Many fans, particularly in La Belle Province, are known for their constant negativity. It is sad, but particularly true when it comes to putting down the work of Montreal Canadiens Trevor Timmins and General Manager Marc Bergevin for not drafting enough Quebecois. We see a wave of it every year after the NHL Draft. The rest of the season, they will complain that the Habs don’t have enough local talent in the line-up. They won’t try to figure out why that is, it’s just empty verbal diarrhea for the most part. When confronted with facts, they will ignore or block you on social media for daring going against their narrative. And when they do have local talent, they treat them like they do Jonathan Drouin!
Bergevin traded for Drouin, an extremely talented young Quebecois. He paid a lot to get him. Those chronological complainers have been on the GM’s case for giving up Mikhail Sergachev to get the local forward. In their mind, he can’t give anything good to obtain the desired local talent!
Part of the problem
Those “fans”, complaining when they don’t draft from the QMJHL, also complain about the price to obtain some. If that was it, we would shake our heads and move on. But it goes well beyond that, believe it or not. Not only do they have temper tantrums about the price to get them, but they will criticize those local talents at every opportunity. They will make them their scapegoat.
Who has forgotten about Patrice Brisebois and the constant booing he was facing on his home ice? Who can forget then GM and former Habs’ legend Bob Gainey having to stand up for him publicly, calling those “fans” a bunch of yellow cowards, telling them to stay home, that the Habs don’t need them?
You think it’s an exception and not the rule? What about Mike Ribeiro? Pierre Dagenais? José Théodore? David Desharnais? Francis Bouillon? Mathieu Dandenault? Maxim Lapierre? Guillaume Latendresse? Or Benoit Pouliot, a francophone from Ontario? Yes, you guessed it. They were all chased out of town by the same fan base complaining that the Habs don’t have enough local product. It’s the Réjean Tremblay, or Richard Labbé syndrome. If that’s not hypocritical, I don’t know what is.
Fast forward to today. Phillip Danault has been the team’s best centre for the past few years. By default, granted, but he performed well in his role, centering the team’s top line. He’s not having a good season this year. We’ve heard that he declined a contract offer from the Canadiens this past off-season. With every day he’s slumping, he’s damaging his contract negotiation with the team, his value spiralling downwards. And he’s starting to feel the blunt of the Montreal fans…
While Danault isn’t having a good season, another Quebecois is enjoying one of the best start of his career. Jonathan Drouin has 11 points in his first 15 games and he’s playing some inspired hockey. Playing alongside sophomore Nick Suzuki (12 points) at centre, and newcomer Josh Anderson (11 points – 9 goals), they form the Canadiens’ top offensive line. Drouin is working hard. He’s helping his line. He’s motivated to be the best that he can be. The three men are only trailing Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Petry (15 points each) for the most points on the Habs.
In his meeting with the media yesterday, Drouin informed reporters that he, Suzuki and Anderson want to form one of the best lines in the NHL. They look at videos together of other successful lines and try to borrow what makes them successful. He mentioned Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Boston in particular. Drouin also talked about how he’s pushing himself to match the level of his linemates at all times, stating that he doesn’t want to be a passenger on any line.
Look in the mirror
Yet, those chronological complainers are still going at him. I try to let some stuff slide, particularly when it comes to other fans’ opinions, but when it’s that ridiculous, it needs to be pointed out. You want the Habs to draft more young Quebecois. You want the Canadiens to trade for more local talent. Yet you ignore the fact that the number of local talent produced by the QMJHL is at an all-time low. Further, when the team gets its hands on some French speaking talent, you do everything in your power to make their life miserable and hate playing in Montreal.
A good friend of mine had this expression: “Stop yourself from being yourself“. It is quite fitting in this case. The Habs have a great start to the season. The new guys are producing, and they sit second in the division, only four points back of the Toronto Maple Leafs with a game in hand. Habs’ fans had many things to complain about in recent years. Today, you really don’t. So enjoy the games and do what fans are supposed to do at some point: cheer and encourage the team that you say that you love. And if you recognize yourself in the fans I’m describing above, please stop being an irrational idiot. Go Habs Go!
Beyond Politics is a Habs’ reality