At long last, the first chapter of 'Know Thy Enemy'
Our first subjects of interest are those wacky Montreal Canadians fans.
The oldest rival of the Leaf fan is the Habs fan. While this rivalry has wained in the past decade or so, most purists (of appropriate age) still remember this rivalry at its hottest and most bitter. The rivalry is so bitter that even today, every real Leafs or Canadians fan still blindly hates the other team without knowing why, just that they must.
Canadians fans share many a similarity with Leafs fans, more than either camp would care to admit. Both love their team unconditionally, both have long and storied franchises and both have a backup camp so strong that their team could place last for years in a row and support would still be strong enough to sell out their respective barns.
What differs mainly is in the approach to this loyalty. While Leaf fans clad their team in a collective armor of Blue and White with a 'there is always next year' attitude, Habs fans separate the weak from the heard and mercilessly attack anyone who dares tarnish their great franchise (in Leaf land this honour is reserved for special players like Aki Berg or Herpes). The siren song of "Kill Ze Team!" can be heard echoing across la belle province during any loosing skid longer than 2 games.
Habs fans are also unapologetic about their allegiances, and don't shy away from their team loyalty no matter what. They are everywhere as well. From coast to coast, Habs fans permeate the home arenas of rival teams and are fearless when wearing their colours in a rival barn, many a time a solo fan in a Roy jersey can be seen surrounded in a sea of enemy fans in any rink across the continent, even when the Canadians are not playing in said game.
Habs fans are, without a doubt, the most emotionally involved fans in the NHL. A camp so passionate that they often have their red tinted glasses surgically grafted to their skulls. Try convincing a Habs fan about anything negative about their team in the midst of a 3 game Montreal winning streak, it is impossible.
The Habs fan's main talent, however, lies within his/hers ability to conjure up ridiculous trade ideas for their team and convincing themselves that there is a real chance of it coming to fruition. My favourite so far involved a Huet / Ryder combo for Lecavalier.
The Montreal Canadians have, indeed, one of the most loyal fan bases in all of sport. A fan base that we Leaf fans must be wary of, and stay vigilant not to let them over whelm us. They have a passion that rivals our own, which would be admirable, were their taste in hockey teams not so poor. This has become a most important task, as in recent times the Habs have become replaced as our number one enemy number one.
More on that next time, as we discus the disgust that is the Ottawa Senators fan, on the next 'Know Thy Enemy'