POSTED ON Thursday, 12.01.2012 / 3:29 PM
 
When Ray Lussier showed up at the Boston Garden on May 10, 1970, the photographer probably had no idea that he was hours away from snapping one of the most important and recognizable photos in the history of professional hockey. Nor could he have known that the photo taken would eventually be brought to life in the form of a statue some 40 years down the road. The statue, entitled “The Goal” was unveiled on May 10, 2010 and stands in front of the TD Garden as a reminder to passers by of the iconic hockey moment. The statue depicts a 22-year-old Bobby Orr, tripping over Noël Picard’s stick and taking flight after scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal for the Bruins. The resulting fall might have left a few bruised on the young defenseman, but it was likely a small price to pay to earn his way into the hockey history books.



Efficient. There's pretty much no better way to describe the work that the employees at the TD Garden in Boston are doing. Not even two hours after the players skated off the ice at the end of Thursday's Habs-Bruins game, and the ice was already gone altogether -- replaced by seats and a basketball court for the upcoming Celtics-Bulls match-up. With around 41 hockey games every year and another 41 basketball games all being hosted at the TD Garden, the switch has no choice but to be executed faster than a mid-game trade.


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POSTED ON Friday, 30.12.2011 / 7:30 PM
Who says there’s no snow in Florida? We’d be lying if we said we were sad to have missed the snowstorm that hit Montreal this week, but we have to admit we have a little soft spot for the white stuff. It may not be organic and it definitely didn’t fall from the sky, but there’s still something comforting about seeing a big snow fort (or pile…) even in the 26ºC heat. The best part? We didn’t have to brush it off our cars afterwards!



Visitors’ rooms in most NHL arenas are intentionally cramped, providing little room for the 23 massive hockey players on hand to get dressed. Add bags, goalie pads, sticks and the swarm of Montreal media that follow the Canadiens to the mix and things can get pretty cozy in the opposing dressing room. That’s why the team’s PR staff thought it would make more sense to do Friday’s media scrums in the great outdoors under the mid-day sun – a decision the players and coaching staff (and media) didn’t seem to mind in the least...



On December 4, 2009, the Montreal Canadiens celebrated the franchise’s 100th birthday the only way we knew how: with legends of the game suiting up for one last skate around the ice in full gear. On March 27 this year, it was the City of Fort Lauderdale’s turn to ring in its Centennial. While the only ice at that soiree may have been in blended margarita form, from the sounds of the official Centennial Committee Web site, it was a rocking party just the same.




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POSTED ON Wednesday, 28.12.2011 / 11:40 PM

Want to find the best way to feel right at home down south? Come to a Tampa Bay Lightning game in December. With so many Quebec snowbirds and Habs fans flocking to Florida for the holidays, it’s hard to walk through the St. Pete Times’ concourse without hearing the familiar “Olé” chants ringing through the halls. Here’s a small sampling of some of the jersey-clad fans who made the trek to Tampa to cheer on their team in person. Way to represent, guys!



Pay a visit to the Bell Centre for a game and you’re bound to notice the bronze statues of Canadiens legends adorning Centennial Plaza just outside the front doors. A few thousand kilometres south, Tampa has its own version of urban art decorating the path leading up to St. Pete Times Forum. This 75-foot triple-pronged lightning bolt statue has been welcoming Lighting fans to home games since 1997 – although it looks a lot more festive when the plaza is packed for the pre-game tailgate party.



The NHL’s annual Winter Classic provides players with an opportunity to relive some of their favourite childhood hockey memories. While the Habs won’t be playing in the great outdoors this season, they still managed to channel their inner Atom players in Tampa Bay, suiting up in full gear – minus skates – to board the team bus heading for the practice facility. Looks like the days of riding in mom’s minivan to the rink at 6:00 a.m. aren’t so far behind them afterall…

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 27.12.2011 / 2:00 PM

Think you spent the holidays running around preparing for company? Imagine how the Senators feel. After hosting the Panthers in their final home game before the Christmas break, the team hit the road for Carolina while Scotiabank Place staffers were hard at work sprucing up the arena back in Kanata. SBP is getting a facelift in time for the 2012 All-Star Game with the addition of a brand new HD scoreboard with six times more viewing area than the previous one. As Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels often says, “The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30 on Saturday night.” The same is true for the Sens, who will debut their yet-to-be-completed scoreboard on Tuesday when the Habs hit the ice, although the finishing touches won’t actually be put on the 2,170 square foot monster until the All-Star Game festivities kick off at the end of January.

