As the Habs stand on the precipice of elimination. It saddens me to see the fan (and some media) reaction to the current roster. I’ve already written about how Habs fans can be considered some of the worst fans in hockey. I am fully aware it’s a broad statement. If you spend five minutes on twitter reading through any fan base’s tweets and you’ll see plenty of terrible fans. Mainly it’s people who refuse to either look into the details of the games or players; enjoy meaningless hot takes; or are prone to mob mentality. This reached a crescendo in my head when I saw Sean Campbell, host of the post game show on TSN 690, tweet about a “fan” who called in last night to complain about Pacioretty, because he believed that Beliveau would have deked on the breakaway and that shows leadership. I mean…I have no words for this…so I’ll simply carry on.
One thing I want to make clear is that I’m not against criticizing your team; everyone is entitled to that opinion and right. Especially as a consumer of the product that is sports. My issues is with the sub segment of fans, who prefer to live with their narrow view of the game and seemingly exist simply to stir the pot, or bask in negativity. Typically these fans are ultra-quiet when the Habs are playing well or will nit-pick on one player struggling despite team success. Look all fans will sometimes veer into the negative when things aren’t going right, but some prefer to just stay there. It just seemed that the Habs seem to have more of them, or maybe they just come out of hiding for the playoffs. So I’ve identified the 7 types of worst Habs fans, and ranked them on the DEL: “deking equals leadership” scale of 1 to 5; 1 being mildly offensive yet somewhat understandable and 5 being so irrationally stupid that you wonder if that person is constantly drunk and was watching cock fighting instead of hockey but thought it was a Habs game, so they kept yelling “Patio-ready sucks!!!” at a chicken.
The Bandwagon Fan
Habs win game 1 of a series? This fan is talking about the Stanley Cup! Planning the parade route and party. Habs lose game 2 of the series? This fan morphs into a “He Sucks” Fan or a “Chicken Little.” Habs win game 3? C”EST SENT LA COUPE! Habs lose Game 4?…ok you get the picture.
DEL Rating: 1. This fan is annoying, but not the worst. Most of these fans are either getting swept up by playoff fever or don’t usually watch the game on a regular basis. As mentioned – there is a fear that these type of fans dip into a more annoying fan type, but many are willing to just be supportive of the team and remain positive.
The Numbers Team and the Anti Numbers Team.
I grouped these two together, because I’m only talking about the extreme fringe of each group. Those who only live and die by analytics, and those who flat out refuse to even acknowledge the value of numbers in any shape or form. Full disclosure here: I am a numbers guy, but I don’t think they are absolute. I understand what PDO is but I don’t think it’s just an indicator of puck luck. Perhaps over the course of a season, but in a short series with the most talented players on the planet? It could be an athlete elevating themselves into a level of focus that allows them to exceed their average play even if it’s only for a few games. On the flip side to deny the value of these stats when they have so obviously been indicators of success means you’re so out of touch that it makes it difficult to be credible.
DEL Rating: 2.5 Both extreme wings of these groups fall into a “know-it-all” category which is insufferable at times. It’s ok to have your ways of viewing the game, but don’t push that view on others, and scoff and belittle those who don’t share it. At the end of the day, you want to see your team succeed, but these fans come off a selfish, and usually deserve a to be ignored or occasionally, punched in the face.
I love P.K. Subban, when the trade first happened, I wrote a whole blog on how I believed it was a mistake. It’s important to note I also love Shea Weber. They are two different players, and I appreciate what both can bring to the table. As the season progressed, there were moments were I missed Subban, or felt he could have helped the team, but in the end the trade was made, and it’s over now – move on. It’s ok to cheer for Subban, and be happy for his success, but don’t use it to revel in the Habs struggles. Those who constantly compare Subban and Weber, and gleefully point out that the Predators swept the Blackhawks to mock the Habs are bordering on trolling. Be the bigger person – Subban certainly has been – if you really are a fan of his, than emulate his character and class and shut the fuck up.
DEL Rating: 2 to 3. It’s still fresh enough that I’m willing to be somewhat understanding, but as time goes on this will slide up the scale. In the meantime, Subbanites need to meet someone new, or go see a shrink so they can learn to let go. It’s not good for the soul to hold a grudge, or be an annoying prick.
The Old Timers Club
Look, I’m all for nostalgia, after all, the Habs have a very rich and impressive history. But…that was then, and this is now. The game is so different as compared to the 90s, the 80s, the 70s that you cannot compare eras. It is a fool’s errand. I appreciate the lessons of the past to help build a better future. But when it comes to sports, some of those lessons don’t make sense anymore. The game is faster, players are bigger, goalies are better, management is different, coaching is more detailed…it is a different game. Furthermore, the Habs haven’t won a cup in 24 years – just like the Subbanites need to learn let go, so do the Old Timers. Be proud of the history, draw motivation, and spirit from the legends but don’t blur the time line. Enough with “these guys need to play with more vigor and jam! They don’t have enough heart. Dag nabbit! They need to hit more! Shoot less! Drink raw eggs, and crap thunder!! I don’t want Maurice tonight. I WANT THE ROCKET” and so on…until they fall asleep. So unless you have a time machine or can find those damn Forum Ghosts and bring them to the Bell Center, you need to step into the present.
