Montreal Canadiens fans just infuriate with their smugness

Rick MacLean comments@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on May 17, 2014

The new status went up on her Facebook page shortly after the game was over.

“Well, now my favourite team is ANY BUT MONTREAL.”

For those not overly familiar with the etiquette of the Internet or that the words internet and etiquette belong in the same sentence putting something in capital letters is the equivalent of standing nose to nose with someone and shouting in their face.

But it was hard to blame her, really.

Despite being the overwhelming favourites to win their Stanley Cup hockey series, the much bigger Boston Bruins surrendered a 3-2 series lead and lost the final two games of the series, getting outscored 7-1 along the way.

Now, if you’re not a hockey fan, chances are you don’t know what it means to lose to Montreal. Worse, you don’t know what it’s like to get up the morning after your team loses to the Montreal Canadiens and have to listen to that team’s fans.

Is there anyone more smug? They smirk that smirk, then shrug that shrug I thought only Pierre Trudeau could pull off.

Reportedly asked once if he has ever smoked marijuana, Trudeau smirked, shrugged and said, “Do you mean in this country?”

He could do that. There was a ‘I’m just playing with you because I’m smart and rich and no one should take all of this too seriously’ thing he had. It worked for him.

But Habs fans? They point a finger at the Bruin player who decided it would be a good idea while sitting on the bench a familiar spot in his hockey career to squirt his water bottle in the face of Montreal’s best player as he flew by on the ice.

No class, Habs fans thundered. Our guys will just use it as motivation. No one respects us and flicking water into their faces, all that does is make them want to get even. They may be smaller than you, but they’ll just keep coming.

Then they point at the list of past winners of the Stanley Cup and get all tiresome.

Yes, yes, yes. Your team has won it a few times. OK, more than a few times.

The smirk appears again. Honestly, does every Habs fan have the list tattooed onto the inside of their forehead, ready just in case they get the chance to start rhyming off the wins? Six championships between 1965 and 1973, they chime in unison.

Sure, comes the response, but what about the Leafs in 1967? Huh, what about that? George Armstrong and the rest of coach Punch Imlach’s boys sure handed them a lesson, didn’t they.

Like clockwork, out comes the cruelest cut of all sympathy.

“Yes. The poor Leafs. That was the last time they won, wasn’t it.”

They don’t even phrase it as a question, because it isn’t. It’s a twisting of the knife.

Yeah, says another. And the Bruins won in 1970 and 1972, with Orr and Esposito and Derek Sanderson and …

You know it’s coming.

“Wasn’t that the team the Canadiens beat in 1971 with that rookie goalie? What was his name? Oh yeah, Ken Dryden.”

Then, when they really want to wound, they point out the Habs went on to win four years in a row, 1976-1979, somehow beat the Calgary Flames in 1986, and won again in 1993.

Yeah, but they haven’t won since. Ha, take that! True, they sigh, sadly. But then, neither has any other Canadian team. And smirk.

No wonder it’s Anybody But Montreal for so many Canadians now. I get it. I do. But then, I’ve always been a Montreal Canadiens fan.

Rick MacLean is an instructor in the journalism program at Holland College in Charlottetown.