We here at canadiens.com find it interesting that a team called the “Ottawa Senators” only kind of plays in Ottawa. Sure, technically since the city amalgamated its 23 wards, Kanata is part of the Greater Ottawa Area, but based on the cost of the cab ride from downtown to Scotiabank Place, we’re going to go ahead and assume Kanata still isn’t considered “The Heart of the City” by many locals…

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POSTED ON Thursday, 22.12.2011 / 3:00 PM
 
If you take a stroll down memory lane, you might recall our first visit to Winnipeg back on October 9 of this year for the Jets home-opener. Always willing to take one for the team, we went out to conduct a personal test and discover if the famed corner of Portage and Main is actually the coldest intersection in all of Canada, as legend would seem to suggest. Turns out it wasn’t all that cold… In the end we conceded that we were only there in October after all, and a better test would be in December when the team would return for their final road game before Christmas, when we would test the weather in more optimal conditions. Which brings us to today. We opted for a more scientific method this time around and employed the use of a thermometer. The results were a brisk, but certainly not bone-chillingly-cold, -8 degrees Celsius… just like pretty much every other intersection we passed through on our way to the arena.

               

If you find yourself in the mood to impress your family and friends over the holidays – or even make a bit of money on bets if you’re up for it – ask people if they can name you the first-ever team to win a Olympic goad medal in hockey. Chances are they’re not going to respond with the Winnipeg Falcons – which incidentally is the correct answer. The Falcons represented Canada in Antwerp, Belgium in the 1920 Olympics, bringing home the gold and bragging rights in the process. The MTS Center has a display honoring their exploits, with the original jerseys worn at the tournament, newspaper clippings and a mural of the championship team.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 20.12.2011 / 3:27 PM
 
Ah! Marilyn Monroe. It’s hard not to think of the legendary sex-symbol without that famous scene from The Seven Year Itch coming to mind. Not only is the scene of her, wearing a billowy dress that “just-so-happens” to get blown up as she walks over a windy sidewalk grate one of the most famous images in cinematic history – it’s pretty darn sexy to boot. While we were wandering around Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile”, an area well known for its street art, we couldn’t help but notice that the statues that once marked an ode to the painting American Gothic had been removed and replaced instead by none other than a towering 26-foot-tall statue of Monroe in her famous pose. It took about five minutes of standing there to realize that tourists’ photo-pose of choice with this landmark was to stand beneath it, grin widely and look straight up.

                                   

If you’re at all interested by American politics, you probably found yourself glued to the TV screen on November 4, 2008 watching Barack Obama address voters and the rest of the United States following his election as President. With more than 100,000 people looking on live from Grant Park, Obama delivered his unforgettable “Yes We Can” speech to the nation. Looking to get a little taste of that historical moment ourselves, we made our way over the site while we were in town. To be honest, it’s a bit less impressive when you show up on a cold morning in the middle of December and there’s only one lone guy in the whole space picking up after his dog. Luckily, thanks to our smartphone, all it took was a quick Youtube search to watch the inspiring speech while standing right where it had taken place.


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POSTED ON Monday, 19.12.2011 / 3:26 PM
 
The Club level over at the TD Garden also functions as a mini-museum dedicated to the athletic exploits of all the different sports organizations from the Boston area. Pay a visit and you’ll be able to take a look at old planks of wood taken from the floor of the Boston Garden where the Celtic enjoyed many moments of glory, old Patriots uniform, a Red Sox mural, snapshots from a few legendary boxing bouts, and a whole lot more. While we were wandering from display to display enjoying all the history, one particular exhibit caught our eye – the university hockey display. We were curious to see how front-and-center Canadiens captain, Brian Gionta would be, considering he captained Boston College to the 2001 NCAA Championship early in his career. As it turns out… unless the canadiens.com staff could benefit from a trip to the optometrist, Gionta's time captaining the Boston College squad was left off the exhibit altogether.



If you happen to be catching a Habs-Bruins game in Beantown, don’t consider your trip complete unless you’ve paid a visit to the Union Oyster House. Not only is it a stone’s throw away from the TD Garden, but after walking through its doors you’ll also be able to lay claim to having visited the oldest restaurant in the United States of America. Named a National Historic Landmark in 2003, the Oyster House opened its doors all the way back in 1826 – making it almost 200 years old. Sure, they have tables like any other dining establishment, but for the best experience, try and grab a seat right at the oyster bar itself. The wooden counter (from what we could tell) has never been changed and its front is actually worn away at a slight angle from so many people leaning against it over the years while devouring their oysters. Not an oyster fan? The joint also serves up a variety of traditional New England fare including lobsters, baked beans and steak.


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POSTED ON Saturday, 10.12.2011 / 1:26 PM
 Two’s company; three’s a crowd. If that’s true, it’s about to be one talented crowd hanging together up in the Prudential Center rafters. Ken Daneyko’s No.3 and Scott Stevens’ No.4 are about to get some Hall-of-Fame company high above the ice in New Jersey as Scott Niedermayer’s No.27 is set to be retired by the Devils on December 16. Congratulations Scott, and thanks for teaching Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez everything they know!


When we created Carey Price’s yellow “Price de Nice” T-shirt in honor of cult French film Brice de Nice for his All-Star campaign video, we didn’t realize we were sparking a new fashion trend. After cracking up at seeing the 23-year-old netminder channeling his inner Jean Dujardin on camera, lifelong Canadiens fan Jean-Sebastien Roy went about having a few replicas made up. The majority of Devils fans in the arena may not be in on the joke, but Roy still got plenty of props from knowing Habs fans in attendance. Cassé!







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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.12.2011 / 3:26 PM
 Who knew California was a hockey hot bed? Since arriving on Monday, we’ve met a surprising number of hockey savvy fans out in the Golden State but none compare to Kosta and Chris Tsangaris at the Redondo Beach Café in Los Angeles. The Montreal ex-pats opened their hockey haven six years ago and have turned the place into the spot to watch Habs and Kings games in L.A. We popped by for some Montreal smoked meat sandwiches and poutine – complete with cheese curds imported fresh from Quebec.



Since the Habs are only out in California once every two years, we wanted to give some of our loyal fans something to remember us by between visits. While filming a HabsTV segment at Redondo Beach, we figured we’d see just how global our brand is and tweet our location out to fans in the area to come by and win some free swag. We handed out hats, shirts and other gifts to the bleu-blanc-rouge clad fans that showed up. No surprise to see which item this little guy chose…



No matter where the Canadiens play, there are always die-hard Habs fans on hand to take over the visiting arena but these jersey-clad fans just upped the ante. We’re not sure what the promotion was, but the Kings really rolled out the red (or black) carpet for this contingent of Canadiens fans in L.A. Way to represent, guys!




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POSTED ON Thursday, 01.12.2011 / 3:25 PM

It was 2:00 a.m. when we arrived in San Jose after our flight out of Anaheim and as we pulled up to our hotel we couldn’t quite make out the shadowy, tent-like figures across the street. What we could only assume was an Occupy San Jose protest actually turned out to be this quaint Christmas village. Stroll through the annual Christmas in the Park and you’ll find over 60 holiday themed exhibits, a 60-foot Christmas tree (the “Community Giving Tree") and maybe even Santa himself. At 72°F and sunny, it’s not exactly a Winter Wonderland, but it’s festive enough for us!





Most of the Habs grew up honing their skills on frozen ponds and outdoor rinks and now kids in San Jose will be able to do the same. Founded in 1996 and located right in the heart of Silicon Valley, Downtown Ice is the largest seasonal outdoor skating rink in The South Bay. We’re not sure how many seasonal outdoor rinks there actually are in the Bay area, but still, impressive nonetheless.





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