It’s still feeling like 1993

Two weeks ago I wrote about how the Montreal Canadiens’ Stanley Cup playoff run through two rounds was feeling a lot like 1993, their last cup win. But heading into the third round, their chances didn’t look great.

In the next round they’ll face Las Vegas, a team which doesn’t bear much resemblance to their 1993 opponent — a New York Islanders team fresh off a shocking upset of the defending two-time Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. But what is familiar is that no one gives Montreal a chance of winning this series. Just like they had no chance against Toronto, and not much of one against Winnipeg.

But then, on Thursday night, the Habs scored in overtime of game six to punch their ticket to the finals. They’ll face the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team who only joined in the league in the 1992-93 season, but which has won twice since then — including last year. The Lightning are loaded with superstars, and heavily favoured.

Just how Montreal likes it.

Cover photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Time for a change

I don’t talk much about work on here, but it’s not really a secret that I’ve spent my entire career — save a two-year stint in software which ended not long before the beta version of this blog was born, in 2001 — in banking. Next week, that changes.

I never really expected to work for a bank, despite having a business degree. I was recruited out of university by a very large one where I spent two years, then went to the afore-mentioned software company for a couple years, before returning to the same large bank for (*checks notes*) twelve years. In 2013 I switched to a much smaller bank, and did some cool stuff there, but about two weeks ago I gave my notice. I wasn’t looking to leave, but an opportunity came up, and when I sat back and looked at it, I decided 22 years in banking was enough. (And about 20 more than I ever thought I’d last.)

The opportunity that came up is actually in the wine world, so I’ll be excited to marry up my professional background with a personal passion. My current company didn’t even get that mad when I told them — they know how into wine I am, and how infrequently an opportunity like this would come along. I’ll have lots to learn in a new industry, but hopefully lots to offer as well. The only downside I can think of right now is that I’ll have to commute to Mississauga, which means I’ll have to own a car for the first time in my life.

So next week is my last week, and the rush is on to get everything wrapped up & squared away. I’m taking the final week of June off, to give my brain a bit of a break. I considered getting out of town, but between this final sprint and a huge deliverable that Lindsay’s working on, I think I might just spend those days lying on the couch, or sitting in the backyard, or maybe going to a patio. (Speaking of which: I went to Chez Nous on Monday, my first patio in…I literally don’t even remember how long.)

Anyway, I’m excited. It’s a little scary, but good scary. And I’m ready.

.:.

Cover photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

It’s beginning to feel like 1993

I’ve always been a hockey fan, and specifically a Montreal Canadiens fan, but I was never quite so obsessed as in the early 90s. In 1993 Montreal won the Stanley Cup, their last, and the last for any Canadian team. I remember every game. I could name the entire lineup, forward lines and D pairings included. And while they’ve only won two rounds, the Canadiens’ run in this year’s playoffs is starting to show some parallels.

In round 1 they were underdogs against a top-flight team, Toronto. In 1993, that team was Quebec. Quebec was up two games in the series before Montreal won 4 straight to move on.

Last week, in the second round, they swept Winnipeg, a bit of a surprise opponent after shocking the favoured Oilers. In 1993 they swept Buffalo in the second round, the Sabres having shocked the mighty Bruins in the opening series.

Montreal is riding a hot, seemingly unflappable goalie in Carey Price, much as Patrick Roy was after shaky games in the first series. Philip Danault is doing his best Guy Carbonneau impression, all but dismantling the other team’s top lines. The current team lacks offensive stars the likes of Muller, Damphousse, Bellows, and LeClair, but is rolling four lines.

The similarities get fuzzy now though. In the next round they’ll face Las Vegas, a team which doesn’t bear much resemblance to their 1993 opponent — a New York Islanders team fresh off a shocking upset of the defending two-time Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. But what is familiar is that no one gives Montreal a chance of winning this series. Just like they had no chance against Toronto, and not much of one against Winnipeg.

Frankly, this is all gravy for me. I never expected them to make it out of the first round. Beating Toronto in their first series since 1979, coming back from 3-1 down and sending Leafs fans ever deeper than usual into their annual pit of despair…that’s all I needed.

215

I keep trying to write something, but I keep stumbling and giving up. I think about sharing the same thing on Instagram as everyone else, but I feel like I’m just noise at this point. I mean, how do you make your brain reconcile something like this?

I obviously didn’t experience this myself. I didn’t lose kids this way. I don’t have kids at all, and I imagine every parent who never asked themselves before how it would have felt to lose their child — or even lose their child — this way, must be asking themselves this week. Even with all that buffer and privilege, it still overwhelms my brain and brings me to tears.

This is our history. This is our legacy to face. These 215 bodies, still trapped in the earth we stole from them. The thousands and thousands of dead and abused. Generations of trauma. This is Canada. South Africa took tips on how to implement Apartheid from us. This has to be faced and reckoned with. Others have done the work for us to tell us how. We need national acceptance and political will.

I’m saying nothing new or insightful here. I’m just processing into a keyboard.

Tomorrow I’ll attend this march, and try to process some more, and try to help where I can.