Bursting into Fans

With the dog days of summer upon us, while we all nervously sit around and wait for P.K to sign on the dotted line, I decided to write about the fans. The incredible cross section of people who make up Habs Nation in all its amazing, annoying, and passionate glory. Over the years I’ve definitely encountered my fair share of these type of Habs’ fans. I also admit that I have transitioned between the different fan types throughout my life (sometimes even during a single game.) Now I’m aware there maybe many other types, but these eight “fans” are the first that sprung to my mind. As a bonus, I added an “Off Season Opinion” section per fan, places where you can find these fans, and what would likely happen to each fan when the Habs win the big one.

The Eternal Optimist

I’m starting out with this fan, because they are far and few between in this hockey mad city. The EO is usually a younger fan who hasn’t yet been buried under years of disappointment and cynicism. Inevitably the EO transitions into one of the other types of fan as they get older. However there are those extremely rare fans who stay EO’s their whole lives. They become staunch die hards who most likely go to bed with the Habs logo painted on their face. These “elite EOs” either need to be applauded for their unwavering loyalty and positivity, or checked into an asylum because they’re probably delusional. The Habs can do no wrong in their eyes, and every move will definitely work out.

EO Off Season Opinions thus far:

“Hey that PA Paranteau guy is going to score 50 goals this year. Shades of Maurice I tell you.”

“Galchenyuk is going to score 100 points this year. It’s guaranteed, so I just tattooed his face on my calf muscle.”

“That Russian kid we drafted is going to be the rookie of the year!…Don’t laugh!”

“That Sekac guy is the next Jagr. I already ordered his jersey…both home and away…and his Czech national team jersey…”

Places you’re most likely to spot an EO:

Arts and crafts shops (in order to buy face paint, and supplies to make signs). Kindergarten. An Asylum.

What will happen to an EO when the Habs win the Cup:

They will be so happy and vindicated that they will probably become borderline insufferable. Either way you’ll be happy for them because their undying fidelity finally paid off. Or they’ll be so overwhelmed with joy, that they’ll burst into flames.

The Chicken Little

Always the eternal pessimist, this fan lives on the other end of the spectrum. The CL has been scarred by decades of false hopes; superstars that never really panned out, and bumbling management. The CL is a true hater; a fan who refuses to acknowledge any good fortune or success. Good players have “flukey” seasons or “will leave as soon as they can.” Long playoff runs are lucky, and everyone always “sucks.” The past success of this team is a taunting reminder to all CL’s that no matter how well the Habs do, they will never be as good as their past anyway.

CL Off Season Opinions thus far:

“Subban is going to get offer sheeted for 12M dollars, he’s gone for sure. We f’d up…again”

“I new Vanek wouldn’t stay. He sucks anyway. But we should have kept him. We suck.”

“Typical Habs, screwing up the Gorges situation. We f’d up…again”

“Gorges sucks anyways. Why did we sign him to that stupid contract in the first place. We suck.”

Places you’re most likely to spot a CL:

Corner of a bar (complaining about the game). A dark basement (where they can send out angry tweets). On a ledge.

What will happen to a CL when the Habs win the Cup:

They will be so confused at the Cup win that they will either break down in tears and become Eternal Optimists or burst into flames.

The Nordiques

The ‘diques are basically transplanted Quebec Nordiques fans. ‘Diques actually hate the Habs deep down and are generally driven to think that there is a conspiracy against french speaking players. These fans fuel any language debates about the team. ‘Diques make up a huge percentage of people who think Desharnais has any trade value.

‘Diques Off Season Opinions thus far:

“Finally…Bergie a cherche un joueur Quebecois, sauf nous avons echange pour un jouer Quebecois esti tabernac!”

“On doit echanger Gorges pour Huberdeau, esti tabernac!”

“On doit echanger Pacioretty pour Vinnie, esti tabernac!”

“C’est quoi un Mal-Ohtra?…esti tabernac!”

