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On Habs fans and the booing of the anthem

Last night, watching the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens, I was overwhelmingly impressed with the atmosphere created by the home crowd. I’ve been to a game in Montreal before, and I was completely blown away by how much their fans are into the game. There are no video prompts, no music calling for noise or “defense” or anything like that. The Habs fans are just simply LOUD.

Yet there are some downsides to this amazing corner of fandom. The Canadiens fans are notorious for instantly turning on their own team and frankly it makes it hard to watch sometimes. The way Carey Price looked ready to just collapse at home last summer under the pressure of the crowd and how various players have itched to move on. It’s a tough place to place as a visitor; it might be even harder if you’re a member of the team.

Last night, the discussion around the game wasn’t just on the in-game atmosphere; no, many were harping on how (some) Habs fans were booing during the United States anthem pregame.

If you know anything about Habs fans, this shouldn’t surprise you. If fact, it should be expected. Nonetheless, it’s still a bit shocking when you hear it and it’s a conversation that should never take place during a hockey game. But it does.

Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Blog makes a great point, though, saying we shouldn’t really get that worked up over it.

Anyhow, as far as things to get mad about on the Internet, this is pretty far down my list. The Habs fans who boo are just role-playing at this point, like American fans at a WWE event. Clearly it has nothing to do with the actual hockey teams; the Canadiens have four Americans on their roster, including key contributors like Hal Gill, Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta. The Caps have the exact same number of U.S. players, and actually have more Canadians than the Canadiens on their current roster.

The booing of the national anthem was quickly forgotten as the Canadiens collapsed and the crowd became increasingly quiet and agitated. I won’t speak specifically on the overall state of Canadiens fans, since some of best hockey friends are Habs fans, but I will say that it’s increasingly embarrassing for hockey overall when these sorts of fan reactions get the most attention.