Lots of talk this week about the CBC's opening montage before Game One of the Cup finals. Set to a tune by Coldplay, it featured backwards video clips of various Pens and Wings. Most people liked it. Some didn't.
I thought it was a cool idea, with one major flaw: Not enough Leafs. Then again, I've felt the same way about the last 41 Cup finals.
I'll admit that I'm a huge sucker for pre-game musical montages. And Hockey Night in Canada has consistently done some of the very best.
A great pre-game montage has the following:
- An inspired musical choice. Any genre will do, but the song has to fit.
- Some sort of opening shot that sets the tone without actually showing anybody playing hockey
- Quick cuts of various players, including at least one who looks like their face ran into a grain thresher
- Enough highlights (goals, hits, fights, etc) to make you think these two teams are part of the greatest rivalry in sports history
- At least one clip that matches up exactly with the song lyrics
- Some sort of dramatic closing shot.
Leafs vs. Senators, Game Seven, 2002 Music: "Defy You" by The Offspring. Not terrible, but kind of cliched. 5/10. Opening scenes: Each team walking the hallway on the way to the ice. 6/10. Beat-up face: Tie Domi, freshly stiched-up after the infamous Ricard Persson hit. 10/10. Rivalry shots: Plenty, including every possible combination of Leaf and Sen players going nose-to-nose. 8/10. Matching lyrics: "You may throw me down", right as a Leaf gets thrown to the ice. 6/10. Closing shot: Shayne Corson and Marion Hossa leaning into a faceoff. I'm assuming this is from the regular season, because I actually noticed Hossa. 9/10. Intangibles: Fading into the live crowd audio in the second half was a cool touch. 8/10. Bottom line: 7/10. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Leafs vs. Senators, Game Seven, 2004 Music: "Not Ready To Go" by The Trews. Pretty close to a perfect choice. 9/10. Opening scenes: Pretty standard shots, except for a neat one of a rolling puck. 5/10. Beat-up face: Darcy Tucker sporting a smirk and a shiner. Honorable mention to John "Dag-nabbit!" Muckler. 7/10 Rivalry shots: Some good ones here. And check out the badass shot of Roberts at 0:32. 8/10. Matching lyrics: Pretty much every shot in the video (seriously). But bonus points for "I should be leaving" right as Mats Sundin limps out of the series. 9/10. Closing shot: The Senators celebrating wildly while the singer vows "I'm not ready to go". 10/10 (for ironic foreshadowing). Intangibles: What's with the red/blue filter that keeps fading in and out? 2/10. Bottom line: 8/10. I like this one a little better than the 2002 version.
Leafs vs. Sharks, Game Seven, 1994 Music: "No Limits", by whoever it was that did "No Limits". 1/10. Opening scenes: Jaws music, bad shark clipart, and Don Cherry. 3/10. Beat-up face: The giant-headed Doug Gilmour thing dancing next to Cherry. 2/10. Rivalry shots: A surprising number of decent shots, including a scrap. Not bad for two teams that never played each other. 5/10. Matching lyrics: "Won't give up the fight" right as the Leafs score the game six OT winner to extend the series. 8/10. Closing shot: Some Shark scoring a goal. 3/10. Intangibles: This one is only lasts 1:25, which is only about 90 seconds too long. 3/10. Bottom line: 3/10. Let's never speak of this again.
Leafs vs. Hawks, Game One, 1994 Music: "Dreamer", by Supertramp. I know, I know. But watch... somehow, it works. 8/10. Opening scenes: A supercool extended shot of Chris Chelios shooting the puck at a cameraman. 9/10. Beat-up face: Doug Gilmour getting a face wash from a linesman. 5/10. Rivalry shots: They come pretty much non-stop, including Wendel Clark backing down just about every player on the Hawks roster. Not enough fights, though. 8/10. Matching lyrics: "Well you know... you had... it coming to you" as Wendel chases Jeff Shantz around before finally popping him in the mouth. 9/10. Closing shot: Wendel Clark and Chris Chelios fading into the Stanley Cup. 9/10. Intangibles: Seriously, CBC knows the Leafs had more players than Wendel Clark in 1994, right? 10/10. Bottom line: 9/10. Almost perfect.
Leafs vs. Kings, Game Seven, 1993 Music: The theme from the movie "Hoosiers". Genius. 10/10. Opening scenes: Felix Potvin talking to his goalposts. 6/10. Beat-up face: A tie: Doug Gilmour's bleeding face thanks to Wayne Gretzky, and Marty McSorley's crater-sized shiner courtesy Wendel Clark. 10/10. Rivalry shots: Nothing fancy, but most of the main highlights are here. 7/10. Matching lyrics: None, since there are no lyrics. But check out the mini-montage of the Gilmour hit at 1:18 right as the music hits its crescendo. Goosebump time. 9/10. Closing shot: Gretzky doing his little happy dance after this OT goal. Hey, why is his stick blade all red? 8/10. Intangibles: The weird Kings fan with the painted face dancing at 0:25. 8/10. Bottom line: 10/10. A masterpiece. The montage by which all others must be judged.