Playoff time is a time for superstition and tradition, especially when it comes to anthem singers for NHL teams. It's why Jim Cornelison shines in Chicago and why the Philadelphia Flyers used to break out Kate Smith back in the 1970s.
In Montreal, the Canadiens have apparently found a lucky charm of their own this postseason: anthem singer Ginette Reno.
Before Montreal's two home games in Round 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Reno out belted her memorable rendition of "O Canada" and not only did the Habs win both of those games, they also scored within minutes of the opening face-off.
As Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post noted last month, before Game 4, Reno shook the hand of Danny Briere as she left the ice. The Canadiens forward hadn't registered a goal in the opening three games of the series, but potted one 2:24 into the game. “It worked on the first shift. Maybe we could get a little seat for her right by the bench," he said. "She can touch all the guys.”
But the memorable moments from the first round almost didn't happen for Reno. In January, the 68-year old singer suffered a heart attack and she was concerned that singing would be a detriment to her health going forward. From CTV:
"She came into my office and I knew she had the question, could she sing, could she not sing," said Dr. Rouleau in the video.
"When she sings it is a shock, there is a shot of adrenalin."
However, Dr. Rouleau says Reno's heart can handle the stress, and the Habs fan goes further than that.
"Ginette, I have a prescription for you, and that is to sing the National Anthem before the beginning of each Canadiens match, certainly against the Bruins but especially after that when we go all the finals for the Stanley Cup."
Rouleau, who works at the Montreal Heart Insititute, has created a video using Reno as an example to show future heart patients that they can recover and be back to normal as well.
Reno will be at Bell Centre Tuesday night to sing the anthems as the Canadiens host the Boston Bruins in Game 3. Will her magic work yet again and allow Montreal to grab a 2-1 series lead?
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