I thought MLSE did a good job with last night's ceremony. It wasn't long and it wasn't overly dramatic, but Wendel wouldn't have wanted that. The video was excellent, and the crowd did a great job of making sure it was a memorable night.
A few more thoughts:
- My favorite moment of the evening was Wendel trying to start his speech, and the crowd not letting him because they weren't done with their ovation. So Wendel just keeps on talking, and eventually the fans quiet down. Even in retirement, he's still winning battles every time he steps on the ice.
- Let's get this out of the way: if the roles had been reversed and it was the Leafs that scheduled a banner raising on the same night that the Habs had already announced one, you know the Toronto media would have made it into an issue. It would have been one of those fake, manufactured issues, but you know they would have done it.
Not that it mattered, of course. Having the Roy ceremony start at 6:30 was a good compromise.
- That said, did you notice that Wendel's highlight video included a clip of him scoring on Roy? Anyone think that was an accident?
- Speaking of coincidences, how about Craig Simpson being assigned to cover the Leafs/Hawks game last night? I wonder if he enjoyed watching the outpouring of affection from Toronto fans to a beloved player. Once again, Craig, great work on the whole "I don't want to play hockey in Toronto" thing. Pittsburgh was a much better option. Good call.
- I thought the Habs did a great job with Roy's ceremony. Sure, it was overly long and way too heavy on the dramatic, but this is Montreal. In their Incredibly Important and Wonderful 100th Season (Give Or Take a Year), you knew they would go all-out for Patrick. And it worked. I especially liked the kids wearing the uniforms of french-Canadian goalies who've followed him. Great touch.
- Not to be picky, but what was the deal with the potted plant on the ice in Montreal? Did that have some sort of meaning that I missed? Or did somebody in Montreal just decided that there needed to be a house plant on the ice?
- Meanwhile, the Toronto Star's coverage featured an article by Rosie DiManno trashing the Leafs and Clark. And Damien Cox, the paper's top hockey writer, is filing pieces about the Grey Cup instead. And then they wonder why newspapers are dying.
- The best journalism of the night may have been the CBC's intermission feature with Wendel returning to the Gardens. It was a great piece, but was anyone else shocked to see what MLG looks like these days?
We've been told for years that it's in shambles, practically a junkyard after years of neglect. Well, apparently not. The seats are still there! It looks like they just need to put up some boards and flood the rink and it's ready to go. What exactly is keeping us from following General Borschevsky's suggestion and getting some hockey -- any hockey -- played there?