Montreal

For fans of the Montreal Canadiens, it really 'Feels like '93' again

It's been 28 years since the Habs surprised the hockey world, and hip hop artist Annakin Slayd's 2010 track "Feels like '93" is once again a rallying cry for the Habs to do the improbable and win the Stanley Cup.

It's been 28 years since the Habs surprised the hockey world to win the Cup. Can they do it again?

Only 2,500 fans are allowed in the Bell Centre due to the pandemic, but the crowds have been loud and enthusiastic nonetheless. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

During a broadcast of the Habs-Jets series the camera focused on a young Montreal Canadiens fan holding a sign that read "Go Habs Go, Feels like '93."

It's a great sentiment, but unless that "kid" is somehow also in his late thirties, there is no chance he actually recalls what the 1993 run to win the Stanley Cup felt like.

In fact, the players he is trying to motivate don't know either.

Eric Staal is the oldest player on the roster and he was only eight at the time.

Paul Byron and Eric Staal, two of the team's veterans, were just children when the Habs last won the cup. Cole Caufield and Tyler Toffoli hadn't been born. (Jonathan Kozub/Getty Images)

Yet the phrase "Feels like '93" resonates with all ages of Montreal's fan base, in large part due to hip hop artist Annakin Slayd.

"There is something about this team, the way that they're rolling right now, the 1993 team did that," Slayd said.

Slayd was 14 years old when the Habs last hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup, and it made a permanent impression on him.

So during the Habs' 2010 run to the Eastern Conference Final, he released a song titled Feels Like '93, which has since morphed into an anthem for Habs fans of all ages.

"The 1993 aura is an extension of the aura of the Montreal Canadiens," Slayd said.

"I could have said anything, it feels like '79 or it feels like '72. We could go back to all 24 cups and make comparisons but there is something about the underdog aspect of that 1993 team."

The musician and die-hard Habs and Expos fan Annakin Slayd is hopeful about the Montreal Canadiens chances in 2021. (Submitted by Annakin Slayd)

What did 1993 feel like?

In 1993, the Montreal Canadiens weren't anyone's Stanley Cup pick and early in the playoffs it appeared they were going to bow out after dropping the first two games in their first-round series with the Quebec Nordiques.

But then the Habs unexpectedly caught fire, went on to rattle off 11 consecutive wins, beating the Nordiques, the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Islanders and the Los Angeles Kings to win the cup.

The run included an unprecedented 10 overtime victories in part due to some stellar goaltending provided by Patrick Roy.

Led by goalie great Patrick Roy, the Montreal Canadiens last won the Stanley Cup in 1993. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

If you've been watching the 2021 Habs, it all sounds eerily familiar, no?

"I was saying it actually feels more like 2010 (after the 1st round) but then fast forward into the second round, a sweep and then winning game four in overtime, which is exactly what happened in '93 versus the Sabres. So now I'm starting to say, OK , maybe it feels a little like '93," Slayd said, "but there is a lot of work to be done."

"We're trying to find that slogan, and Feels like '93 is something fans latch onto because they hope it inspires the team and the fans to ride this wave," Slayd said.

Is Montreal Canada's Team?

Montreal's run to the semifinals this spring is, of course, a huge deal in Quebec. But not even the most optimistic Habs fan could have predicted support coming from the skyline in the city of one of their fiercest rivals.

The CN Tower in downtown Toronto turned its lights Bleu-Blanc-Rouge this week in support of the Habs, the only Canadian team left in the running for the Stanley Cup.

The colours of the Montreal Canadiens lit up the CN Tower in Toronto night this week, much to the dismay of Leafs fans. (CN Tower/Twitter)

"I'll just say this, if the Big-O ever lit up white-and-blue to support the Toronto Maple Leafs, I'd be on the phone with the Olympic board asking who is responsible," Slayd said.

There are Habs fans all around Canada and the world but for Slayd, calling Montreal "Canada's Team" is a bit much.

"We quite literally are Canada's team because of this Canadian division, in a technical sense yeah for sure."

"But I'm sorry, if the Leafs were the only team left in the playoffs, I wouldn't be cheering for them," Slayd said. "So I'm not going to be a hypocrite and say all of Canada should be cheering for the Canadiens right now."

There is nostalgia for the last time the Montreal Canadiens managed to win the Stanley Cup. (Twitter)

Updated song to drop soon

Slayd says in recent weeks he's been inundated with requests to drop a sequel to Feels Like '93, but he also knows that it's rare for any sequel to ever live up to the original.

He remains grateful that his song continues to grab traction every time the Habs get on a run.

The Montreal Canadiens celebrate after sweeping the Winnipeg Jets. Now, they will take on the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the semi-finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

He does however plan to update some of the lyrics to reference today's players on the original track and release it in the coming weeks like he has already done with one of his other Habs theme songs "Rock The Sweater".

"It's bliss for an artist, it makes you feel like you made something that endures and that it's a classic. As a musician that's exactly what you want."

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