“It’s all hopelessness, but we add hope
in a sea of…of hopelessness.”
What is hope, exactly? Hope is the state which promotes the belief in a good outcome related to events in your life. For example, Habs fans hoped. All year they hoped that this would just be a season that they would look back on and not be ashamed of. The 2011-12 season in in a nutshell was the opposite of hope. It was despair. It was depressing. It was aggravating. But we all came back. Why? Because of hope. Fans knew well enough that it couldn’t get any worse. And they were right. In fact, not only did it not get any worse, but it got so much better it surpassed even the greatest optimist’s expectations. 15th to 2nd in one year? You can’t make this stuff up.
Hope drives the hockey fan. It’s what we need to continue this incredible yet extremely emotional and stressful journey of following a sports team. As this shortened season came to an end on a gloomy May night, Habs fans had that feeling. The talk wasn’t about who would get traded in the off season, who they would buy out, or what they need to improve on. It was about how bright the future is of the Montreal Canadiens.
I have been following this team for well over a decade and I cannot begin to remember a series in which the dominant team in four out of the five games came out on the losing end. Do I have to mention the injuries? Lars Eller, Carey Price, Brian Gionta, Ryan White, Brandon Prust, Max Pacioretty. Seperated shoulders, punctured lungs, concussions, torn ligaments, fractured ribs, and likely others we will never know about. This all happened in a span of four games. However, despite all of the injuries and all of the adversity and controversy that came along with it, the players never lost hope until it was well out of their reach. You could see it in each and every game. P.K. Subban declared to the media before Game 5 that the Canadiens were better than the Senators. He knew he was right, many Habs fans knew he was right. It doesn’t matter what the outcome turned out to be, P.K. believed it. If you put enough belief into anything, one day it just might come true. It didn’t come true this year, although one day it’ll maybe become a reality.
That is where Habs fans are at this point. They just want to dream and to believe that all of this will pay off someday. I am not talking about the over 30+ year olds who have seen Stanley Cups and were old enough to witness 1993. I am talking about the younger generation, 20-somethings like me, who have been stuck with mediocre season after mediocre season for way too long, with 2010 being the only exception. The older generation says, “Well, at least I’ve witnessed multiple Cup wins in my lifetime,” as the younger generation sighs and wishes they can see only one in theirs. It is the reason why we still watch this damn sport. From talking to other fans who have experienced it, watching your captain lift the Stanley Cup is one of the greatest feelings you can ever experience. All the heartache, all the pain, all the losses, all the injuries, all the firings, all the drama, all the trades; it is all worth it for that very moment your players whips off their helmets and their gloves and run towards their goalie and jumps into his arms. We all dream of it and if you haven’t then you’re simply lying. We stick around so one day that emotion can happen to us. Habs fans have hope that we’re close. It is going to take a lot of work, but we aren’t far off.
You don’t have hope? Let me show you Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. Two of the biggest stories of the year, who made an impact on the ice almost every night. At just 19 and 21 years old respectively, they will only get better. Carey Price, a 25-year old that still has a lot to accomplish, but he is the backbone of this team and whenever they reach the top of the mountain, he will be there leading the pack.
For the first time in a while, Habs fans have something to be happy about despite being eliminated in only five games in the first round of the playoffs. The team is better than what the result was and many know that. The future is bright and fans are the most optimistic they’ve been in more than ten years. Let’s hope that, our hope, will one day pay off. One of these years, all of it will be worth it. We might even look at the 2012-13 season and say “that was the year that changed everything for us.”
Thank you Marc Bergevin. Thank you Geoff Molson. Thank you Trevor Timmins. And yeah, thank you Michel Therrien. Without any of them, there would be no hope.
To better days ahead.