People have been complaining that there shouldn't be a riot after one round, we should wait for something to riot about – as if rioting and looting at any time is acceptable. I will be just as disappointed if the rioting happens in mid-August. The issue is a lack of respect for our neighbours, a lack of reverence for peace and order. Obviously, it looks bad for the city, but at the end of the day, the people rioting probably had little if anything to do with hockey (any excuse to riot, so to speak). This doesn't mean Habs fans are off the hook for this, but it should not take away from excitement and support for the team. It only falls on Habs fans who do respect their fellow citizens to stand up to the delinquents in the minority.
Up until the paddy wagons and riot police were loosed on Maisonneuve, my biggest concern with the fans was a that they would tire themselves out. Let me rephrase that – that the bandwagon would tire itself out. After all, the playoffs are a long haul and the manic depressive ride they have been subjecting themselves to over single wins and losses has been tiring even to an observer.
My good friend, who works across the road from the Bell Centre, told me that people were loitering around outside (call it tailgating if you want) a good 8 hours prior to the puck drop in Game 5. Now, I know we missed a year guys, but perhaps that's a little over the top for Game 5.
As someone who follows the Habs with equal fervour in both thick and thin, I sometimes find it hard to deal with the thought that 3 million people care about the Canadiens beating the Bruins. I suppose it feels threatening to have so many people encroach on what can sometimes be a very private endeavour. But after thinking about it, the bandwagon does also have many merits:
- Keep opposition goalies and defencemen from hearing each other:"Aaron Ward was in front of me and the crowd's so loud, he couldn't here me yell 'Screen!' so I didn�t see the puck until he stuck his foot out."
So, join me in wishing the Habs good fortune (and less complacency) in the next round. Come on you Habs, keep these future hard-cores on the bandwagon long enough to set their imaginations alight. And fans on the street, let's keep those others from tarnishing our reputation and out of the paddy wagons from here on.