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Eighth is not enough

April 13, 2010

There’s been a lot of talk (none of it positive) on the radio, on twitter and in blogs about the standing ovation Habs fans gave the team after they got the loser point and backed into the playoffs on Saturday night. I will admit, I was one of those cheering and applauding at the Bell Centre. Because I was proud of my team for backing into the playoffs? Hells no. I was relieved that the Toronto Maple Leafs would not get the last word, and I have to say, had there not been any Leafs fans around I may have sat quietly reading my Bible as the Habs secured their trip to the postseason.

Habs make the playoffs

Thanks, Leafs!

Believe me, nothing takes the edge off of an inconsistent, disappointing season like turning around to look some Leafs fans right in the eye and yelling “PLAYOFFS!!!” at the top of your lungs. This is important: never ever do this if they look remotely like they would or could kick your ass.

But here’s the thing. We were happy for like a minute… because the Leafs did not end our season on our turf… because one ugly stepsister got an invitation to the dance… because at the time we were cheering, we thought the Habs beating one of our most hated teams (with the most vile fanbase) in OT was a wide-open possibility… because no matter what, how, or why, missing the playoffs just fucking sucks… is that so wrong?

Dion and the STIs I shamelessly suspect him of having wiped those smiles off of our faces quickly enough anyway.

I know there are Habs fans out there who think having made the playoffs is enough. I know others who think that not being swept by the top team in the league will be enough. I know that if our Canadiens miraculously make it past the first round, some people will celebrate it as if they won the Stanley Cup.

Those people are stupid.

There are no moral victories in sports. Anything less than the Stanley Cup is not enough.

If my Habs put up a fight against the OMGvechkins, will I think that’s enough? No. If they beat the Caps and flame out in the ECSF or ECF, will that be enough? No. If they get to Game Seven of the SCF and lose in overtime, will that be enough? For fuck’s sake, no (I’m totally not looking at you as I say this, by the way, Nucks fans).

The sad reality of the situation is that this incarnation of the Habs, particularly under the guidance of this coach, is not good enough to make noise in the playoffs.

BUT…

To give up on our team and stop cheering all of a sudden, just because the Habs aren’t as good as the other teams in the playoffs, would be just as shameful as being proud of an eighth-place finish. No matter how mediocre your team is, you support it if you are a real fan. You cheer until they are swept in the first round or until a heartbreaking OT goal snatches the Cup away in Game Seven. And then, after you’ve thrown or punched a few things (try to stay away from babies), you get over it and get ready to cheer for the next season… when once again, an eighth-place finish will not be enough.

Also, I find it quite ironic that Leafs and Sens fans, who have never stopped cheering for their team, despite… well… you know… think that us still loving our team after 17 years of mediocrity or hoping for an upset this year is stupid. I guess loving your team is only allowed if you’re not a Habs fan.

Also, what were we supposed to do, boo? What a can of worms that would have opened, huh?

Also, for the record, if I win that bet against yet another Leafs fan (seriously, yo, make them go away) I will not be rejoicing in the fact that the Habs managed to win a game or two against the Caps. There are no moral victories in sports. I will only be rejoicing in the fact, not that I was right (cause again, no moral victories), but that he was wrong. Wrong… Wrong.

Maybe there is such a thing as a moral defeat…

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2010 9:04 am

    THERE IS SUCH A THING.

  2. Brock permalink
    April 13, 2010 9:14 am

    All it takes is for Halak to go Super Saiyen and who knows what might happen

  3. April 13, 2010 9:14 am

    Interesting article. I sense a lot of ambivalence, yet constructive logic here. The Leafs, well… after years of having to listen to the Habs yell out “1967” when things were going well, we watched your team fail miserably time-and-time again when it came to making the playoffs.

    Now, we’re hearing the same BS, yet Montreal backed into the playoffs.

    Personally, I have nothing against Montreal for making the playoffs. It was that damn loser point that allowed it. I’d gladly finish last overall without the loser point as long as it meant no team can determine their fate, simply by taking a game to over-time.

    It’s not right.

  4. April 13, 2010 9:15 am

    Apparently we’re supposed to boo excellence (re Price getting the 3rd star and only giving up one real goal) and cheer mediocrity. A polite clap and maybe a “Go Habs Go” would have suffice. A standing ovation was rediculous.

    I’m ok with moral defeat. It’s hard faught, it deserves praise. Saturday wasn’t much of a moral defeat though… More a comedy of errors.

    I think it was Cammy who said moral victories suck.

  5. April 13, 2010 9:18 am

    Agreed. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: moral defeats do exist. But still, I can never help it, I still wish our team can make it…

  6. April 13, 2010 9:20 am

    I meant to type I can’t help it, I still wish… argh.

  7. April 13, 2010 9:38 am

    As I commented on NHL Digest:

    It’s hard to not be cynical when Jacques Martin is your coach. Unless he’s got tricks up his sleeve (???), our output will be typical of the rest of the postseason. I mean, I’m rooting for my team, but I’m also trying to be realistic. Getting a playoff spot on a 3 game losing streak is like falling ass backwards onto a $20k lotto ticket and breaking your ass.

  8. April 13, 2010 9:51 am

    Earlier in the season the Habs lost a 1-0 loss the the Flames at home. In my mind, THAT was a moral defeat. It was something to build on considering how lousy the team had been to that point. They played hard and probably deserved better. Still, the Flames played well too, and it was one of those games where you take the loss, and acknowledge your opponent’s good game. There was no shame in that loss.

    Where I had the problem with Saturday’s standing ovation was (aside from the people tweaking the Leaf fans,) they are the ones who will all of a sudden boo the team when they go 0-3 on the power play later this week. What were they expecting from a team that could not get its act together all year? I’ll tell you – they’re expecting some playoff pixie dust to come raining down from the rafters and fill the Habs with magic. That by virtue of wearing the mythical CH, some ethereal switch will be flipped and the Habs will claim what is “rightfully theirs”.

    Fans forget the old saying “the harder I work, the luckier I get”. This Habs team did not work hard enough all year and it shows in the standings. Now all that’s left to rely on is luck, and that’s not enough either. But it won’t stop people from assuming that it’s all that’s needed.

  9. smalrus permalink
    April 13, 2010 9:55 am

    I think Kyle and I came from the same Habs womb.

  10. April 13, 2010 10:33 am

    I am a Leafs fan and I have a friend who always says Leaf fans are idiots to cheer for a loser. Habs fans cheer for their team win or tie.

    The only people who don’t want Habs fans to cheer for their team when they lose is other Habs fans.

    Loyalty to your team during the bad stretches is not a new idea [maybe it is in Montreal]. If pulling for your losing team and hoping for a long shot is dumb, then hockey is dumb – like most things that are fun.

  11. April 13, 2010 8:17 pm

    The difference, though, last season they got into the playoffs the same way. However it was against the first in the East Boston Bruins. They faught hard that game, but penalties, bad luck and a poor move by Lapierre cost them the full two points in OT. That was a moral defeat.

    No one is saying don’t cheer. You’re supposed to cheer! It’s the way it was done that’s irksome… A mere week ago they were booing a 3rd star selection, the only one on the team to get a star in that game, all year they boo when hard luck befalls the team, and they will boo and boo and boo some more when the team needs them to cheer for them and support them. I saw it first hand last year Game 3 how bipolar the crowd in the “fan” section was. I yelled at them for the idiots they are and they grinned.

    Maybe it’s something in the beer?

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