Habs 1-1-1 Through Three

Through the first three games of the regular season, Montreal has experienced highs, lows, and heartbreak, setting the tone as to the cacophony of emotions to be present throughout the remainder of the season. Losing to the Leafs, scoring a comeback win against Pittsburgh, and having the roles reversed against the Bolts, there was a mix of opinions pertaining to the performance of the team. The one constant positive has been the incredibly reassuring play of netminder Carey Price, who on most nights has been playing incredibly solidly, and in the case of the game against Pittsburgh, flat out stole the win for the Canadiens, robbing Crosby on multiple occasions to keep the score close, giving time for the Canadiens to tie and ultimately win the game late. Cammelleri and Plekanec, keeping the chemistry from the playoffs last season have started off strong. Cammalleri with two goals already, and Plekanec with a goal of his own and adding a dominant offensive and defensive presence while on the ice. Halpern and Boyd have payed beyond expectations, and Lapierre is still playing playoff hockey, which is good to see.

With all these positives however, there are still quite a few negatives. The defense is practically non existent. Quite the concern when the system relies on defense. Hamrlik’s return to action did little to stabilize the defense, as dumb penalties and defensive breakdowns cost the Habs a late one goal lead and the game in overtime. Gill proves to us all that a man of 35 years of age doesn’t magically get faster, and continues to be beaten by speed to the outside, giving added workload to his partner Gorges, who himself has looked solid, along with Subban on a shaky defensive line-up. Gomez and Gionta also have to start playing better, with Gomez getting a goal on a fluke shot that fooled Fleury, however the team needs its newly appointed captain to step up and start adding some secondary support to relieve some of the burden off of the Plekanec line.

Over all, through three games there has been a lot to consider, and it’s far too early to pass real judgement, however one would hope that Markov’s return would help the powerplay, which has been abysmal, and the defense, which could use the presence of the general back on the ice.

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Mike Boone, The Man Behind The Blog

One of the more popular journalists in Montreal covering the Montreal Canadiens, Mike Boone’s Habs Inside/Out is one of the most reliable sources of information for everything Hab related, but he didn’t always want to write for the Gazette, or even cover the team when he was younger. “When I was a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer.” While this may shock most of those who now see Boone as perfectly qualified to be running a blog on one of North America’s most popular sports teams, his education in the field is far from top caliber. A graduate of McGill university, Boone credits his learning as a writer with the school paper. “McGill doesn’t have a journalism program. I studied English Literature and learned to write for newspapers at the Daily.”

Naturally a good investment in hindsight, this experience led to the first of a string of coincidences that ended up launching a career. His journalistic experience steered him away from his childhood ambition of being a lawyer, ” at McGill, I had no idea what I wanted to be.” Boone said with a chuckle. This led to him taking his first steps in his new career. “I got started by accident. I had covered sports for the McGill daily but could not get a job in journalism when I graduated with a BA in English.” Spurred to various jobs by the greatest human motivator, notably a lack of money, Boone did whatever it took to stay off the streets. “I did a bunch of stuff to pay the rent and was working as a proofreader for a computerized typesetting company specializing in legal texts.” Closer than ever to his former ambition of being a servant of justice, Boone made it clear that it was not an avenue he would have been interested in pursuing after that point. “It was as boring as it sounds.” It was only a matter of time before the pieces began to fall in place for the writer. Soon enough, an old friend came back into his life, showing once again that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. “I was contacted by Pat Hickey. He had covered college sports for the Gazette when I was at the daily and remembered my writing. By then, he was sports editor of the Montreal Star and offered me a job.” This came in 1974. Just in time to assist in covering the Habs dynasty of the late 1970’s.

Unfortunately, the job was short lived as not all good things are meant to last. “I was a sportswriter for five years at the Star before the paper folded. The Gazette hired me but they said there were no openings in the sports department.” Thus began a hiatus on writing about sports that would last longer than anticipated, and would seem a lot longer due to the nature of of his next job. “As an interim measure I was signed to write about rock music, and hated every minute of it.” Thankfully this particular job didn’t last either. He moved on from the music column to become the TV and radio columnist for the Gazette for the next twenty years of his career, however this job was one he didn’t mind doing. “I actually liked doing that” he said, smiling. It was only in the year 2000 that he changed once more. “I was asked to take over the city column. I write three city columns a week and, since 2006 write about hockey for Habs Inside/Out: a live game blog and post game commentary.”

A far cry from many who know Boone strictly as the man who write about hockey, he has proven to have quite the illustrious, albeit completely unintentional career, and has accomplished much throughout his time writing for the Montreal Papers. Still, people are curious as to whats next for the writer. “I’m 62. I’ll be happy if they let me do what I’m doing until it’s time to hang them up.” Put in perspective, the man behind the blog certainly has much more to his name than simply commenting on hockey games, and it’s only when you hear the whole story that you start to realize the dedication, time, and luck that goes into doing what you love best as a career.