DEL Rating: 1.7. I have a soft spot for these old timers. As a fan who has read up on the history of the game, and Canadiens. I have become more sympathetic to the good old days. Furthermore I think the Canadiens mean more to Montrealers than most other franchises around North America. I’m not suggesting they are better or worse, simply that the Montreal Canadiens and the city of Montreal’s are intertwined in their history. Sports has become part of culture in many places. In Montreal it’s been the case for 100 years….Good Lord am I becoming an old timer? No way, I’m going to put on my Jean Beliveau jersey, read the hockey sweater, pound some prune juice, and go to bed early.
The Chicken Littles
A lovable group, only in the fact these fine folks are as consistent as Andrei Markov. Pre-Season; Regular Season; Playoffs; Off-Season…it doesn’t matter to our fine feathered friends, as catastrophe is always looming around the corner. A player will inevitably slump, an injury will definitely occur. The coach will make the wrong decision, the GM will bring in the wrong player. A player’s positives are completely glossed over to concentrate on the negatives. I actually feel kind of bad for these fans, because I think deep down they want the Habs to succeed but they are incapable of seeing anything positive that would allow them to have hope. Perhaps they fear hope, after all it’s easier to hang out in the dark versus actually come out in to the light, and taking a look around. In the end these people have an expiry date, and begin to reach dangerous levels of annoyance in their constant negativity
DEL Rating: 3. This can quickly spiral into a 5 if negativity levels reach a code red. But sometimes it’s easy to fall in the chicken little mode when things aren’t going well so I’ll give them a slight pass. But for those stuck there…at some point they will either need to be brought in or dragged into the light. Where they will either turn in to dust or begrudgingly accept that “hey, it’s not so bad to cheer for your team, win or lose.”
The “He Sucks” Fan
An amalgamation of the Bandwagon Fan, a Chicken Little, with a pinch of know-it-all. The “He Sucks” Fan is close to being the most annoying fan in existence. Almost every fanbase has these fans, but Habs nation takes the cake, as no one is safe from the clutches of this type of fan. This season Max Pacioretty became only the 5th Montreal Canadiens in their history to have 4 straight 30 goal season. As captain this season he was the most steady presence on the ice all season. He has become a two way force and dynamic penalty killer as well as one of the best goal scorers in the NHL. So of course because he’s struggled to score in this series (but generate chances, create space on the ice, and get shots on net): “He Sucks!” Carey Price has another stellar season in nets for the Canadiens. Widely regarded as one of the top 5 goalies in the NHL, he has backstopped the Habs to number of playoff appearances and earned a Vezina and Hart trophy along the way. Despite the fact he has no goal support in this series, has .936 save percentage and 1.82 GAA, numerous fans have come out and said “he’s not playing well – told you he was overrated.” One media member had the gall to suggest that Price wasn’t “stealing games for the Habs”…so I guess that means: “He Sucks!” Look I know the best players on a team will always be held to a different regard, however to ignore the work they are doing and quickly dismiss them as lazy or not good enough, shows a lack of credibility and understanding as a fanbase. It takes a significant amount of assuming to be a “He Sucks!” fan, and in the end you definitely come off looking like an ass to you and me.
DEL Rating: 5. In the end this fan is so incredibly frustrated they need a smoke, a glass of wine, and a massage just to end up tense. They will also turn on a dime the second a good game happens to the players they were currently hating on. Stating all along that it was their complaining that got the player to kick it into extra gear even though that players has been playing as hard as possible all along. The most frustrating aspect of this fan is their complete and utter denial that the other team has anything to do with Habs’ struggles. So many fans seem blind to the fact that Lundqvist has been incredibly good for the Rangers in this series, and has kept them in games for long stretches where they could have been down by 2 or 3 goals.
“Lundqvist? He Sucks…Pacioretty and Price? They suck MORE! TRADE THEM ALL! Blaaargghhhh”
Ugh….Well at least this fan is consistent…consistently annoying.
The ultimate worst fan. The fan who isn’t a fan of the team, but a fan of hate. One who stirs the pot, and makes outlandish claims aimed to generate a reaction. This fan is the mutant offspring all of the worst fans with a dash of evil thrown in. They exists only to crap all over the Habs and humanity, and revel in failure. Usually a front runner who jumps from being a fan of whoever the best team in the league is at that given time. This fan believes no one wearing the CH is good, and that the Habs will never win; don’t want to win; and can’t ever win – and will say anything to “prove” it. This is the fan that other fans tell spooky stories about around a camp fire.
The Troll. They are rarely seen as they are often sitting behind a keyboard and tweeting away and cackling like an evil scientist. There is no redeeming quality to this fan. The worst of the worst. The only way to beat them is to ignore them. Because they can very quickly cross a line and they can be hurtful.
DEL Rating: 10. If I ever met a troll in real time. I would tell them “I’m sorry you’re the way you are’ and walk away…right after I break their fingers so they can’t mean tweet, or cyber bully anyone for a few weeks. Assholes.
There you have it. Come on Habs fans! I know there are plenty of good, honest hockey fans out there. Let’s rally behind the team and cheer them on win or lose! Habs in 7!
Go Habs Go!