Lynnrockets and co. have finally returned from our extended stay in la belle province de Quebec. We left Boston on Friday April 15th and traveled to Canada via bus along with three other busloads of parents, coaches and hockey-playing youngsters.We were fortunate enough to make the trip on one of the parent buses which meant that there was plenty of laughs and booze. We were also lucky enough to have been on the parent bus which had a working bathroom which is very important when you consider that the normally 5 hour drive is extended to 8 hours with rest-room stops, a stop for lunch and the lengthy border-crossing procedure. Although we have no hockey-playing children, we took the bus trip to spend time with our many friends who either coach or had children playing in the cross-national tournament with Montreal.
We arrived in the city at about 4:00 pm, checked into the family friendly Hotel Gouverneur – Place Dupius and promptly headed to the nearest brasserie for one of those famous Montreal smoked meat sandwiches and cheesecake. Next, we met with one of my longtime Montreal friends and his wife at a storied watering hole known as Grumpy’s located on Bishop Street. Grumpy’s is best known for being a hangout for local writers. Later that evening it was off to a dinner of steak and frites in the French/Belgian tradition with the same couple at a wonderful restaurant on Peel Street.
Immediately upon returning to our hotel at about midnight however, we received a phone message from one of my American friends during which he begged us to rescue him from the dingy lounge that he found and to bring him and two friends to someplace a bit more upscale. We obliged but inasmuch as Montreal cabbies will only take 4 passengers, we were forced to take 2 cabs. I was the only person familiar with the city so I was in a position to do something that I have always wanted to do. I told the second cabbie to “follow that cab” (which was the one I was traveling in). Unfortunately, when we reached our destination, Winnie’s on Crescent Street, we soon realized that the second cab did not follow my instructions. Consequently, we lost our companions for the rest of the evening. On a positive note, the 3 of us enjoyed the club and returned to the hotel at about 3:30 am. Great first night.
After the children’s hockey game on Saturday morning, a few of us took a walking tour of Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal). Old Montreal is a major tourist draw; with the oldest of its buildings dating to the 17th century, it is one of the oldest urban areas in North America. Architecture and cobbled streets in Old Montreal have been maintained or restored to keep the look of the city in its earliest days as a settlement, and horse-drawn calèches help maintain that image.
Later that evening as the hockey parents and coaches attended a banquet with their Canadian counterparts, we met up with a few more of my Canadian friends for the purpose of watching the Boston Bruins face-off against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Two of their best of seven playoff series. Our beloved Bruins had lost Game One in Boston on Thursday and this would be the second game in that city. We were taken to a famous sports brasserie (Le Manoir) in Pointe Claire. The place was a massive undulating sea of patrons wearing their Bleu, Blanc et Rouge Montreal Canadian jerseys. Unfortunately, I was more than conspicuous in my vintage 1992 Bruins throwback jersey and the home crowd let me know it with a series of boos and insults throughout the night. To add insult to injury, the Canadiens won Game Two as well.
Our Boston friends and their children left Montreal for home early on Sunday afternoon in those cursed buses. We switched hotels to one more centrally located and spent the next two days shopping, eating (too much) and sightseeing. If you ever find yourselves in Montreal, make sure that you visit Moishes Steak House for one of the best meals you might ever experience. It is quite pricey but it is worth every penny to not only enjoy the meal but to take a step back in time to 1938 as the restaurant has changed little since. On Monday night we watched Game Three of the Bruins/Canadiens series at a pub on Crescent Street. In an attempt to change the Bruins’ luck, I donned the gold, black and white jersey which the Bruins wore in the 2010 outdoor Winter Classic game at Boston’s Fenway Park and my wife wore the 1992 throwback jersey. It worked in two ways. First, we were not heckled nearly as much as on Saturday night and secondly, the Bruins won!
After their win, the Bruins traveled to Lake Placid for some R & R before their Game 4 back in Montreal and we engaged in some more eating, drinking, shopping and sightseeing. There are more than enough things to see in Montreal including but not limited to the Biosphere, La Basilique Notre Dame, numerous museums, the casino, the Stade Olympique and of course, the Bell Centre (home of the Canadiens). On Thursday night we traveled to a friend’s home in Beaconsville to watch the game. We wore the same Bruins jerseys and the Bruins rewarded us with a big win in overtime. The series was now tied at two games apiece.
Friday consisted of some leisurely strolling along the ethnically diverse concourse known as Sainte Laurent Avenue. That evening we met up with yet another old friend who took the trouble to travel in from Toronto to see us. We took a ride out to Dollard des Ormeaux to visit his parents but the journey ended suddenly with a climactic car wreck resulting in the vehicle’s total loss but luckily, no serious injuries. Without going into too much detail, the accident involved our friend’s car, a light pole, a pedestrian carrying two bottles of wine and a liquor store, in that order. After the car was towed away and a rental was secured we all went to dinner on Good Friday evening. The rental was used to bring us back to our hotel without incident.
We indulged in more shopping and eating during the first half of Holy Saturday. That evening we went to yet another friend’s home in Lachine for dinner and to watch Game 5. The teams were now in Boston but we were still in Montreal. We wore the same two Bruins jerseys and our luck held out as the team won yet again, this time in double overtime. The Bruins have now won three straight games and lead the series 3 to 2 with a potentially decisive Game 6 to be played in Montreal tonight (Tuesday).
We flew back to Boston on Easter Sunday and resumed our usual daily affairs including the blog known as Lynnrockets’ Blast-Off. Our dog is more than excited to have us back. We too, missed her dearly. Now it is three to the bed once again. It was a wonderful trip but it always feels good to come home. Rest assured that eight fingers and two paws will be crossed tonight for the big Game 6! And yes, we will don the same Bruins jerseys.
If you missed Game 5, please watch this highlight video-clip to get a taste for the excitement of this series: