The Subban Saga: Enough is Enough!

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Habs’ fans are a unique breed but ever since ‘the trade’, Montreal Canadiens fans have been divided more than ever. In one corner, you have the fans who cheer for the number in the back of the jersey and in the other, the fans who cheer for the Habs no matter who wears the jersey, no matter what number is on those jerseys. And being catalogued doesn’t sit well with either types of fans. Being called a “P.K. Subban fan” is seen as an insult to them, while others are perceived as Habs’ “apologists”. 

The gap between the two types of fans seems to have widened after the Predators’ weekend visit in Montreal this past weekend. On Saturday, after going one on one against Subban and scoring a goal for the Canadiens, Brendan Gallagher gave his former ‘teammate’ the lip-service… but why would that be?

In the post-game scrum in the dressing room, reporters asked Gallagher three consecutive questions about Subban. Trying to evade the question the first two times and move on with the Canadiens’ game, he finally had enough and snapped the third time around. He basically stated the obvious, what everybody in the hockey world knows, saying that Subban has a need for attention. Boy did that not sit well with the people who see the former Habs’ player as the flawless Golden Boy! Twitter was inflamed by even those who, not so long ago, wanted Gallagher to wear the captain ‘C’ if Max Pacioretty was traded. After all, they couldn’t vote for Weber, the guy who came back in that trade, right?

History

Not so long ago, back on November 22nd in Nashville, Gallagher and Subban got into a scuffle after Nicolas Deslauriers (not Gallagher surprisingly) ran into Pekka Rinne. Notice who Subban goes after on the left of your screen. Not Deslauriers, who was the one going hard to the net. Nope. The smaller enemy was a much better target.

After the game, Subban showed his true colours once again, taking a shot at Gallagher. But hey, that’s Subban. Looking at him leave the interview afterwards is quite telling, truthfully. People can like him or not, but trying too deny that he loves the attention would be rather laughable.

But that’s the the first altercation between the two players as it all started back in 2015, during a team practice. At the time, it was downplayed but look at Alexei Emelin, Alex Galchenyuk and Carey Price going to support and encourage Gallagher.

So cut the narrative by defending the Golden Boy as fault-free. He was given a bridge deal for a reason and eventually got traded for the same reason, whether some fans of the number in the back of the jerseys are saying. Gallagher wears the CH on his heart and plays for the logo in front of the jersey. The other, as seen in more than a few occasions, likes to hear himself talk… and Gallagher was right with his post-game comments on February 10th.

Racism accusations

In what I would qualify as a huge stretch and reaching a new low in the battle to defend Subban, those “fans” took exception to a tweet by former first round pick Colten Teubert after he came to Gallagher’s defense, posting the following on his Twitter account:

Did you know that Monday was a racist word? Not saying that it’s not ever the case but I’m well in my 50’s and I have never heard the first work day of the week, a day that everybody hates, used in a racial way. So does it mean that all the Monday Memes on the internet have a racist connotation? Does it mean that people of colour cannot hate Mondays? Talk about a stretch! Get over yourselves people. It’s two people who don’t like each other. Reaching to racism is not only a stretch, it’s desperation in trying to find any excuses to defend the Golden Boy. Guess what? I hate Mondays too! Yet, I respect people of colours and different ethnic than myself, for the most part.

Many will disagree but it doesn’t change the fact: I never disliked Subban the individual… until the post-game comments against Gallagher. The guy is arrogant and does like to have the spotlight on him and will do anything to get it too. He, in my humble opinion, cost his team the Stanley Cup last year by waking him the giant Crosby with his Listerine comments and even the Predators recognized it, putting the muzzle on the controversial defenseman.

So fans, you are completely entitled to supporting whomever you want. You want to love Subban, it’s your right. But putting your head in the sand doesn’t make the issue disappear. He is what he is. The reason why he was selected in the second round is because of it. The reason why he was signed to a bridge contract is not because of his talent, but because of the doubts management had about his relationship with teammates and being a team player. Ultimately, he was traded for the same reason prior to his No-Movement Clause kicked in, which would have tied the Canadiens’ hands for eight long years. Like it or not, he wasn’t liked in the dressing room by a vast majority and it’s because of antics like the ones we’ve seen this season.

In the meantime, Habs’ fans will keep on cheering the Canadiens. Go Habs Go!

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Calling a Spade a Spade: Carey On!

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Stating that the Montreal Canadiens are up to a slow start of the 2017-2018 season would be like saying that Christmas will fall on December 25th this year… with the exception that everyone expected the winter holiday to fall on that date. While most hockey fans and media members will recognize that this team is better than what it has shown so far, a record of 3-7-1 after 11 games heading into tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators places them dead last in the Eastern Conference and this isn’t helping to keep the naysayers in the Habs’ fan base quiet.

