Sometimes, it’s easy to lose touch. The chase for Lord Stanley’s mug rages on, but you’re consumed with soccer’s impending World Cup and all the information you have to cram into your brain before kickoff.

Then, something grabs you by the throat and brings you back.

“Les Bleu, Blanc, Rouge sont la!”

It’s Kelvin, the Jamaican-born security guard at the office who reminds you that the Montreal Canadiens are still in it — still headed toward another improbable date with destiny.

“Have a little faith, man,” chuckles Kelvin. “I grew up in Brossard on the South Shore. I love those guys.”

What’s not to love?

In an age where players change stripes frequently and where cities become franchises in the marketplace of sport — the Habs still inspire passion, loyalty, sometimes hatred and most importantly ... attention.

They are hockey’s old faithful.

Game 7 in Pittsburgh and Hockey Night in Canada’s theme surrounds the religious overtones the Canadiens inspire in their followers. There’s a shot of the greatest French Canadian never to play for Montreal, Mario Lemieux, who now owns the Penguins. When the Habs take to the ice at the Igloo, Lemieux smiles broadly with delight.

There’s also the incredible scene at the far-off home of the Habs: The Bell Centre jammed to the rafters — 21,000 strong — watching the game on TV. Then a late third-period call comes from Harold, your old friend from Montreal days.

“I can’t believe they’re going to win this,” he blurts before saying hello. “I have to go now,” and hangs up.

With every Canadiens’ win this post-season, the magic grows. They are luring us onto their team and making our hockey connection even stronger.

“I’m in a bit of a dream world right now,” Kelvin giggles the morning after the win.
“I wanted to believe in them and now I do.”

The Canadiens have once again become the nation’s touchstone.

Sometimes, you just have to go along for the ride and have faith in old faithful.

– Gemini Award winner and author Scott Russell is the Host of CBC Sports Weekend seen Saturday afternoons. A 20-year CBC Sports veteran, he has covered a variety of professional and amateur sports including nine Olympic games and numerous world championships.

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