For the past few weeks, I’ve noticed something strange happening around friends, co-workers and people on Facebook. [picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=montreal+canadiens+fans&iid=8716839″ src=”d/3/a/f/Montreal_Canadiens_fans_3d02.jpg?adImageId=12831141&imageId=8716839″ width=”234″ height=”171″ /]
So many people are cheering for the Habs, it leave me scratching my head. Why are all these people all of a sudden Habs fans?
Could it be because these people want to cheer for a Canadian team? Possibly, but I didn’t see all this support for the Vancouver Canucks (who were eliminated last night).
Maybe they want Canadians to hoist the Cup? That doesn’t make sense, either. The top players on Montreal have been Hal Gill (American), Brian Gionta (American), Scott Gomez (American), Roman Hamrlik (Czechoslovakia), Tomas Plekanec (Czechoslovakia), Jaroslav Spacek (Czechoslovakia) and Jaroslav Halak (Czechoslovakia). And that doesn’t include the Kostitsyn brothers (Belarus) or Andrei Markov (Russian). Almost half of the starters for Montreal are not from Canada.
But for Pittsburgh, most of the top players are from Canada (except for Evgeni Malkin, Bill Guerin and Sergei Gonchar). So if you were cheering for Canadians, Pittsburgh would be the way to go.
No, the reason most people are cheering for Montreal is simple: Nobody wants to cheer for the best. [picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=crosby+sign&iid=1069188″ src=”8/a/a/b/Pittsburgh_Penguins_v_a72a.jpg?adImageId=12831154&imageId=1069188″ width=”234″ height=”161″ /]
And the best right now is Sidney Crosby, no doubt about it. He’s only 22 years old, and already has won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, world junior gold medal, and won the Hart, Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies.
People at this point is just waiting, almost begging, for him to fall. And that’s what his career will be remembered for when it happens.
Rick Tocchet is seen as a gambler, not as a 400-plus goals and Stanley Cup winner. Tiger Woods will now always be remembered for his sex scandal more than his golfing career. Michael Jackson is seen more of a joke other than top-selling artist (same goes for Madonna and Britney Spears). What do you remember O.J. Simpson for: the white bronco chase or his great football career? And the list goes on. Name someone famous, and odds are they’re not remembered for the reason they became famous.
Crosby is almost there now. A lot choose to think of Crosby as whiny first, great hockey player second.
People love to see top people fail. The higher the peak they reach, the more we root against them. Montreal has had the fortune to go against the two most famous NHLers since Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. In the first round, they took on Alexander Ovechkin. People couldn’t wait to knock down Ovechkin as soon as the Capitals lost to the Habs. And this round it’s Crosby. They’re already lining up. If the Pens lose tonight, expect to read hundreds of stories in the next few days about the fall of Crosby.
So sure, Montreal may be the last Canadian team remaining. But more importantly, they have the opportunity to topple a giant in the hockey world.
And that’s why the Habs have become so popular.