Updated: May 17
It takes an incredible amount of dedication, passion, and resilience to make the NHL. Every player who has ever donned an NHL jersey for a game has been a winner in their lives. My own brother played 9 years in the AHL amassing 1672 PIMs in 460 games and 2 Calder Cups with the Hershey Bears. (My brother’s goal totals aren’t important and frankly are none of your business!) I watched my brother train 6-8 hours a day in the off-season, be meticulous about his diet, and have the guts to fight AHL heavyweights for 9 seasons just to stay in the AHL. Forget the fact he moved away from home at 16 years old to play Junior, then NCAA, then CHL, and then the ECHL. All this to say, I am acutely aware as to the pain and sacrifice it takes to survive in pro hockey.
In watching my brother play in the AHL, I got to know many of his teammates and witnessed many stories similar to his. Hard working young men from all over the world sacrificing their bodies for a sniff at NHL glory. None of them talked about the money - all they talked about was getting a chance. That desire and love for the game doesn’t abate once you make it to the NHL - it only grows stronger.
Please do not say the Hab players do not care - they just aren’t good enough.
We live in a very unforgiving world thanks to social media. Any hack with a twitter account living in their parents’ basement with potato chip crumbs on their beer-stained tee shirt can go online and join the cavalcade of venom and vitriol that is social media. There is also a great deal of illiterate journalists out there writing stories for clickbait rather than the truth. Furthermore, with so much competition for airtime between sports radio and sports podcasts, there are a great deal of voices in “talk media” who think that ripping on players for “likes” is real broadcasting. (Not the Sens Nation Podcast or the SWP of course - Steve and Jim are like sunshine on a cloudy day!)
With so much cacophony surrounding pro sports, do you honestly believe for a second that the players aren’t doing everything humanly possible to avoid becoming the next epic fail on social media?
I have watched all 46 Habs games this year and I do not see a team that doesn’t care. They just aren’t good enough.
We tell our children that it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game. I believe whole-heartedly in this. We all remember the kid on the street who cried if they got tagged out after rolling a 26-hopper to first base. How about the ankle-burning pylon wearing jeans on the outdoor rink who blamed his teammates for mistakes all the while using a gas station Sherwood twig that he still wasn’t certain was the right hand? My favourite is the whiner playing goal who would take the ball and net and go home because everyone kept scoring on him. (His mom would come out later and yell at us because her little boy had his feelings hurt.) Sooner or later, the other kids get their own net and exclude the whiny little brat from every street hockey game going forward.
The Habs are not whiny little brats. They are on the verge of getting excluded from the playoffs because they aren’t good enough.
Turn off social media, put your phone down, and watch the Habs for a whole game. You will see a team that skates hard, hits hard, and tries hard. That said, in the same game you will see an opponent doing the exact same things only with more talent. The Habs then start making rudimentary mistakes out of frustration, not lack of passion.
Neighbour Joe is not only one of my best friends, he is also the guy I play tennis against the most. I took up tennis last August and in that time, Joe and I have played 20 matches. In those 20 matches we have played 60 sets. My record against Neighbour Joe is 0-20 in matches and 0-60 in sets. The best I have ever done in 60 sets is a 6-4 loss. I try my absolute best in our games. I run hard, try different strategies; I even give myself pep-talks. No matter what I do, I cannot beat him; not because I don't care - I am not talented enough.
Neither are the Habs.
Waldo1947 | The Disgruntled Habs Fan