Thursday, May 01, 2008

Reasons to Believe

It's come down to this dear readers: Game 5 in Montreal on a May evening.

I know I'm being hypocritical by turning my criticism in for faith, but frankly I'm tired of criticising just now and all I want is to feel better about the chances of winning. I know many of you feel the same way.

There are a lot of "Ifs", though. If when the Canadiens hit the post, the puck flies into the slot not into the corner. If the team can score in the first period. If they could take a lead. If the PP (which is starting to look better, btw) could convert. The list goes on.

Well, in elimination games there are always "Ifs", but it is the composition of the team that is iced that will decide how many matter. Ultimately, it will come down to individual battles – races, wrestling matches, battles of discipline.

I want to start a list now of reasons to believe. I'll start, and then I would love it if people would send in their own reasons through the comments.

I believe the Canadiens will win Game 5. To start with:

1) Saku Koivu

The best pressure player I have ever seen on any team I support. In the past 4 NHL seasons, he has played in 6 elimination games. In those 6 games, he has 2 goals and 9 assists, and has been the star of most as well. That's even without considering his victories over terrible injuries and illness. Can he play better? We may find it hard to conceive how he might, but he will – it's what he does. And, so for Captain Courageous:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

And, how many times has he done just that?

Now, I want to leave it open to you readers. Please send in your reason(s) to believe. I'll gather them and compile them for the game on Saturday.

As "If" is one theme of this email, I will leave you all to ponder the immortal words of Rudyard Kipling in full – which never fail to rouse a downtrodden heart:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Go Habs Go.

Come on fans, let em feel the belief on Saturday...

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