my own ability, I will attempt to live game blog every Canadiens game, regular season, and playoffs. And ... well, that's it, really. My intention is to keep the blog relatively simple, focusing on game analysis. No more, no less.
I suppose I may indulge in a rant or two (or a cheer or three, depending on the current fortunes of the team). But the plan is to make such diversions the rare exception, and never a rule.
So here we go. Just a few hours before the start of the 2011-12 season, which by my own estimation, is shaping up to be a very competitive season for my beloved Canadiens. Sorry, our beloved Canadiens.
I'll post (hopefully if time permits) a relatively small post later today about my optimism for the upcoming here.
In any case, it's nice to be on board. Finally. It's about time.