I’m sending out this dispatch from deep behind enemy lines. I live my life in Boston, Massachusetts. I know, I know. Every day, I knock heads with the worst of the worst: knuckleheaded Bruins fans. They come at me constantly, fade haircut after fade haircut. They all talk trash about the Habs in that same mind-numbing accent, the one that pretty much crosses the line into an all-out speech impediment.
I walk among them.
The Canadiens are headed into this season full of promise. We have a young talented team on the come, maybe the best we’ve had to cheer for in over a decade. That isn’t just the afterglow of a Conference Finals appearance talking, either. All hopes aside, our main hurdle remains the Boston Bruins. Despite beating them as consistently as a comic book villain the last couple seasons, they remain a threat. Realignment and the new playoff format means getting by them in order to reach our true goal. Consequently, this means dealing with the banter of those fans, a din that roars only louder in the internet age of anonymous keyboard warriors.
Being immersed in the B’s fan habitat, Gorillas-in-the-Mist-style, I’ve learned what makes these creatures tick. I’ve learned that you can’t just accept their words at face value. You have to take in all the information: their non-verbal communications, the different stresses they’re under. By taking all variables into account, you’re usually able to decipher their true message. It’s a lot like interpreting the ravings of a 4 year-old in the throes of a temper tantrum. It’s actually rather fascinating.
Take diving. That’s their drumbeat. All their Montreal smack-talk is played over the steady rhythm of whining about our unsportsmanlike diving. Our mistake, as Canadiens fans, one I am guilty of, is getting defensive about these accusations and engaging them in debate. It’s pointless because Bruins fans don’t really care about diving. It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard them say, even if you know one of them personally. I’ve studied them for years. I will say it categorically: Bruins fans do not care about diving.
They might even like it.
They have a statue dedicated to diving/embellishment right at the entrance of TD Banknorth Garden. It’s a bronzing of that classic photo, Bobby Orr flying through the air, celebrating the Cup-winning goal. It’s a great photo, powerful imagery, but we all know what was going on there. It was a goddamned dive. Orr wasn’t sure that puck was going in the net. He felt a stick graze his shin pad and hit the deck. Physics doesn’t explain a guy launched into orbit like that. Trying to buy a call does.
How’s the knees, Bobby? Ice up, son.
Now, red-faced Bostonians push, elbow and trample past that statue of ‘The Dive’, into the House of Marshmont where tickets have gotten more and more overpriced ever since it got cool to watch hockey in Boston a couple years ago.
Through my research, I’ve developed a compelling hypothesis. I contend that these rampant complaints about diving are nothing more than an emotional outburst. This is how these beasts express their frustration that all their players are so cement-footed and undisciplined. It’s their way of yearning for a modern day Bobby Orr, a truly dynamic hockey player they could call their own. Just analyze their treatment of PK Subban.
Most of you guys think B’s fans hate PK Subban. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, they hate what PK does to their chances. They hate the breakaway goals out of the box and the bombs from the blue line lighting the lamp. They hate it when he jacks up Brad Marshmont or David Krejci or whatever else passes for a top 6 forward in Boston these days. They can’t deal with any of that but, make no mistake, they love PK Subban.
In fact, Subban dominated offseason hockey talk in Boston. I overheard it all summer. Waiting in line for their Dunkin Donuts swill, they’d be talking back and forth about how Chiarelli should make him an offer. At worst, they said, drive up the price and “Put Montreal…in cap jail”. At best, steal him from us, teach him how to play “Bruins hockey” and pair him with Chara. “You know…he kinda reminds me of Ray Bourque sometimes.”
I heard this. You have to imagine their quotes in that slow monotonous tone, every word containing an ‘r’ being tragically mispronounced. All that chatter stopped when PK resigned with Montreal. Now they talk about finding a defenseman “like Drew Doughty”. Yes, Drew Doughty is a euphemism, stands for PK Subban.
It’s gonna be a long eight years for those bitches.
It’s counterintuitive. They say they hate PK Subban but really, he’s their hero. They want to outlaw diving then they go and commission a monument to hockey’s first recorded dive. They’re a squirrelly bunch, hard to pin down. One thing is true. They love winning. If you win in Boston, all else is forgiven.
Bill Belichick has won three Super Bowls as Patriots head coach. They’re arguably the most successful sports franchise this century. He’s also the architect of Spygate. Spygate was an all-out espionage program, surveilling opposing teams. What we do know is that Belicheck instructed his henchmen to record segments of the St. Louis Rams practice leading up to Super Bowl XXXV. What we do know is the league took the matter seriously enough to fine Belicheck $500,000, fine the Patriots $250,000 and dock them their first-round draft pick. What we’ll never know is what was actually on the tapes, how deep Belichick’s espionage program went and to what degree it undermined the competitive balance of that sport.
The response in Massachusetts, where a dive approaches the level of cardinal sin, is that this guy and his staggering lack of sportsmanship could be Governor. If Belichick ran for public office in the Commonwealth, he’d be unopposed. I am not kidding. Nobody would bother wasting their time or campaign funds. He wins them games and championships. All else is memory-holed.
Anyway, I’m just getting this out of my system because I intend to take the high road this season. I’m not going to muck it up with their tribe anymore. I’m better than that. We’re better than that. I now consider this matter closed and look forward to a great season of Montreal Canadiens hockey.