Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Chill out (again)
If there's one thing we learned last night, it's that we never learn.
The doomsayers weren't in quite the same voice as last year, but there were still scattered boos followed by considerable online panic-mongering over Carey Price getting lit up in the Canadiens' pre-season opener at the Bell Center. Price wasn't available for comment after giving up four goals on 13 shots, but had he faced the media hordes, past experience tells us what he would have said: relax and chill out, because the Stanley Cup isn't won in September. And, of course, he'd be right. Price led NHL goaltenders in wins last season and there are still rocket scientists out there second guessing the Jaroslav Halak trade 15 months later, and they're using last night's goings-on as fuel for their fire.
What's remarkable is that in a city that's supposedly as hockey-savvy as Montreal, the first game of the exhibition schedule is the subject of hockey's version of a coronor's inquest. The proliferation of internet, cable and satellite sports media creates a need for substantially more content than traditional media ever had to produce, so non-events like exhibition openers tend to get over-analyzed. Mostly, though, it's the honest but misguided enthusiasm of a fanatical fan base that inevitably lets the passion of the moment cloud their better judgement, sometimes for a year or more.