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Wall Street Journal: A team the Rocket would love


Published: 18May2010

They barely got into the playoffs, but the Montreal Canadiens have somehow managed to eliminate the top-ranked team in hockey, send the defending Stanley Cup champions packing and advance to the NHL conference finals. If you ask most Montrealers why this is happening, you won't hear much talk of practical concerns like the coach, the team's newly acquired superstars or its preposterously talented young goalie. More likely, you'll hear talk of Les Fantômes… "We felt we had thrown away our ghosts and thrown away our past," said Earl Zukerman, information officer for the sports department of Montreal's McGill University and a vice president of the Society for International Hockey Research. "We've been wandering like nomads in the desert for 17 years." If hockey ghosts exist, Montreal must be swarming with them. It's generally recognized that the first modern hockey game was played on March 3, 1875, in an indoor ice skating rink near McGill. Now, it's an old parking garage. Whether or not it's haunted by stick-wielding apparitions, today it mainly serves as home to a couple rental-car agencies and a parking attendant...