There are several issues factoring into the Canadiens’ lack-lustered start to the season, none other more blatant than the team’s inability to put the puck in the opposing net. That is something that everyone around the NHL, fans included, expected team GM Marc Bergevin to address in the off-season. He did make a big move in hope to address that issue when he traded for Jonathan Drouin, but the loss of fellow Russian countrymen Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov and their contribution has left it’s mark on the offensive side of the ice.

What is surprising however is seeing how many goals the Canadiens are allowing every game, considering that they count, in their line-up, on the best goaltender in the World in Carey Price. The Habs have already allowed 19 more goals to the opposition than they have scored, and they can thank the Arizona Coyotes for allowing them not to be the worst in the NHL in that department. In fact, the team is third worse in the league by allowing a whooping 3.82 goals per game while sitting dead last in the NHL, scoring only two goals per game. Do the math and you have the results we’re seeing right now.

Carey On

It would be very unfair to pin point the goals against solely on goaltending, although it would also be irresponsible to ignore that it has been a contributing factor. Every single team in the NHL pays their franchise players top dollars and they should be expecting them to perform as such and in Price’s case, he’s simply not so far this season. In his first ten games, heading into tonight, Price’s goals’ against average sits at an uncharacteristic 3.64 and his saves percentage (.883) is well below what would be considered NHL respectability level.

As the team’s back bone, Price must find a way to up his game, to find his “Mojo”, to borrow a term from the infamous Austin Powers. And with the help of Stephane Waite, there should be no doubt that he will. Let’s just hope that he does before it becomes impossible for the team to climb back to playoffs’ contention.

Calling out the idiots

Canadiens’ fans and some media personalities covering the team are experts at proclaiming themselves as the most knowledgeable in the NHL yet, some of them are also experts at proving otherwise with their words and actions. We are seeing plenty of examples of that by reading The Montreal Gazette and reading comments on Twitter, which we can always avoid reading. But it’s when that behaviour is displayed for the world to see, on national TV, that it becomes shameful. Encouraged by the so-called media personalities or showbiz sports writers wannabes, those idiot fans start booing the back bone of their so-called favourite team, making the majority of this loyal fan base want to crawl into a hole in shame.

So to those who were at that game, in the stands, acting like idiots… Shame on you! Go find another team to “cheer” for! You don’t deserve to be called Habs’ fans as you are a real shame to those who know and understand the game. You put a black mark on this glorious fan base by acting like 3 year-olds having a temper tantrum in a public place for not getting their toy! This is totally unacceptable and I wish that those who heard them do that, standing or sitting beside them, would speak up and ridicule them for what they are: plain idiots! Fans can be frustrated and if they want to boo the team, fine, it’s their right. But booing an individual player, whoever he is, particularly the best player on their supposedly favourite team… it’s idiotic! Period. To borrow a very classy man’s own quote, back when similar idiots were booing Patrice Brisebois every time he touched the puck:

“We don’t need those people, we don’t want those people, they’re jealous people, yellow people. I think they’re a bunch of gutless bastards, to be honest. … Our message to them is to stay away, we don’t need you.” ~ Bob Gainey

If you know anything about Gainey the player, the man, you will realize and understand the weight and importance of those words. But something tells me that those idiots can’t recognize their face from their backends, so expecting them to respect our franchise’s legends is way too much to ask.

Worse, it’s not the first time that Price has to go through such humiliation from those who are supposedly “supporting and cheering” for this team. In a Patrick Roy moment, we clearly remember Price raising his arms in the air in yet, another shameful time.

And we know what happened to St. Patrick, who asked for a trade and ended up giving the Colorado Avalanche their two Stanley Cups. Some self-proclaimed “most knowledgeable fans” seem to be suffering from severe memory loss… or lack of grey matter.

To those who follow this blog regularly, you will know that I call a spade a spade and that I’m not writing as a popularity contest, that I will call out those who I feel are out of line. I do recognize that I am out of line by the way I am calling out the boo birds and to you, readers, I apologize for this uncharacteristic outburst. But I am not willing to remove, edit or abstain myself from putting it down for all to read, at least not this one time. As Gainey has done in the media back then, it needs to be said, it needs to be heard, and it needs to be nipped in the bud not just by me, but by every other Habs’ fan feeling ashamed by the behaviour of a few rotten apples.

With all of that being said, most Montreal Canadiens’ fans are classy, knowledgeable individuals who can criticize what they don’t like and see the positive in things just as well. They understand that while they are passionate, they don’t get personal in their attacks towards the team, the administrators or the players. For that, I am grateful to be part of this fan base and all together we can chant our “GO HABS GO!“.