And while I've been a Habs follower since I was a kid - we even had season tickets from when I was 7 until I was 17 - it has become increasingly difficult to identify with the team of late - with any team in this economy-driven, salary-cap era where they sell you players, almost shove them down your throat, but trade them away seemingly on a whim after you've shelled out your hard-earned money on team items bearing their faces or names. And you're forced to accept it, and love the new guy immediately, and spend your money on him instead. And boo the old guy every time he comes back in town to play against the team he used to bleed for.
It's also why I can't root for ''for my home country of Canada'' and ''all of its players'' at the Olympics when Habs players I'm supposed to cheer for (and do) during the 50 other weeks of the year are separated into 6 teams, while Canada only has two, one of which they decide not to dress for meaningful games, and the rest of its team is comprised mostly of guys I'd rather see never win another hockey game, ever (such as members of the San Jose Sharks).
Still, I root for the Habs as a general rule. But I also wish the Colorado Avalanche the best, especially now that their front-office staff is comprised of Joe Sakic (the best player between the Wayne Gretzky era and the current Evgeni Malkin era) and Patrick Roy (without whom the Habs would be on a 35-year Stanley Cup drought rather than 21, and would have 22 in total instead of 24).
And I'd rather see an Original Six team (except the Toronto Maple Leafs, fuck the Leafs!) or at the very least an Original Twelve-plus-the-Canadian teams (again, except the Leafs). And teams Roy has played for (Habs, Avalanche). That's it. No other team should ever lift the Stanley Cup. That's 16 teams (Montréal, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Colorado and even on rare occasions Winnipeg) out of 30, which seems like a reasonable number to me.
But I digress. So I love the sport as a whole, and some players more than others. Current (and hopefully career-long) Habs Andrei Markov and Tomas Plekanec top the list, but with them stand former Canadiens Saku Koivu and Mike Ribeiro. And Ottawa Senators captain Jason Spezza, an electrifying stickhandler, and one of the best passers in the game.
I've featured Spezza on my sports blog four times already, but I came across a story that I thought deserved inclusion here instead, where he learned that a ''very sick young boy'' had his autographed pictures of both Spezza and Sens star defenseman Erik Karlsson stolen in a car break-in.
As the article states:
Ottawa Police began searching for the perpetrator but Spezza wasn't interested in waiting for an outcome.Instead, he got the whole team so sign a Sens jersey (great show of leadership from their new captain!), and he and Karlsson signed tons more stuff for the kid:
Not just a great hockey player, but a great person, and team ambassador (free good publicity). Well done, sir.