Montreal's Jewish community is no doubt rejoicing over the Passover Seder table that one of their own, forward Jeff Halpern, is back in Montreal. For how long we do not know, but during his last stint with the club in 2010-2011 there were indeed hopes expressed that he would make some appearances within the Jewish community.
At the time there were in fact two Jewish players on the Habs: Halpern and Mike Cammalleri. Halperin did in fact agree to make one high profile appearance at a Jewish community event, but then head coach Jacques Martin called a special practice at that time.
Halpern is the longest-tenured Jewish player in the NHL. During his 13-year pro career he has played for his hometown Washington Capitals, as well as the Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and Montreal. He is member of the Greater Washington Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and gained a lot of new fans when he sat out a game on Yom Kippur in 2005. His wife Kelly, a former Washington Redskins cheerleader, converted to Judaism. The couple have two children.
Is Halpern had the opportunity to attend a Passover Seder this year, this is how I would expected him to have answered the four questions from a hockey perspective.
Question 1: Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzoh, but on this night we eat only matzoh?
Halpern: I am told that hot dog sales at the Bell Centre and other NHL rinks are so high that there are some times a shortage in buns.
Question 2: Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only bitter herbs?
Halpern: Passover comes around the time of the NHL trading deadline. It is not easy being traded. Naturally, for some of us, this is a very "bitter" experience.
Question 3; Why is it that on all other nights we do not dip our herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice?
Halpern: It is like my coaches have always told me. 'When you go in the corner to pick up the puck give it that all important second effort.' And if you are ever benched, do not be 'bitter.' Show you are a team player and again give that second effort,
Question 4: Why is it that on all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position?"
Halpern: When in a reclining position you are better positioned to pick up a loose puck and score.
Let us all raise a glass for Jeff Halpern. L'Chaim! May he re-sign with the Canadiens for next season and purchase a condo in Côte Saint-Luc.