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Time For True Habs’ Fans To Rally

By JD Lagrange – Here we are, almost in mid-July. The NHL Draft is behind us, the free agents’ market is opening up in a few days, and the Canadiens are holding their Development Camp where some of the team’s top hopefuls will try to impress the Habs’ brass.

Fans, who were predominantly wishing that the Canadiens would select Shane Wright with the first overall pick, have had a couple of days to cool off and digest the team’s unpopular decision to go with Juraj Slafkovsky instead. While for most, the deception is real, for others, it’s their pride that suffers the most damage. Some were so invested on social media claiming that there was only one “Wright” choice, that they now face the humiliation of… being wrong. And that stings.

We all have a choice

My father, whom I see as a very wise man, has always preached that in life, you always have a choice. Even doing nothing is a choice. Well here we are and we all have a choice to make, no matter what side of the fence we found ourselves to be prior to the draft, or after the prospects names have been called.

For those like yours truly who had someone other than Wright as their top pick, we have a choice. The choice between rubbing it into the faces of those who antagonized us for weeks prior to the draft. Revenge, gloating. We also have the choice of taking the higher road and present a helping hand to the people who made us suffer through those weeks. For the sake of this fan base, for the good and health of life on social media, I strongly encourage to go with the second option.

Juraj Slafkovsky

For the antagonizers, those whom I have previously qualified as Wright extremists, they too have a choice to make. Some have already taken the war path, choosing to cut their honeymoon short with Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes, after just a few months. Why? Because they dared going against what THEY believed. It’s a choice, but not a healthy one. It’s a choice that will likely end up in people hitting the “mute” or “block” button by others in the fan base.

Their other choice, perhaps the sound choice, is to rally behind the Canadiens’ decision and, at the very least, accept it even if that wasn’t their personal preferred selection. That would mean putting a bit of water in their wine (or whine in a few cases). It would mean acknowledging that in Slafkovsky, the Canadiens have a special player regardless. It would be to recognize that while it may not be the center they were hoping for, at least Hughes and his team have attempted to address that need in acquiring 21 year-old Kirby Dach.

War path

For years, there was the so-called (and I dislike the terms) “Bergevin haters” versus “Bergevin apologists“. During that stretch, you had the nasty and very unhealthy Subban debates. It was later followed by this rally of negativity towards head coach Dominique Ducharme. After they were all fired and replaced by Gorton, Hughes and Martin St-Louis, there was this feeling of hope.

Then the Habs won the Draft lottery and since then, the fan base was once again divided by this whole Shane Wright versus Slafkovsky (predominantly) debate. And as usual, it got nasty on social media.

Fans rallying

So here we are, Habs’ fans. What is it that you want? For those who, like me, are happy with the selection, do we want to throw oil on the fire or, for the good of the fan base, don’t we want to show some level of compassion and understanding that feelings were hurt and just… reach out? We can do that by, at the very least, not antagonize the other side. What do you say?

And to you, who feel let down by the organization, do you really want to stick to your guns at all cost, even though it’s not going to change the selection? Management was just hired, so they won’t be going anywhere any time soon. Do you really want to feed the negativity and return to that endless war path? Or would you rather at least try to create a more positive experience with those who disagree?

After all, there is one thing that brings us all together and that we can all agree on: we ALL want the Canadiens to succeed and return to being Stanley Cup contenders. We all want to live through the feelings that I, personally, have experienced 10 times in my life time as a Habs’ fan. We all want to see the Montreal Canadiens winning their 25th Stanley Cup! So let’s try to create some Habsitivity in our lives and on social media. In spite of our differences, we’re all in this together.

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