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Montreal's passion for hockey is unmatched

If Toronto is the Center of the Hockey Universe, Detroit is Hockeytown and Boston is the Hub of Hockey, what does that make Montreal. Hockey's mecca? Nowhere are fans more passionate about hockey than Montreal. In fact, none are even close. Now that the Canadiens are back in contention, it could be more intense than ever.

About 20,000 fans were lined up around the corner near the Bell Centre in sub-zero temperatures. That wasn't for the All-Star Game on Sunday. It was for all-star practice on Saturday morning. Hockey is everywhere you go in Montreal. The cabbies talk about the fourth-linecenter in Phoenix. The waitresses wonder if the Habs' power-play is strong enough to win in the playoffs.

“”I’ve never seen something like that in my career,’’ former Habs great Serge Savard said Sunday. “”I think hockey is more popular now than it was in the ‘70s, when we won four Cups in a row. They had 22,000 people at the workout. You see the people in the streets, people with their cars and their CH flags, the waiting list for season tickets, I’ve never seen that like it is now.’’

It's fun watching them watch hockey. They can't get enough and I couldn't get enough of them over the weekend. It's like Bills fans at the height of the franchise multiplied by 20. You can imagine how loud the Bell Centre was after the Eastern Conference won, 12-11, in a shootout that enabled Habs winger Alexei Kovalev to win the MVP. You would have thought he scored the winner in Game Seven of the finals.

Great town, great team, great time. 

--- Bucky Gleason  


All-Star Game
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

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Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

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Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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