97 –  A PERFECT THUNDER STORM IN MONTREAL 1

 

Madonna and Stephen, being seasoned travelers, already knew what hotels they were going to check into, in Vancouver and Ottawa. They directed Kitty, and Lance to the websites of the five star establishments. Margot got up from the table, and said, “I’m gonna go see what’s up with my boys.”

“If the Bruins are involved, let me know, please,” Stephen requested.

“Bruins suck!” Margot laughed. “But I will inform you if your losers made a move!”

The brothers were glued to the screen, as Bob McKenzie, and two other talking heads gave hockey fans their first taste of a STOP THE PRESSES story since the league shut down, not including the brothers’ own STOP THE PRESSES announcement. Margot waited for a commercial break before asking, “What’s the story?”

Marc answered, “McKenzie says Pierre McGuire will be named the Habs’ President of Hockey Operations this afternoon.”

Habs

  • Montreal Canadiens
  • most storied franchise in the NHL, having won 24 Stanley Cups, the last coming on ‘93

Pierre McGuire

  • grew up in Montreal
  • never played in the bigs, but won a Stanley Cup ring as the assistant coach to Scotty Bowman, with the Pittsburgh Penguins in ‘02
  • as NBC’s Between the Glass colour man since 06, McGuire is the best known hockey talking head in the States.

Scotty Bowman

  • Hall of Famer
  • head coach for five of the Montreal Canadiens’ six Stanley Cup championships in the 70s
  • went on to coach the Penguins to their ‘92 Cup victory, and won three more as the Red Wings’ coach in ‘97, ‘98, and ‘02.

Margot was enough of a puck bunny to know that it was big news. “And he will report directly to Molson, and no one else?”

Geoff Molson

  • owner Montreal Canadiens
  • Vice Chairman Molson Coors Breweries

The brothers nodded their heads. “Bergevin is gone, then,” she opined.

Marc Bergevin

  • former NHL player
  • GM of the Habs since ‘12

“That’s what everyone is waiting to hear,” Eric said.

“If you can still place a bet on it, do so,” said the youngest of the Staal brothers, Jared, walking into the bar.

Jared Staal

  • only one of the brothers that never made it in the bigs
  • bounced around in the minors for years, getting no more than a cup of coffee with the Canes, when Eric and Jordan were both playing in Carolina.

“What’s going on?” Jordan asked the youngest brother, “And how do you know?”

“Bergevin is gone. McGuire will make the announcement at his presser this afternoon.”

This time Marc asked, “How do you know?”

“Norm McIvor told me, just before I texted you.”

Norm McIvor

  • Thunder Bay native
  • played for seven different NHL teams over a twelve year career
  • Chicago Blackhawks Assistant General manager since ’06

“And how does Norm know,” Eric asked.

“Because,” Margot said, “Stan Bowman will be McGuire’s new GM.”

Stan Bowman

  • son of Scotty
  • Chicago Blackhawks General Manager since ‘09
  • winner of three Stanley Cups as GM in ’10, ’13, ‘15

The three big leaguers were dubious, but Jared confirmed it. “So, Norm is going with Stan to Montreal?” Jordan asked Jared.

Jared smiled, “Not exactly. Not just yet, anyway.”

“What do you mean?” Eric asked.

“Apparently, that depends on the three of you… and Matt Murray.”

Matt Murray

  • Thunder Bay native
  • goalie Pittsburgh Penguins
  • backstopped the Pens to Stanley Cup victories in ’16 and ‘17

“Whaaat?” Marc asked.

“Molson himself wants all four of you wearing the blue, blanc et rouge next year.”

“You’re kidding?” said Eric.

“I am not.”

“Explain,” Eric commanded.

“Okay. Hold on to your hats. It’s crazy!”

“Wait a minute,” Jordan interrupted. “Speaking of crazy, where’s Daisy? I think this is gonna require a beer.”

“I’ll go get her,” said Margot. She did. Daisy pulled a couple jugs of Mr. Canoehead, placed them on the table with sleeves, and lingered, hoping to be invited to stay. Margot smiled at Daisy and said, “Sorry, girl, but this is a family affair.” Daisy tried to come up with something clever enough to be included in the family, but couldn’t do it, so made her exit, with a frown, saying, “Just holler if you need anything.”

Everyone got themselves a pint, and Jared started. On the off chance that Margot did not understand league rules, Jared explained, “If anyone from the Habs were to contact any of the guys, or their agents, directly, without permission from their teams, it would be tampering.”

“So, Norm is going with Bowman, but not until he lines up one Hell of a blockbuster, and just to be safe, he is using you as the intermediary,” Margot said.

“I figured you’d have that figured, but figured I’d say it, just in case. Sorry, Margot.”

“Nothing to apologize for. Carry on, please.”

“Molson is really, really troubled by the fact that the Bell Centre isn’t sold out every game. He wants to make sure the place is packed to the rafters, when things get back to normal, whenever that may be.”

“And bringing a Bowman, one with three rings, back into the Habs family is a good start,” said Eric.

Making a Bowman the GM of the Habs would cause explosions in the greatest hockey town in the world.

“Oh, it gets better than that,” Jared promised. The other brothers grinned, and waited. “Guess who’s gonna be behind the bench?”

“Lemaire?” was Marc’s guess.

Jacques Lemaire

  • Hall of Famer
  • won eight Stanley Cups playing for the Habs between ‘67 and ‘79
  • won another ring, in ‘05, as the head coach of the New Jersey Devils

“That would be good,” Jared laughed, “but it’s even better!”

The table went silent for three seconds. Then Margot said, “No fucking way! Are you kidding?”

Jared finished his pint, laughed, and answered, “Dead serious. I almost shat myself when Norm told me.”

“You’re shitting us?” Marc said.

“Just to be perfectly clear,” said Eric, “Norm told you that Saint Patrick is gonna be behind the bench, working under Bowman, who will be working under McGuire?”

“And they all want the three of you, and Matt, to be there when they win number 25.”

It was crazy. The really good kinda crazy, if you’re a Habs fan. The brothers, all stunned, sat silent, until Margot yelled, “Yeeee hawww!” She pushed her pint glass up, over the centre of the table, and laughed, “I think w can all drink to that!”

Eric, Marc, and Jordan snapped out of their collective daze, clinked their sleeves against Margot’s, and Jared’s, and laughter filled the air.

Marc, the only of the three big league brothers without a Stanley Cup to his name raised his voice, singing,

Na na na na

The others picked up on it rigt away, and joined in. “Wait! Start again,” Marc instructed, then counted them down. “One, two…”

“No, no, no,” Margot laughed, “En francais!”

Marc obeyed, and counted, “Un! Deux! Trois!”

Na na na na
na na na na
hey, hey, goodbye!

Na na na na
na na na na
hey, hey, goodbye!

After a minute of that, Jared shushed everyone, and said, “I’m not finished. It gets even better.”

“How does this get any better?” Jordan asked. “Is Patrick gonna name Mario Tremblay as the Habs’ new stick boy?”

Jared just grinned, prompting Margot to holler, “Daisy! Get your sweet ass back in here!”

98 – A PERFECT THUNDER STORM IN MONTREAL 2

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