Curse? What curse?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night as the man hurried through the woods. Cold and sopping wet though he was, he had more pressing matters on his mind right now. It was happening again. Signs of "the curse" were creeping up again. It was getting bad too... something had to be done. And soon. After a while, he spotted the path he was looking for. Admits the rain pounding down, the path looked to be made of small round dark rocks but in reality they were hockey pucks. Yes, this path lead to the Temple of the Hockey Gods. The place were numerous players, coaches and general managers had come to seek answers to their problems or occasionally just to say "thanks". And it was here that Guy Carbonneau was headed on this particularly yucky night.

Within a few minutes he saw the building rising up above the trees. Within another few minutes he was at the steps of the building. Not pausing to wonder why the temple looked oddly like the old Maple Leaf Gardens building, he hurried inside. It was dark inside save for the dozens of candles that were placed at random around the place. There was all kinds of stuff inside the building. There were statues of Saints scattered here, various trophies over there (you honestly didn't think that they kept them in Toronto did you?). Carbo could see that he wasn't the only one here. He was quite sure that was Craig Hartsburg standing in front of Clod Joolee-ehn (who else did you think the Bruins' coach was named after?), the patron saint of head coaches. And that was definitely Brian Burke have a ferverent conversation with the stone statue of Sam Pollock who was the newly annointed patron saint of general managers. And.... was that Tim Thomas doing some sort of weird ritual in front of the patron saint of goalies? It looked like he was flailing around like he did in nets.... Some people had all the luck....

Carbo quickly put those guys out of his mind as he had his own issues to deal with tonight. In a room off the the side sat statues of all the hockey gods. They were huge. It was enough to make even Zdeno Chara look like a midget. Carbo stood still and looked up at the gods. It was always a little awkward talking to stone statues but what choice did he have?

"Hi.... I think you guys might remember me, no?" he mumbled. "I was here after my team got booted out of the playoffs last year? Well.... I'm here because... how to say it? Um, there's been talk of a curse going around. Some people seem to think that the Montreal Canadiens are cursed. I was at first a little dismissive of the talk - you know, people talk a lot around Montreal. But you know things are bad when they're talking about a curse more than they are about Vincent Lacavalier, so I thought I'd come here and well... see if you guys would maybe like to stop cursing us?"

Even as he was trying to formulate those words in his mind they sounded stupid. But what else was he supposed to say?

"I mean.... it does seem a little like a curse if you consider it's been 16 years since we've last won the Stanley Cup.... That's a really long time in this city.... " he glanced nervously at the huge stone statue of Lord Stanley. "And... things were looking good last year. We finished on top of the conference when no one thought it possible. And then we imploded in the playoffs. I thought we did an okay job against Boston but then the Flyers came around and... what was the deal with Biron? He never plays like that! It was like had some type of supernatural abilities or something....And ever since then we've had trouble... We started great but then we fell apart. Our powerplay was best in the league and now it's well, crap." He couldn't help but look up at the god of powerplays. but the stone statue merely glared back at him so he looked away. "Our guys just can't seem to be motivated enough to play consistantly. We play well to some teams and like crap to others. There's no real way of telling when we'll be crap and when we won't be crap...I don't get what's happening. Any help?"

Of course stone statues aren't very good conversationalists so there was no response.

Carbo couldn't contain himself any longer at this point. "Why is that the refs are all conspiring against us too this year? WHY? They always come up with stupid reasons to give us penalties and it's killing us. How are we supposed to score when we're always a man down? And how come Boston is so darn good?" Now he had gotten to the real source of a lot of his angst. "How on earth can Boston have gotten this good so quickly? Why? We were beating them routinely last year. They were crap last year. What happened? Surely you can see why people think we're cursed? Powerplay down the drain, penalties by the dozen, penalty killing sort of working, players looking downright lethargic half the time.... and on top of that Boston is on top of the league!" By this point Carbo had sunk to his knees and was staring up at the stone statues of the hockey gods. "Why is this happening?"

Of course there was still no answer.

"What it is going to take to appease you?" Carbo asked. "Whatever anyone has done to upset you guys, I'm sorry. How can I make it up? Do you want Crosby? You can have him. Or Lang. Take Lang. Or Halak. You'd be doing all of us a favor if you took Sean Avery. " In the flickering light, Carbo could have sworn that the statues were glaring even harder at him now. "Please, I'll do anything if you help us. People are screaming for my head and it's not fair. It's not like there's nothing I can do to change all of this..."

Carbo paused for a moment. A sudden puzzled look crept across his face. "Wait a second.... I'm the headcoach here... Of course I can change it.....right? I'm supposed to be the guy in charge here. All this stuff can be fixed by me....of course....there isn't really a curse is there? This was your way of telling me that I'm supposed to be the won who can fix all of this, right?"

The stone statues didn't reply but Carbo could have sworn that their faces had softend just a little bit. "Thank you! I can fix this. I know I can. I can turn this team around and make it into a real contender for the Stanley Cup. Thank you!"

Carbo got up and left the room. On his way out Scott Gordon, headcoach of the New York Islanders entered the room. Now there was a guy who needed all the help he could get, thought Carbo to himself. Feeling oddly enlightened and even perky, he left the temple and returned back to his team.


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