Places you’re most likely to spot a Dique:

Corner of a bar (in small town Quebec). At the Marois residence. Quebec City.

What will happen to a ‘dique when the Habs win the Cup:

They’ll probably grumble about it, as they really get a kick out of seeing the Habs fail. They will rally to say that it was french player X who really led the team to victory and when they actually realize that we won because of players like P.K, Price,and Pacioretty they’ll try to drown themselves in a huge vat of Labbat 50…and then…you guessed it…burst into flames.

The Headline Reader

These fans are the most annoying I’ve come across. This is due mostly to their laziness and disinterest in the Habs, but they refuse to admit it and want to be seen as real fans. The HR’s desperately want to be part of the conversation but don’t really want to make the effort to watch any games or do some reading. So they peruse the TSN headlines in the mornings and then pop up at the water cooler with ridiculous and uninformed opinions. They tend to get more “involved” during a long playoff run and can tip over into the FBJ category (see below) but for the most part they’ll stick to raiding headlines/statuses/tweets for any info and develop stubborn opinions that illicit eye rolls and head shaking.

HR’s Off Season Opinions thus far:

“I’m telling you that Gorges has a NTC!” (they have no clue what an NTC is)

“Leafs gave Subban an offer sheet!” (This was a gag headline that bounced around the web last week and outted many HR type fans)

“We signed Briere!?” (They didn’t realize they read a headline from last year)

Places you’re most likely to spot a HR:

Early in the morning at a computer. Loitering by the coffee machine. Googling.

What will happen to a HR when the Habs win the Cup:

They will frequently mention that this is the Habs’ 25th Stanley Cup win. They’ll talk about any elite perfomers and the Conn Smythe winner, although they won’t know 90% of the players on the team. They may make the effort to actually do a little more reading but ultimately they will be overwhelmed by the true fans and fade into the background where their irrelevance will cause them to cry and burst into flames.

The Fair-weather Bandwagon Jumpers

These fans are easy to spot; they’re usually that guy or gal at the local pub who all of a sudden start showing up wearing brand new Habs gear. A lot of these fans are casual fans throughout the year, always pulling for the Habs but not living or dying by them. There is a subsegment of the FBJ’s that literally only comes out if the Habs make the second round of the playoffs. Ultimately it’s hard to fault anyone for getting swept up by the city wide madness that grips Montreal during a Habs playoff run. As long as they don’t develop into Headline Readers and support the bleu-blanc-rouge unconditonally, I have no qualms with these spring time warriors.

FBJ’s Off Season Opinions thus far:

“Did we sign that Subban guy yet?”

“Hey bro, I wasted 40 bucks on that Gionta tshirt.”

“We should get that Crosby guy…No?”

“…Who’s Gorges?”

Places you’re most likely to spot a FBJ:

At the Habs store in April. The red seats. St. Laurent douchey supper clubs.

What will happen to a FBJ when the Habs win the Cup:

They’ll celebrate loud and proud, and make bold claims that they are now “fans for life”. However, after about 2 weeks, when hearing a conversation about Brandon Prust, they’ll say something like “Isn’t he in the new Marvel movie?” which will cause an annoyed die hard fan to douse them in vodka and set them on fire.

The “Back in My Day”

The grizzled, older fanbase; the type of person that you can imagine saying “I don’t want Maurice tonight…I want the Rocket!” The BiMD’s may be a casual fan at this point in their lives but they remember the glory days of the 50s, 60s and 70s very vividly. You can often hear them bemoaning the players of today as soft and not loyal. BiMD’s are usually full of great stories about the old times but are often out of touch with the modern era and they can start to wear thin: we get it…we’re not as good as the old dynasty teams, but you know what…NO ONE IS ,OLD MAN! (no older people were actually yelled at in the writing of this blog entry).

BiMD’s Off Season Opinions thus far:

“Subban is ok, but he’s no Big Bird…or Savard…Or Pointu!”

