When I played it was obvious. The Habs were two different teams on the road and at home.
In the visitor's rinks, Le bleu, blanc et rouge played as if they were all four-foot-seven, but at home it was a completely different scenario.
The boys grew a couple of ahems in their jocks and played as if they were seven-feet-four. No one really understood it, but accepted it for what it was.
In our building in Manhattan, push the Canadiens around in the first 10 minutes of a game and many of them would pack it up early and already start thinking of what they were going to have to order the next night at whatever overpriced resto they were hitting.
It's really not that tough of a decision ... it's steak. Always is. Same guys eat the same stuff every night. I, at least, would change it up a little by throwing a pork chop in the mix the odd time. I love sautéed mushrooms.
The boys loved Morton's because of some dessert where the chocolate cake had some chocolate lava on the inside.
Where were we?
In the Forum or Bell Centre, the Habs talked smack and put on a show for their fans. They were a completely different team. It was us who had to survive the first 10 minutes. We tried to survive the push from the Jekyll and Hydes.
That was then.
The issue with this year's Montreal Canadiens isn't so much what rink they are playing in but rather what team is going to show up at either building ... the Jekylls or the Hydes.
I hope some of you, actually all of you, if you do bet on sports and hockey, never bet on the Montreal J + Hs.
Let me set the table. I could go back to the start of the season but it would only hurt and confuse me more.
Let's start from Jan 22. Habs are coming off two really impressive victories vs. New Jersey and New York Rangers, outscoring them both by a combined score of 9 to 1.
Confidence is high as they head out on the road to take on the badly injured Panthers, the Lightning and the disgruntled Ott Sens. After two impressive victories you would be expecting, what? Three-straight losses and a total of three goals scored? If that's what you would've guessed then you're good. Really good.
Tails between their legs they return home to try and muster up an effort and keep the score close as they take on the Canucks, the third overall team in the West and riding a seven-game win streak. Habs won 3-2.
Two nights later, the Jekyll and Hydes took their show on the road again, to Beantown where they trailed 2-0, gave up 47 shots and won.
They really shouldn't have, but it happens.
Don't worry folks, as all would be restored to normality when the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Stanley Cup champs, showed up for a Saturday matinee. Crosby was hot and always plays well against his favorite team growing up.
Sid and his crew were hungry and going to do a number on the Habs, who just won two despite giving up 94 shots in the two contests.
Bleu, Blanc et Rouge 5 ... PITT, Sid, Malkin, Staal, Gonchar, Fleury, etc. 3.
OK, it was an afternoon game and Pitt had to travel and Crosby and his boys just had a tough day. Right? Who knows?
One thing I do know is the next day the Habs are playing the Bruins who have lost 10 in a row and they are playing them at the Bell Centre.
Boston had trouble flying in as a result of a northeaster that pummeled the coast with snow. Habs are hot as they have just beat two really good teams and have turned things around.
Goaltending is the best it's been for a while in Montreal. Bruins have trade rumours following them around. Savard, Lucic and Chara are all playing but not at their normal levels due to injuries and missed time. Habs are hot. They just potted five vs. the champs.
Habs win? Uh, sorry. Bruins 3. Habs 0. They were shut out … no goals … zilch … they stunk.
The next day, Bob Gainey, the team's general manager, decides that his time is complete as their leader. He put his time in and wanted to enjoy life not under the Montreal media microscope. He's a good man who deserves to sit back and relax a little and read my blogs.
My real thought on his temporary retirement is that he's frustrated with his Jekyll and Hyde club.
Maybe he decided it was time because he didn't want to watch the destruction of his team by the 14-win-in-a-row, OV, Semin, Greene, Washington Capitals army. I predicted a score of 27 to 2 that night for Washington. OV scoring 19.
The referees, I thought, will deciide to make it running time for the third period as the first-ever mercy rule is put into effect in the NHL. The Capitals play the third with four guys. Coach Boudreau stayed in the locker room to chow down on the best hot dogs in the league. And they would still score eight.
At least that's what I thought would happen.
After the second period outburst by the Canadiens vs. Washington Weds. night, I had a mini-heart attack. The Habs scored four and were leading 5 to 2. The game is never over when you have OV and Greene and Semin and Backstrom, but in reality we all knew the game was close to over.
Less then 20 seconds into the 3rd. 5-3. Before regulation was done the score would be even at 5s. All momentum in the Caps favor. 4 on 4 hockey in OT. Game over. Phewf. It wasn't 27 to 2 but at least I finally got one right. Caps would complete the comeback in the extra period. Right …
I suffered my second mini-heart attack and threw up a little bit in my mouth when Plekanec beat Theodore back door. Are you kidding me? I need Dr Phil and a leather couch the more I watch this team.
They have two games coming up before the break. Back-to-back against Philly. The old Habs would have lost on the road where they would have been planning their steak dinner and lava cake desserts after 10 minutes. Returned home to win in front of their great crowd.
These Jekyll and Hyde's though ... who knows. All I know is that when I watch them this weekend, I will have the defibrillators close by.
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