My new six-game "weekday" ticket pack finally kicks in tonight, so I'll finally get to see a seat in my new seats in the front row of the upper deck. That alone is exciting, but then consider the opponent.
The Montreal Canadiens. The HABS.
As a fast-learning student of the game, I can't help but be excited to see the CBJ, in their 10th season, take on one of the original powers of the league - now in its 101st season. I mean, think about it: The Habs have 24 Stanley Cups...nearly two and a half times as many championship seasons as the Jackets have...seasons. This team is dripping with history and prestige, and they know how to show it off. Take this 100th Anniversary Alumni warmup session from last season (December 4, 2009 to be exact):
How cool is that? These guys were legends in their day. And we're taking this franchise on tonight at Nationwide. Bring it.
Another thing I love about the Canadiens is that while they respect and honor their history, they're not entirely bound by it (unlike my Notre Dame Fighting Irish football...sigh). Bob Gainey, their general manager last season, saw the post-lockout changes in the NHL rules for what they were and retooled his roster to match. The Habs have small (smurf-like) forwards that buzz around the ice like waterbugs, shooting like mad. The forwards are backed up by big but fast defensemen. And their goalie, while young, is still finding himself and promises to be a good one.
|Blue Jackets. Canadiens. Tonight. Nationwide Arena.|
(Flickr photo by proacguy1)
The game's not on local TV tonight (but Fox Sports Ohio, in a very classy move, is permitting the NHL Center Ice package to carry the Habs' feed in the Columbus market area so those at home with Center Ice can see the game). All the more reason to buy a ticket, get your rear ends down to Nationwide Arena and see what looks like a good game. The Northeast Division-leading Habs have 15 points in 11 games, and the (currently) playoff-qualifying Blue Jackets have 12 points in 10 games.
If an early season game like this - two quality teams, a unique inter-conference matchup, legendary hockey history on display here in Columbus - doesn't get you as a hockey fan excited, I don't know what to tell you.