ok, so the habs decided to lay down and die last night. really, from the third period of game four on, they looked like they’d thrown it in. they were up two games to one, with a three-goal third period lead. then came the bullshit cross-checking call, then the bench minor. then came the folding of the tents.
after the sting of lost opportunity passes, the canadiens and their fans will reflect on the season, and how improbable their playoff run really was. saku koivu, their captain and best forward was diagnosed with cancer, for christ’s sake. they traded for donald audette to add offensive spark, and he promptly placed his arm under a skate and was lost for most of the season. also lost for an extended period was sheldon souray. doug gilmour, their leader in the second half, was unofficially retired a year earlier. and then there was the hero, the saviour, the bedrock…jose theodore, whose playoff experience was next to nil but whose regular season earned him nominations for both the hart and vezina trophies. this team should never have made the playoffs, let alone upset the goliath bruins in the first round. they were better than anyone could have expected.
which is why it now feels so raw to think of what they had by the throat…and let slip away.