I had the privilege of partaking in the annual Habs Inside/Out fan summit this past weekend, and I can't recall a weekend where I had quite this much fun. It was great to put faces to names, although slightly nerve racking at the beginning because you don't know who's going to be there. Perhaps you meet up with someone you've had a heated argument in the past (Hello Tommy B!), and it might be awkward, but all that quickly falls away. Within minutes everyone sees each other without the vague tone of text, and communication becomes clear. We're Habs fans, and we all want the same thing, wins.
On Friday it seemed like everyone was a little nervous about the outcome of the weekend, a back to back with Washington and Detroit surely spelled disaster for a team with so much inconsistency and so many injuries, but the boys pulled off an unlikely win in Washington, and the confidence was flowing. Luckily for many fan's livers, even Marc-Andre Bergeron turned in a pretty solid performance against Washington.
On Saturday a tour of the Bell Centre, where many of us sat in Mike Boone's chair, was followed by a few drinks at Ye Olde Orchard Pub, and a ton of Habs stories shared by some great fans that I feel very privileged to have met in person. And in true Habs Inside/Out fashion the true stories soon gave way to a challenge, of who could MAKE the best stories. For example what is the REAL reason why Sergei Kostitsyn missed the bus in preseason, the more absurd the better. And if that doesn't catch your fancy, then who on Habs Inside/Out is Chris Chelios' illegitimate love child?
It was also an honour to meet Dave Stubbs, although unfortunately I wasn't able to stay at Hurley's long enough to meet some of the others who contribute to the site like Mike Boone and Chris Aung-Thwin. These guys give us some great topics to talk about, and despite what many say about the moderators of the site, they do their best to keep the site civil and that's a good thing. I don't think any other NHL team has a website that functions as well as ours for discourse among so many fans, and it's awesome to have it provided to us by these gentlemen.
After a rough first period there was a sour mood at the Bell Centre on Saturday, but thanks to the team rallying around a solid performance by Price, a new 1st line emerged 9 seconds into the 3rd period as Cammalleri converted on a dandy drop pass by the awakened Andrei Kostitsyn. All of a sudden, and in true Habs fan form, the Bell Centre was rocking. A short time later Kostitsyn made yet another perfect pass to Cammalleri, which tied the game. Unfortunately we couldn't tie the Vancouver Canucks' record of 9 straight OT and SO victories, but we stole a point when all seemed lost. We were proud of a Canadiens team that was very depleted with injuries, so there were no hard feelings. In fact I think I almost went nuts when we tied it, as evidenced by this!
In closing I'd like to give a big thanks to Ian Cobb, who organized this summit and worked his tail off to keep up with the young guns. You did a great job Ian, thanks for a perfect weekend! I'll leave you all with this today:
To you with failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high