The Opossum-Palooza

It's okay. We don't know what the name means either.


NHL Preview: Montreal Canadiens

Welcome to part three of our thirty part series previewing the NHL season. Today's topic dujoir: The Montreal Canadiens. (Note: For full effect, this entire preview should be read out loud with a bad French accent.)

The Montreal Canadiens, also known as the Habs for those of you who want to impress that French-Canadian woman at the bar, are one of the oldest, most succesful teams in professional sports. Only the New York Yankees have more championships (26 to the Habs' 24). This is, of course, completely meaningless when it comes time to play actual hockey games, much to the chagrin of Quebecois everywhere. Since winning their last Stanley Cup thirteen years ago, the team has missed the playoffs five times and bowed out in the first round an additional four. They have yet to make it out of the second round since the days when Patrick Roy led them to glory.

This year doesn't look to be much different. After being eliminated in the first round in 2006, the Canadiens made few significant moves during the summer, signing forward Sergei Samsonov and trading underachieving winger Richard Zednik to Washington for a third round draft pick. Their most significant personnel move actually came in the midst of the '05-'06 season, when they traded starting goaltender Jose Theodore to Colorado in exchange for Avalanche starter David Abeischer. In continuing the proud Montreal tradition of goaltenders with names that invalidate everything you learned from "Hooked On Phonics", Abeischer will compete with Cristobal Huet for the starting job during training camp. All in all, another first round exit would probably be an optimistic outlook this year for the Habs.

"Habs", by the way, is short for "Les Habitants", for those of you who were wondering. The nickname stems from a 1924 incident in which Madison Square Garden owner Tex Rickard was erroneously informed that the H in the Canadiens logo stood for "habitants", at the time a French-Canadian term for Quebecois farmers, since all the players came from life on farms. The H actually stands for "hockey", as in "Club de Hockey Canadien" which was the name of the team at the time, but the nickname stuck, an everlasting tribute to the power of ignorant Americans named Tex.

For your Habs-related blogging, check out The Habs Network.

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At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Change that to


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