At the Habs house, lifting the traffic cone is lifting the Stanley Cup
Just as the Montreal Canadiens should not enter the Stanley Cup final, the orange traffic cone should not become the undisputed symbol of the city of Montreal.
But when the Montrealers woke up on Friday after an unforgettable National Day and saw Habs playing their ticket to the premier hockey event, we left a picture of the fans raising the cone above their heads to celebrate.
So why not? The traffic cone is a strange and perfect metaphor for the team. Let me explain.
Symbol of work in progress
Getting the team to this point is a long and arduous construction. For fans, it usually feels like a project that will never be completed.
It’s a bit like the feeling of a Montrealer every time they drive past a construction site, where there seems to be no work done, but there are cones everywhere.
General Manager Marc Bergevin’s build doesn’t always look like it will come together.
Sometimes, his plan does not look like a plan, but more like a detour on a site where workers are idle.
The work is not finished yet. But the parts assembled by Bergevin are being put together, and it is clear that there has always been a blueprint.
Irrational anger and misleading passion
Who among us didn’t turn a corner in Montreal, but lost control when we saw a traffic cone?
Habs showed the best and the worst among fans. In retrospect, some ideas that took root in the fan base several times are stupid in retrospect.
Here are some examples.
- Carey Price needs to be traded because he can’t steal a game in the playoffs, and having a goalkeeper worth $10.5 million is not the formula to win the championship.
- Artturi Lehkonen had to leave because despite his many good aspects in the game, he could not score.
- Habs’ defensive cores Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson are too big and too slow for today’s NHL.
- Cole Caufield’s development is ruined because Habs is driving him to the NHL level
Like most things that yell when we see a traffic cone, when we step back, it’s clear that they probably shouldn’t be said.
The cone slows down the outsider
If you are not from Montreal, driving into the city can be a daunting task.
There are cones everywhere, and even with plans and GPS to help you, you may be distorted and desperately lost.
Opponents of Habs in the 2021 playoffs can be linked.
Their game plan looks great on paper. But when they were on the ice, the team faced the Habs forward, who had become the masters of slowing down in the neutral zone and forcing them to make uncomfortable adjustments.
Then the opponent must bypass the detour of the bruised blue line that Habs mentioned earlier, and their progress is even slower.
If the opponent can pass all of these, Carey Price will wait for a “rue barrée” (road closed) sign at the crease of his goal to show a good measure.
Habs defeated the strong team 30 consecutive times in 13 games. Their ability to hinder opponents’ offense in the playoffs is the key to their success.
The cone is a symbol of the fusion of the old and the new
The Montreal Canadiens has a long history, and the club has been doing a great job in integrating into the modern team.
Just as a construction site integrates traditional buildings into a modern appearance, integrating the old and the new is also a way for the team to find a winning formula.
The Habu team has a series of attractive young people on the roster, such as Cole Caulfield, Jespericot Kaniemi and Nick Suzuki, who sparked the game. They are supported by the steady hands of veterans with championship pedigrees, such as Corey Perry, Eric Starr and Shay Webb.
This combination allows the children to fly freely on the ice, while the veterans use their previous experience to keep them moving forward.
So, Montrealers, please lift the cone high. The finals will be very difficult, but maybe, after all these waits, this is the team, and this is the year this year.