What We Learned on 24CH: 2014 Winds Down [S3:E14]

(Photo by Dave Sidaway)

by Erica, Staff Writer and Fundraising Specialist, All Habs Hockey Magazine

(Photo by Dave Sidaway)
Brendan Gallagher (Photo by Dave Sidaway)
MONTREAL, QC. — This week’s episode of 24CH opens with the narrator listing beloved holiday foods, over a montage of the Canadiens putting in hard work at the practice complex. They’re trying to get out of holiday mode, and it looks like they’re not there yet. Here’s what we learned:
The holidays don’t last forever. The aforementioned “holiday mode” takes some work to get out of. After that first post-Christmas practice, Brendan Gallagher jokes that he needs to “work off that extra turkey leg” he ate. Hockey players – they’re just like us! Except most of us don’t need to endure a post-holiday weigh-in. The Canadiens are weighed weekly by Strength and Conditioning coach Pierre Allard to ensure that they’re staying at an optimal weight and not losing important muscle mass.
A player is only as good as his fuel. This episode focused on the hard work of team nutritionist Melanie Olivier. She plans diets to ensure that players are in game shape in every possible way, from calorie consumption to muscle building. She has taught a few of the players how to shop for their own groceries, and shyly notes that some of the younger players had never bought their own groceries. She adds that a few of the players have not only developed good habits, but have been able to tailor their dietary requirements to their tastes. We follow Michael Bournival as he stops for groceries, checking out fresh produce, and heads home to cook himself a steak. It’s like watching a cooking show with a very shy host who knows how to make one thing very well.
This episode also introduces the catering company that has fed the Canadiens their practice and gameday meals for the last six years. Menus have evolved since they began working with Olivier, going from a simple pasta-and-chicken rotation to a variety of proteins, sides, and starches. Team meals are a full buffet, catering to the players’ dietary needs, tastes, and big-league appetites. Younger players need so much fuel that it’s not unnatural for them to eat up to 5000 calories in a day in order to be able to play at a competitive level. And once they’re done competing, what do the players do? Chow down on postgame pizza, of course. Entire segments on nutrition were followed by locker room pizza and an in-game cameo appearance by celebrity chef and foie gras enthusiast Martin Picard. The irony of it all is delicious.
What a difference a year makes. Like the rest of us, 24CH used the holidays as a time to reflect on the year that was. For the Montreal Canadiens, 2014 was a year of risky roster moves. The team acquired players like 24CH favourite Dale Weise, and let go of players whose spots on the roster needed to be vacated – so of course there was the obligatory reminder that Josh Gorges and Brian Gionta are now Buffalo Sabres, and that Travis Moen doesn’t go here anymore. 2014 was the year that the unexpected happened – a playoff run could be full of surprise and promise, and the NHL’s most historic organization could do away with tradition by naming four alternate captains. One thing that didn’t change is Carey Price – injury aside, he was calm and reliable, and a big reason why the Habs ended 2014 on top of their game.
2015 will be a new year, and we’ll just have to see what the team and 24CH have in store for us.

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