The Stanley Cup playoffs were nearly ruined before they had even officially begun on Wednesday night. Aspiring Opera singer Max DeFrancesco sang the anthems for Game 1 between the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning, and either due to nerves or perhaps a hatred for Canada, he sang... poorly.
After struggling with the pitch on his first few notes (pitchy, dawg), DeFrancesco struggled with the language the rest of the way. He appeared to occasionally slip into Italian, which is weird, since nobody sings the anthem in Italian.
Considering the language politics at work in Canada -- and especially in Quebec, the province from which the Canadiens hail -- splicing in words from the wrong second language (and also some non-words from a non-language, I think) is up there with dropping in a line with America the Beautiful. That's not how you do it. Such disrespect!
The Canadiens would go on to win the game 5-4 in overtime, and it's clear to me why: they were motivated by the sullying of their national anthem. They are Canada's lone playoff representative this year, and dammit if they aren't out there giving their all for their country.
Wednesday's win was more than just a good start to the postseason for the Habs. It was a lesson to any team they may encounter on their way to glory: mess up our glorious anthem, our song of freedom and pride, and you will stoke the fire deep within us.
If the Lightning hope to win game two, their anthem singer had better shape up, or the Bolts will be heading back to Montreal for a lesson on how its done trailing two games to zero.