RICKTER SCALE: Hockey hopes run in hits and misses

Puck-eyed optimism often tempered by reality

If I wrote this two weeks ago, it would have reeked of the vitriol you reserve for your worst enemy. Or, it may have sounded like the ramblings of some poor soul on death row counting down to an end that draws nearer with each passing day.

Two weeks ago, the Montreal Canadiens were sinking in a quagmire so deep that each defeat seemed to spiral further into a bottomless pit. They couldn’t score, they couldn’t skate; they looked like a team a team that had cashed it in.

Adding to the misery, Carey Price was once again on the sidelines dealing with a “minor injury” shrouded in enough mystery that it was beginning to feel like two years ago when he was shut down for the season.

The lowest point was a conversation with my brother, where I screamed for the heads of the coach and GM to plop into the crapper because the team I watched the night before –my brother knows better than to ever call after a loss – looked terrible in a 6-0 beat down on home ice by the hated Leafs.

They looked so lost that you would be accused of having misplaced most of your marbles for even whispering any thought of making the playoffs.

Less than a fortnight later, or two weeks for all you youngsters out there, Price is back and playing at his best. And the team that couldn’t find the back of the net with a compass has reeled off five wins in a row, scoring 16 in the last two games. Even the most skeptical Montreal fan would be hard-pressed to write them off just yet, as long as the team performs the way it is playing now.

That puck-eyed optimism, however, is also tempered by the reality that two weeks from now could find me cursing everything that is Canadien into my keyboard once again.

It’s strange and confusing how the fates of a team so far away, a group you’re only connected to by television, can have such a stranglehold on your psyche for parts of autumn, winter and spring.

If you’re a Vancouver fan, there’s a new found sense of confidence sparked by the addition of promising young players that has you feeling like your team is finally ready to run with the big dogs again. Jets, Flames and Leafs fans may even be dreaming of a shot at the Stanley Cup. Senators and Oilers fan, however, are wondering how the promise of getting so close last year has unravelled so quickly.

Whatever logo you wear on your heart or sleeve, remember that how good you feel today can do a complete 180 after two more weeks have rolled off the calendar. Never get too high or too low, just go with the flow. Great advice I’m happy to share, but unable to follow for reasons I can’t clearly explain.

•••

Rick Stiebel is a Sooke resident and semi-retired journalist, who for whatever reason has an undying love for the Habs.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Uptown lights up the holiday season

Annual event drew crowd of all ages for parade and Christmas tree lighting

New figures show City of Victoria spent $30,000 to remove Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Man arrested in Colwood sentenced for trafficking fentanyl

The man was arrested in February and has been sentenced to three years imprisonment

West Shore youth looking to give back this Christmas

Chase Doucette will hand out bags of warm apparel to the homeless

Local leaders of all ages honoured at National Philanthropy Day event

Awards in six categories given to Victoria residents who are leaders in giving back

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom (updated)

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Most Read