HNIC: Masters of the Montage [VIDEO]


By Jacob Saltiel, Staff Writer All Habs Hockey Magazine

MONTREAL, QC. — Tonight the Canadiens play their most likely first round playoff opponent, the Leafs, to finish the regular season. Assuming this match-up occurs, they’ll meet again Tuesday. The game will be 300-hnic-60thtelevised on CBC to promote excessive drinking and cursing in Canada. As with all CBC broadcasts, the game will be preceded by an montage set to music, and one hopes that whichever video editing genius they have in the archive will put a little extra sauce on the introduction for the first Habs-Leafs series in decades. To get everybody pumped for the occasion, let’s review some of Hockey Night in Canada’s work from the last few years of their Canadiens coverage.

1. Montreal vs Boston, 1st round, 2011

In no more than a minute and seventeen seconds of runtime, this montage captures the history of the two franchises and the tone of that year’s series. Recent footage is cut up with classic footage, showing such former stars and players as Bob Gainey, Maurice Richard, Larry Robinson, Ken Dryden, Ray Bourque, Bobby Orr, Brad Park, and others alongside the current players of the respective teams. What sounds like Gregorian chanting sets a Lord of the Rings’ish tone to the proceedings for Habs fans, as in, if they don’t defeat the armies of Mordor, civilization is cosmically ruined (and, sure enough, the Bruins won the Cup that year, which was horrible). That and the Canadiens were heavy underdogs. The archival footage sums up the rivalry neatly. Bruins players are shown throwing a series of borderline or flagrantly illegal checks or bloodying Habs players in fights (including the notorious goon, Tom Pyatt), while Habs players are shown scoring goals as their goalies make outrageous saves. One assumes that the distinction between these two types of highlights exists because the Bruins so rarely beat the Canadiens that they, and their fans, can only console themselves by recounting to their children and their children’s children about all of the fights that their goons won against non-combatants. And more power to them for doing so. Habs fans will have to content themselves with weeks of footage of nothing more inspiring than parades and overtime goals.

To get fans pumped for a Habs-Bruins playoff series, one need only mention the start time of game 1. Despite that, this video’s combination of chanting, drums, nostalgia, and blood get the heart pumping and whet the appetite for some competitive ultra-violence.

2. Montreal vs Philadelphia, 3rd round, 2010

The formula should be pretty clear at this point; chanting, controversial moment between teams, grainy footage of Stanley Cup groping, quick recapitulation of recent performance, and big hair. This time, there’s also the radio call of Danny Gallivan, which really only makes sense to people aged about 40 or over. He sounds exciting, but he’s no Bob Cole. What distinguishes this clip from the previous one and should refresh Habs fans is that the villainous moment reproduced for our entertainment was perpetrated by a Canadien, Chris Chelios. Watching a young Chelios scrap with the permanently apoplectic Ron Hextall invites a comparison to the young P.K. Subban, who seems to be about as popular to his opponents. Despite all of the rah-rah Montreal pumping-up that goes in on this video, including Dryden’s soundbite, the Montreal skyline, more footage of Canadiens dynasties, the real item to get Habs fans into the game doesn’t involve the Canadiens at all. It’s hard to imagine anything more fun to watch than a the quick summary of the Flyers’ return from down 3-0 in a series to defeat the Boston Bruins. When Chris Pronger officially retires, can they make a three hour clip of him running Bruins players into the boards?

Fired up from that brief and temperature-raising history lesson, what can one do other than crave watching a pressure-packed game, inventing new and terrible configurations of cuss words, and eventually smashing the television with a St-Ambroise*?

3. Canadiens vs Leafs, December 26th, 2009.

Within the first few moments of watching this video, one could be forgiven for thinking its reference is ironic. Keep watching. It’s not. Whichever comic genius edited this gem knew what he or she was up to. The viewer is treated to multiple shots of the Canadiens in their hideous “Stripes and Shame” throwback jerseys, and clips of seemingly dozens of players lumbering over, falling, bouncing, rolling, or tumbling in response to being punched, jabbed, struck, kneed, checked, decked, hammered, and rolled. Set to the tune of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”,** this becomes farce.

“But,” you might venture, “I feel like a lie-down to recover from that more than a hockey game.”And you’d be right. Lacking any real playoff footage between these teams for decades, (that’s right, Toronto Fans, generating playoff footage for CBC requires making the playoffs- I know, I know, how cruel. Unlike Stanley Cup parades, you actually need to win something to get into the playoffs), this will have to do until, hopefully, Tuesday. With the bar set pretty low, one expects HNIC’s video editors to outdo themselves should the matchup occur. With all due respect to Down Goes Brown, who exhaustively detailed all the great things that might happen if the Habs face the Leafs in the opening round, there’s also good reason to expect some quality montages. Also, Tuesday marks the beginning of the best two weeks of hockey on the calendar; round one of the playoffs. Regardless of whether the Habs make it to round two, let’s get pumped, hydrated, “dehydrated”, and loud for the most exciting tournament in sports.

As always, our state-funded news organization is here to help:


*The official beer of Bob Gainey’s Stare, in case you were wondering.

**For classical music fans reading this, watching Ludwig Van’s Ode to Joy overlayed onto hockey highlights might be something like this:

Before you object; this is a hockey blog, not the conservatory. Go have a manif with the 29 other remaining classical music aficionados if you’re still bent out of shape.

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