Everything that goes wrong in the world, I blame on the Montreal Canadiens

Someone once said that great clubs need great enemies, but why it can’t be Dallas or Florida or Buffalo

F—in’ Habs. There, I said it. It’s not like I don’t say it at least 30 times a day. The paperboy misses the porch: F—in’ Habs! The Windows and Doors people wake me up from my afternoon nap with one of their incessant calls: F—in’ Habs! I burn the noodles: F—in’ Habs! An earthquake levels Bali: F—in’ Habs! Everything that goes wrong in the world, I blame on the Montreal Canadiens. It’s convenient and it fits. I believe we would all be much happier and the world would work better and there would be no more stress or pain or misfortune if only the Habs would throw their skates into the river already. But this isn’t going to happen. I am realist and, yes, I am learning to cope.

Someone once said that great clubs need great enemies, but why it can’t be Dallas or Florida or Buffalo, I don’t know. Instead, it has to be the most arrogant and self-satisfied of all teams grinding against that which I love. It has to be the (F—in’) Habs. Argghhhh. Once more, only longer: Arghhhhhhhhh! Montrealers, Frenchmen, Québécois, the New Brunswick and Manitoban diaspora: ok. I get it. I get cheering for a team in whose loins you’ve been raised, but Anglo Habs fans who come from elsewhere are beyond comprehension. And if that elsewhere happens to be Toronto—my home and the home of the Maple Leafs—then I’d rather they don’t make any contact with me whatsoever. But this is impossible, because many of them are actually my friends. Which makes it worse. Doubly worse. Triple worse!

F—in’ Habs.

It must be said that my antipathy towards the Habs has nothing to do with Montreal itself. I love the city, although those who espouse its charms at the expense of Toronto can suck it. Toronto rules, but, true, Montreal ruled before it. And ya, okay, there’s something special about Saturday night at the Forum, except they tore down the Forum and built the Bell Centre, which is still a decent rink, if only because it’s filled with Montrealers, who bring with them the European electricity of the streets and hushed reverence for the sport and luscious cheers for their occasionally triumphant (F—in’) Habs. Just looking in from the TV—which I did on Saturday night—revealed joy and excitement before the game started: moustachioed Gallists and their pre-moustachioed sons; bundle-haired Westmount cronies in winter coats busted out for the new October cold; Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard and Yvon Lambert; and a gorgeous anthem singer trilling in two languages. Throughout all of this, players named Diaz and Cole and Moen stood along the Montreal blueline. Jacques Martin shuffled at the bench. Not two weeks into the season, the (F—in’) Habs had won one game and lost four. I giggled to myself—actually, that is a lie; I giggled loudly, for all to hear—and settled in to watch the nearly undefeated Leafs take on their historic rivals.

I am not above admitting that the game was sloppy and only found its rhythm after forty minutes of fits and starts, but it was pretty much the greatest night of my life. The greatest! Mikhail Grabovski scored the winning goal in overtime, a totally vintage Montreal-style goal. The square Belarussian whirled this way, then that way before moving the puck behind his back from out of the corner. After swishing it into the net, he was creamed by some red and blue defender not named Markov or Spacek—or even Subban, for that matter—but it didn’t make a difference. Leaf players spilled over the bench, draping their hero in cloth and leather and spit. My daughter and I shouted “Grab-bee!” “Grab-bee!” “Grab-bee” and once I’d put her to bed, I emailed all of my Habs’ friends to rub it in. Then, after the house was quiet and Mike Milbury and PJ Stock had finished talking about how great the Leafs are, I stood in the middle of the living room and said “F—in’ Habs” before going to bed. Outside, a cat mewled. Someone honked a horn. It sounded weird hearing it that way, out of joy, rather than hurt or disappointment.




