Avi is no stranger here on "The Breakdown" having appeared before as a part of a roundtable discussion during the NHL lockout.
Avi is a professor of sociology at Vanier College in Montreal. You can read him all over the web, as he is a Contributing Editor at The Barnstormer, and a Featured Writer at All Habs. He also has his own private blog where he uses his sociological mind to make sense of sport-media culture and the different ways that we as fans prosume (produce & consume) the contents and experiences of sport-media culture.
He's a very interesting guy, an excellent read, and today we meet Avi the fan, an integral member of HABS-TOWN.
I certainly got teased by a couple of my good buddies. They laughed hysterically as I talked to them incessantly about Mats Naslund and, later on, Patrick Roy.
The thing about being a fan back then, without the internet, was that so many people from Edmonton really knew so little about the Habs and vice versa. Kind of as it can be with politics in Quebec, most of my Edmonton pals just paid no attention to the Habs unless there was some reason for it. You have to remember that most of the attention Edmontonians devoted to visiting teams went to the hated Calgary Flames. So, most of the time, my love for the Habs was basically mildly amusing to my Edmonton friends and not so much the source of any serious rivalry or animosity. Much later, after moving to Montreal, this worked in reverse when a fellow Oilers fan and I would drive our Montreal pick-up hockey buds a bit crazy as we would endlessly tell stories of Oiler greatness in the dressing room prior to and following our games.
My first NHL game would have been an Oilers game prior to 1988, but I cannot truthfully remember a notable first NHL game.
Do you have a favorite Habs player ever? if so, whom, and why?
Do you think Saku Koivu will go down that way in the history books, or as something else? What about a current Hab like Andrei Markov?
With Markov we will be aware of his great skill and the fact that the team wins so many more games than they lose when he is in the lineup. Think of the different things we can associate with Naslund, by contrast. The Swede was a quirky and effective player, used a helmet and stick that were memorable due to their lack of familiarity to Canadians, and ultimately contributed to an unexpected Stanley Cup victory in 1986. Aside from overcoming cancer (albeit a biggy), I am not sure if Koivu and Markov feature in a team narrative that will keep their memories alive in a meaningful way. Then again, with Markov, there’s still time!
The Habs were down 2-0 in the series but played strong in game 3. They trailed by a goal heading into the 3rd. I joked with my friends just before the period that Patrice Brisebois, simultaneously hated and admired in Montreal, would be a hero of the game. In the dying moments of the game, Ryder and Brisebois(!) did score to put the Habs ahead. For a few moments, I was a real man for making that prediction. Sadly, with less than 30 second left, Lecavalier scores for Tampa Bay to send the game to OT. While I wanted to be optimistic heading into OT, I just didn’t think the Habs would pull it out. No surprise when Brad Richards scored 1:05 (I looked it up) into the extra frame to pull TB up 3-0 in the series. The loss was depressing in the end, but there was some great tension and drama, making it a pretty fun night. The less-than-friendly banter we exchanged with two Tampa Bay fans that made their way up to the game helped to create an all-around playoff hockey experience in MTL.
Did they meet your expectations?
How do you think it relates to Jarred Tinordi, Nathan Beaulieu and Michael Bournival this season?