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Should Canadians root for the Canadiens? Some say ‘yes’; one columnist says ‘no’

The National Post's Bruce Arthur presents a unique take on the fact that the Montreal Canadiens will be the only Canadian team to make the playoffs this season, going against the, "Canadians must always root for whichever teams make the playoffs, even if they don't like said teams!" current:

If it’s one team this season, then that makes 25 times in 57 combined seasons that Canadian teams have made the playoffs since the 2004-05 lockout. That’s 2.8 teams per year, including Winnipeg’s new three-year Canadian drought. But it’s hard for just one Canadian team to reach the post-season, even with Toronto and Edmonton both acting almost as blank squares on the bingo card, year after year. (They’ve only gotten there once apiece since that lockout, and both ended in rather painful Game 7s.)

So you know what this means, right? It means the charade that we enjoy every year as the teams fall away, leaving one Canadian team alive: Some will urge Canada to band together and root for whoever is left, because as this winter has shown for the majority of the country, we are all in this thing together. My esteemed colleague Cam Cole has already given this bell a faint ring, though to his credit he stopped there. But let’s stop this before it starts.

No. No, we do not need to do this. When the playoffs start, the country should not be under the misapprehension that we are all in this together, hockey-wise. We are not. If you cheer for one team you naturally cheer against the others; you can be happy for the fans who get to feel their city come alive in the spring, but that’s as far as it goes. We currently have six distinct societies of hockey disappointment, and one distinct society in a place where the team is good and the provincial election has been so utterly appalling that it makes you wish the current Parti Quebecois could be rendered separate from the rest of Canada. As the old saying goes, ain’t no Parti like a race-baiting Parti, ’cause a race-baiting Parti don’t stop. Well, until Monday, maybe.

Everyone else enjoys their own individual misery, much like Leafs players trying to get organized in their own zone. Ottawa has the disappointment of suddenly awful goaltending, combined with shots-against totals that illuminate this rather glaring flaw. Plus, there’s the Senators’ internal budget, which is a rarity in this country. Whereas in Winnipeg, the payroll is middling, but the goaltending remains a problem. Ondrej Pavelec is not the solution, if the question is worth asking.

Arthur continues...

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  Tags: montreal+canadiens

Comments

Ajax19's avatar

I understand Canada’s pride in the game and that it’s a smaller country and all of that, but if I was a fan of any other of the Canadian teams I couldn’t imagine rooting for Montreal just because they are Canadian.

I certainly don’t root for other teams because they are American or Mid-West or whatever. 

I guess the closet analogy would be in college sports were people sometimes root for teams in their own conference, like the Big 10.  I do that sometimes, usually during bowl season, but I think college is a bit different and conference prestige means a bit more.

Posted by Ajax19 on 04/07/14 at 08:57 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I guess the closet analogy would be in college sports were people sometimes root for teams in their own conference, like the Big 10.  I do that sometimes, usually during bowl season, but I think college is a bit different and conference prestige means a bit more.

That’s a really good comparison and I think your point about “conference prestige” is what makes the defining difference.

The NHL is a business. They’ve reminded us that two times in the last decade. The teams are made up of multinational collections of talent.

I can see the conference pride in college sports things because the conferences are also businesses (and, while college sports are growing away from the model, the players are still fairly regionally recruited).  I just don’t think it makes sense at an NHL level. 

The closest team to me is the Blues. Under the “root local” logic, I should pull for them, but I *#$%@& hate those guys.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/07/14 at 10:43 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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