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Everything that goes wrong in the world, I blame on the Montreal Canadiens

  1. What was the point of writing this blog post?  You’re an imbecile.  The question begs to be asked: what exactly have the Leafs – an apt acronym for Losing Even After Forty Seasons – done recently?  After having lived in both cities, I can honestly say that Montreal is a more passionate hockey city, and its fans have a lot to be proud of.  Toronto is a great hockey city and an even better hockey market, but the Maple Leafs have become a disastrous franchise whose fans – a truly entitled lot – find their anemic strength in numbers.  “Leafs Nation” has more to do with brandishing false hope than actual pride.  The only thing your blog post seems to get across is you’ve been wetting yourself for the last seven years with the hope of one day being able to write this drivel.  However, blog posts like yours are what really lights a fire under a saying you may or may not be all too familiar with: Plan the parade.

  2. Wow, the author writer of this article is very feeble minded. I’m a Habs fan and I loathe the Leafs but I don’t waste my time hating on them by blaming my problems on them. This writer is obviously too dumb to write articles and I suggest he finds another line of work. Go throw waffles at your players or boo your captain for dumb reasons. It appears that is the only thing Leafs fans are good at doing. Talking hockey sure isn’t one of them.

  3. Ah, Habs fans who can’t take a joke and some good natured ribbing.

    What are the odds???

    (snicker, snicker)

    • Mr. Bidini seems to have at least two or three online readers who routinely post “your writing sucks” at every opportunity.

      I suspect that’s two or three regular readers more than they’ll ever have.

  4. Hab fans…….can’t take a joke, you hab fans hate the leafs as much as we hate the habs……. so Leaf fans like me have had to endure for years the jokes of “69″ from the habs fans….and laugh about it …..have fun with it and learn what it is like to be a Leaf fan….he he he…

    • Some leaf fan you are, you don’t even know that the correct year is 67, not 69

  5. TWO GENERATIONS worth of futility have been really hard on you, eh?

  6. they didn’t tear down the Forum, they turned it into a cheezie multiplex cinema!

  7. As a life-long Habs fan and abuser of all things TML, my hat is off.  Dave remains my fave hockey writer/musician.

  8. As a Habs fan, I can say that this is good writing because if you replaced the words “habs” and “Montreal” with “Leafs” and “Toronto,” I would be laughing out loud.

  9. The absoluty wonderfull thing about this post is that all of us f’ing HABS fans generally feel the same way about the Bruins but have far and away enough class to never blog about it and couldn’t give a flying fart about the Laffs…

  10. Leafs suck, Rheostatics suck, You suck.

  11. As a Canadiens fan I could have taken it to heart. But then I got to the part about listening to Milbury and Stock and I knew it was all Swiftian satire.

  12. not a big Habs fan. a much bigger fan of good writing. and this column is somewhere between infantile and sophomorish.

    • Really?  You really just claimed this was infantile?  Do you also think that the devotees to one half or the other of this rivalry are infantile?  You say you’re not a big Habs fan, so I take it you can’t personally relate… I guess then, that your criticism is technical in nature?

  13. As a Habs fan who grew up in a WASP household in northern Ontario and someone who threw Toronto over for the charms of Montreal 22 years ago  (doubly damned! or is that a triple?) I applaud this piece.  For years now I’ve been telling my Leaf fan relatives that I miss the days when Habs / Leafs games meant something.  Bring it on, Mr. Bidini, bring it on.

  14. I understand your pain, and I have a solution.  Do what I did.  I grew up just north of Toronto and the Leafs were my heros as a boy; I even dreamed of playing for them until I stopped growing at 5’6″.  Then, in my early 20′s, I moved to Quebec.  I realized that my anger at the Habs was really just an anger at the incompetence of Toronto and I switched sides.  I have supported the true hockey winners ever since and no longer have to grind my teeth every time the better team wins.  So move to Quebec and you won’t have to wear a paper bag over your head every spring. 

  15. Habs-been fans are full of history, Leafs fans are full of delusions and money (for their seasons tickets for four decades), and the new capital of Canada, the place where the real action takes place — Calgary — is likewise to be the next Stanley Cup winner.

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