Given the Habs red hot start, I resisted blogging due to superstition.
Yes, I actually believed that releasing a blog post to my tens of fans (Hi Roy!) would somehow alter reality and cause the Habs to lose a hockey game.
Look no one ever said superstitions made sense, it is what it is…and it’s f’n real, ok!
(Please note: I also believe in winged horses, pagan Gods, and Batman)
As a result I’ve missed out on putting down my thoughts on the record setting 9-0 start. While one can argue that I didn’t even do a preview post before the season began, I could argue back…nothing…since I totally could have done it. My only valid excuse is that I had tend to my multiple fantasy football teams….and my child, of course…if I go missing one could assume it’s because my wife gave me multiple F5’s after reading this section.
I’ll keep my thoughts on the Habs start to a minimum because ultimately my overwhelming feeling throughout the whole run was “it’s only October.” While it’s nice to bank some points early and not have to rely on a mad dash finish to make the playoffs to secure home ice advantage. I couldn’t help but think that this start was getting way too much attention. Either way, the big 3 have stepped up and played great. A full season of Petry will do wonders to rest our top pairing (specifically Markov) and give the bottom pairing more time to grow (specifically Beaulieu). The 4th line has been great, and Galchenyuk has looked good at center. So all this leads me into my next point, which sadly has overshadowed anything else I wanted to write about with regards to the Habs.
Not specifically Semin, but the fans reaction to Semin. Not just about Semin…but the fans reaction after Monday night’s 5 -1 loss to the Canucks. (Even worse I heard someone complain about Price, this person’s name is probably Judas and suffers from short term memory, and is blind…and deaf). Also can’t forget the fans’ over reaction to the game against the Maple Leafs on Saturday. (one fan: OH MY GOD THEY GAVE UP 5800 SHOTS!! THE HABS SUCK) (another fan: YAY WE ARE 9-0 WE RULE THE UNIVERSE, CALL OFF THE SEASON. WE GOT THIS) (me: SIXTY! SEVEN!) (sorry I couldn’t resist)
It comes down to the fans’ reaction.
It’s often said that Montreal has the best fans in the NHL. I’ve said it myself. During one of many (long) short and sweet posts waxing philosophical about hockey and life, I’ve mentioned how galvanizing the fan base can be during a playoff run. How tremendous the Montreal fan base can be. Well here I am to sing a different tune. For the most part we do have some amazing fans, but – and keep in mind: I’m a super fan, I watch every game, I own a plethora of paraphernalia, my son’s first word was Habs (this isn’t true, but I wish) – I’m here to say that…
Habs fans are the worst fans in the league.
Cue “Yes!” chorus from my Bruin, Leafs, Flyers, Senators, Rangers, Canucks, Oilers, Sabres, (this list can go on) fans. However I’m not stating it from their point of view. Those teams love to hate the Habs for a myriad of reasons, chiefly among them is how Habs’ fans love to remind people of their rich history and championship pedigree. While I admit this can be annoying (nostalgia is fun, but it has its limits), any fan would love to have lineage and history of the Montreal Canadiens. I mean could you imagine if the Habs had still been winning cups this whole time, my God…we’d be insufferable. We’d essentially be New York Yankees fans…Yuck…hold on while I take a shower after that thought.
No, my statement is based on the fact that Habs’ fans live and die from one extreme to another. Look honestly they aren’t better or worse than any rabid fan base. Most Canadian cities have irrational fans, but everything gets amped up here, due to the history, the culture, the politics, and the fact that everyone is a know-it-all. While saner minds usually prevail, it’s sometimes disheartening to see our fans come down on a player because of a perceived reputation and not based on his play on the ice. It’s even tougher when that is sometimes split along the lines of language. I know it’s complicated but it’s also not complicated. This is your team: support them! You don’t abandon ship at the first sight of trouble, just like you shouldn’t cram aboard the bandwagon because your team is doing exceptionally well…in freaking OCTOBER…I mean is it even November yet? Get a grip people.
It’s all compounded by social media which gives everyone a platform to voice opinions…I fully support this of course, but it’s hard to read things about Semin for example, when you realize fans simply aren’t willing to educate themselves. I mean the guy has a 57 CF% and producing more shots on net per minute than Tomas Plekanec. Yes he’s looked a little slow, yes he’s had some brutal turnovers, but you know what…so have other players. The fact remains he’s a useful player and you have to question how the coach is motivating his players or if he is using them to their full potential. But hey, let’s pile on a guy who’s been in our line up while we went 9-1, of course he’s the reason we are struggling! It’s hard to swallow such irrationality of expectations sometimes. Habs fans have become like that student in the class…you know who I’m talking about…that kid who gets mad because they got an A, not an A+…Really? I hate that kid…unless I needed help understanding algebra, then that kid was my BFF…
I’d say it’s compounded even further by the fancy stats crowd. While I’m a huge proponent of the advanced stats movement, and have written about it at length…holy crap are they a bunch of negatrons. Habs advanced stats have been decent through ten games, but in the last few games they’ve fallen off…CUE THE NUMBER GEEK POLICE! HABS SUCK! WEE WOO WEE WOO (that’s supposed to be sirens)…sometimes these guys are more insufferable then the layman who won’t educate himself and still be pissed that we lost “one.” Hey now, I respect the numbers, I understand the concerns, but these people are like those kids at the arcade back in the day; the ones who knew all the crazy codes at Street Fighter and wouldn’t tell any others. SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE GUY…instead of being all smug with your hadoukens. I know Therrein doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to advanced stats, but you know who does…Price and you know who else? P.K Subban, and wouldn’t you believe Captain Pacioretty has excellent metrics as well. I know Semin is a lightning rod for the number guys, but let’s face it guys; he isn’t making or breaking the Habs this season. His benching isn’t a good sign, but at the same time, it’s early in the season and maybe you want other guys to play and get some burn. I always try and say this, don’t assume to know what’s happening behind closed doors, the makeup of a team is more than just numbers and spreadsheets. Let’s not over react.
I wrote ages ago about the different types of fans. One of those was the “Chicken Little”, a fan who couldn’t believe in this team no matter what. Even if they won a Cup, they were the genesis of my “Bursting into Flames” post because I could genuinely see these naysayers exploding at the sight (and utter confusion) of the Habs success. The sad reality is…all the different types of Habs fans have a slice of “Chicken Little” in them. The biggest Habs haters, aren’t the Bruins fans, or Leafs fans, they’re Habs fans.
So let’s focus Habs nation, there is A LOT of season left to play, there will be slumps, streaks, injuries, and surprises. Let’s keep our eye on the prize. Going 82-0 was never an option, and even worse going 82-0 and losing in the first round would be meaningless. The games that matter start in April, and they end in June. That’s what Bergevin is concerned about, and that’s what we should be concerned about. Let’s not fret small decisions, bad turnovers, and uneven score adjusted Corsi. Just take a step back off the ledge, stop planning the parade, and relax. I mean, the team is having a great start, let’s just enjoy it and appreciate the effort from les boys. Only in Montreal will you find fans nitpicking anything on a 9 and 1 team. I, for one, will do such thing! We have a good team, with great players, solid complimentary players, and a mediocre coach…Damn, I was this close…oh well can’t win them all…there’s clearly some chicken little inside this fan as well.
I guess that’s what losing since ’93 will do to a fan base…
…But hey at least it’s not as bad as’ 67. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)
Go Habs Go