“They should trade Pacioretty…that kid is soft, he wouldn’t last one shift in the 50s!”

“Do you have reel to reel video tape machine? I want to watch the ’71 finals again.”

“Hey Melvin…they should retire the whole 1970s! Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! *cough! *cough! *cough!” (this is group BiMD laughter).

Places you’re most likely to spot a BiMD:

Old school pub downtown drinking beers with other BiMDs. Old folks home. A public library.

What will happen to a BiMD when the Habs win the Cup:

Realistically they’ll be happy because these old crummy barflies are loyal fans. However they’ll be saying things like: “Back in my day we won four cups in a row, not just one.” A lot of these guys are perpetually drunk, so there is a really good chance you’ll be able to convince them that a phone booth is a time machine and it’s actually 1975. Just note, that fake time travel may be too much for them to handle and they’ll burst into flames.

The Stathead

Statheads get a bum rap; the older guard tend to dismiss them as fancy number guys who don’t understand the intangibles of the game. For the most part, statheads are real fans who channel their fandom into understanding advanced metrics and how that can help their team succeed. Granted, some of them fall in love with the numbers and completely gloss over the human factor involved with many players. You’ll hear terms like Corsi, Fenwick, and PDO and not have any f’n clue about what’s being discussed. Don’t worry about it though; if you find yourself being overwhelmed, just say something like “Douglas Murray sucks” and rejoice in the free beers that will be bought for you.

SH’s Off Season Opinions thus far:

“Habs’ Corsi is so much better with these new moves!”

“Emelin needs Markov, otherwise he’s horseshit.”

“Eller is underrated. We need to sign him.”

“I think Bergervin is starting to listen us!” (Umm no he’s not)

Places you’re most likely to spot a SH:

Using Excel. Using the Extra Skater. A podcast.

What will happen to a SH when the Habs win the Cup:

Most likely they will feel vindicated as advanced stats really are a good indictaor of Stanley Cup success. In the case that the Habs make a run to the Cup that defies the advanced stat trends, a SH will quickly make up another a counter stat to show how it was actually possible. However in reality they won’t know how to process the fact that the metrics were wrong and they will burst into flames.

The Realist aka the Hockey Fan

This fan is someone who loves the Habs, but also loves hockey or sports. This fan generally understands the reality of the salary cap era, can appreciate advanced stats, and looks at player trends. While a RHF is a true blue Habs fan they will still appreciate another team’s good players even if they play for Toronto and Boston. Furthermore they’ll admit the Habs shortcomings without being irrational. These fans will generally accept a few years of struggle if it will result in some long term sustainable success. On the flip side, when the Habs do go on a long playoff run, they are usually front and center cheering them on. I left this fan type for last, because I’m this type of fan, and this is my blog…so I win. This wasn’t a competition, but I’m going down with the ship on this one.

RHF’s Off Season Opinions thus far:

“It’s going to cost at least 8.5M to sign P.K given the crazy contracts handed out so far.”

“There is going to be a leadership gap with Gorges and Gionta gone.”

“Enough about the Habs for now, let’s enjoy the World Cup… …it’s a soccer tournament…its the most popular tournament in the world…literally…I give up.” (RHF talking to non RHF)

“I need to buy a Markov t-shirt.”

Places you’re most likely to spot a RHF:

Talking sports at a local watering hole. Watching sports at a local watering hole. Writing this blog.

What will happen to a RHF when the Habs win the Cup:

They will probably call their fathers or friends to talk about all of it; they’ll hug random strangers; they’ll cry tears of joy; and buy everyone in the bar a round of drinks. It won’t matter if the other bar patrons are optimists, pessimists, ‘diques, headline readers, statheads, fair-weather fans or old crummy drinkers. Because when the Habs do win the Cup it doesn’t matter what type of fan you are, and though we may all burst into flames, on that one special night…we’ll all be the same. We’ll all be Stanley Cup Champion fans.

Go Habs Go.

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