Week 25 in One Word: Void

April 25, 2022

Void

/vȯid/

a large hole or empty space

Similar: empty, vacant, blank, hole

not valid or legally binding

Week 25 was busy with four games on the agenda for the Montreal Canadiens. On Tuesday, the Minnesota Wild were in town and once again the Habs couldn’t score for Carey in a 2-0 loss. On Thursday with the Habs facing the visiting Philadelphia Flyers, the defence was rough and Carey wished a few back in a 6-3 loss. The Habs were on the road to Ottawa on Saturday to face the Senators and it was another goaltender’s nightmare in a 6-4 loss. On Sunday, the Habs were back at the Bell to face the Boston Bruins, but the feature was a beautiful tribute to Guy Lafleur. The 5-3 loss was a sub-plot.

Here’s how I saw Week 25 go down.

This week featured a void in the “wins” column.

Not one win. Not even an overtime loss. If we’re honest, there wasn’t even a near miss. Zero wins. Nil. A void if you will.

This outcome is, of course, not shocking for a team that has just 20 wins in 80 games played so far. The outcome is, in fact, clarifying. The Marty Magic was not enough to turn this team around. Inserting a few kids, even if they are the right kind of kids to move forward with, is not enough.

The work that needs to be done is deep work, and there may be a few more voids in that win column before things turn around.

“Work certainly does help fill a void.” ~ Judi Dench

Many have questioned why Carey Price would want to return to the team at the very end of a desperately losing season. Carey answered that question and demonstrated he’s flesh and blood like the rest of us. For sure, he wanted to test the knee and see if he can still perform at a high level. Obviously, his pride will not allow him to be a burden to the team. But he also said something very telling – being the goalie for the Montreal Canadiens is a giant part of his identity. Yes, work certainly does help fill a void.

Price played four games. In the first two he looked comfortable, making everything look easy. He looked like himself. The rest of the team looked like themselves also, losing those first two contests in shutouts. The next two games were a little dicier for Carey – two high-scoring losses where he wished some goals back. His timing was off, and he wasn’t tracking the puck well. The performances weren’t exactly Pricesque,

On Sunday the Habs recalled Cayden Primeau on an emergency basis, and the coach informed us that Price is day-to-day and will be re-evaluated. On Monday morning, the Montreal Canadiens announced that Carey Price is their nominee for the Masterton Trophy.

I wonder how Carey is feeling. Will he return and be a leader for the Habs, on and off the ice, or will there be a great void in the place an elite goalie used to occupy? If the latter, HuGo may be wishing for loopholes to void a franchise player’s contract.

The death of Guy Lafleur left a giant void where a hero used to be.

Like so many of you, I grew up idolizing Guy Lafleur. My earliest memories of hockey include him streaking down the wing, sans helmet of course. I’m old enough to have owned an NHL colouring book that featured Guy! His was the name we commentated when playing pond hockey.

My earliest lesson about the business of hockey came from Lafleur. I was disappointed when he retired, but more so when he un-retired in a different jersey. I was a kid, and I was mad at Guy. Then my older brother explained he’d been forced to retire, and my ire shifted to the Habs.

Years later, as an adult, I stayed at a hotel and golf club in Quebec owned by Marian Stastny. Marian was checking me in when I spotted a framed photo of the brothers with Guy Lafleur. Guy was in the wrong jersey, and it irked me again! Despite the way his playing career ended in Montreal, Guy Lafleur went on to be an ambassador for the Montreal Canadiens and, as a fan, that helped right a wrong. If we could see him at events, we still had a hero. Last night, the Montreal faithful remembered him and it was bittersweet to watch.

For fans of the Montreal Canadiens, we now have a void where a hero used to be.

The loss of Guy Lafleur draws attention to a few voids surrounding the Habs. There’s a void where Stanley Cup parades used to be – where contemporary Stanley Cup banners should hang. Guy’s passing reminds us of an era where local heroes carried the Montreal Canadiens to greatness. There is a current void in the local hero department.

Perhaps the most devastating of all for those of us who remember when Guy’s name was chanted following a big goal is the void of expectation. Too many years of hearing the loser’s mantra of “make it to the playoffs and anything can happen.” Too many years of good being the enemy of great. Too many years of hearing about taxes and pressure and media jerks and trades are hard. A new generation has such low expectations of this storied franchise that there is little pressure to even be mediocre.

To quote my buddy @stock_guy1 on Twitter, “The best way for the Habs to honour Guy Lafleur is to do this rebuild well, go get talent at the top of the draft that Guy would not call a bunch of third liners (as he has in the past) and bring a cup back to Montreal.”

With two games left in the season, the Montreal Canadiens are in first place on Capfriendly.com and in last place in points. This is a glorious opportunity that HuGo should exploit to bring some high-end talent to Montreal. The time is ripe to rebuild properly.

It’s time to fill the void.

Published by Lori Bennett

Hockey is my hobby. I love a respectful hockey chat or debate, but it stops being fun if we're jerks.

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