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Why we hate the Montreal Canadiens

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It’s more than just Tomas Plekanec’s turtleneck.

Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens - Game Two Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

There are a few teams we’ll mention in our SB Nation Rivalry Weeks’ series where one may question if the Philadelphia Flyers and their fans actually hate that team. The Montreal Canadiens aren’t one of those teams. They aren’t one of the Orange and Black’s most hated rivals, but at the same time the 1976 Stanley Cup Final, Chris Chelios, and the 2010 Eastern Conference Final have helped to make the Habs a team a good chunk of us probably can’t stand. Let’s get into why these guys suck.

Maxim Lapierre
This is a random one but Maxim Lapierre was pretty hateable in the NHL and he played most of his career in Montreal. He was always taking cheap shots or talking shit before putting on a big stupid smile. The guy’s a weasel. The 2011 Stanley Cup Final was a good example of that, as he mocked Patrice Bergeron in Game 2 about his finger being bit by Alexandre Burrows in Game 1 before he put home the agonizing lone goal in Game 5.

Thankfully most of the things Lapierre did to annoy NHL fans he did in games that didn’t come against the Flyers. He never hurt them on the scoreboard, but he was there for raucous 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals and 2010 Eastern Conference Finals. For all the things he did to get inside the heads of opponents this will be the main thing that’ll forever be stuck inside mine:

Dale Weise
Yeah, you remember him? Canadiens’ fans love him. Granted I think most of us would have been fans of this back in 2014...

...but still, it’s Dale Weise. It’s not that Weise is a bad guy or a Zac Rinaldo who divides half the fan base for obvious on-ice reasons. It’s the fact that Weise has got to be one of the most unremarkable players I can remember in recent NHL history. If he was never a Flyer I think I would have already forgotten he was in the league, but he was (is?) still a bit of a folk hero to Habs’ fans.

Goaltending
There were a looooooooooooooot of Flyers’ games between the tenures of Ron Hextall and Carter Hart in Philadelphia’s net. Habs’ fans wouldn’t know the struggle. Bernie Parent is one of the best goalies ever but Jacques Plante, Gump Worsley, and Ken Dryden lived in the blue paint for years in Montreal. They could have extended their crease dominance for longer with Patrick Roy, but they decided one bad regular season game was definitely worth chasing the future Hall of Famer out of town.

On top of being gifted some of the best goalies in history they have also gotten the best out of some random goalies. Jose Theodore was a good goalie, but the Habs got a Hart Trophy season out of him in 2001-02. Jaroslav Halak has been doing well in Boston, but he isn’t single-handedly ousting two Stanley Cup contenders in the same postseason for an inferior team. The Flyers messed up the Sergei Bobrovsky situation and have gotten random elite goaltending performances before, but considering how unlucky the Flyers’ overall luck is in the goaltending department the Canadiens are annoyingly spoiled.

Chris Chelios’ elbow
This one is a little before my time, but I still know that Chris Chelios’ hit on Brian Propp in the 1989 Prince of Wales Conference was cheap and dirty.

The hit knocked Propp out of Game 2 with a concussion and the Flyers ultimately lost the series in six games concluding with Ron Hextall chasing Chelios down to get even. It’s the type of hit that you didn’t need to see live to be pissed about years later. The Canadiens are supposed to be the class of the league based on their history and success but it took a leaping blindside elbow to the head of one of the Flyers’ best players to help them win that series. It also started the worst era in Orange and Black history, as the team had five of the franchise’s 12 seasons that didn’t include a postseason appearance consecutively from 1990 to 1994 (the only time in club history they have ever missed two or more consecutive postseasons) following that 1989 playoff departure.

The hit caused a lot of pain to the Flyers and their fans back in the 80’s but I like to think 2008, 2010, Jordan Weal, Phil Varone, Weise, and six more years of that Shea Weber contract as a nice little payback.

They have ‘24 Cups’
Montreal won their 14th Stanley Cup in 1966. The NHL doubled to 12 teams in 1967. That’s 14 Cups the Canadiens are counting where they beat out five other teams. The Flyers beat out five teams in the Metro Division this season and received zero (0) Stanley Cups. Not only that but the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, and Boston Bruins all kinda sucked before the 1967 NHL expansion so they were pretty much the best out of three teams most seasons, which at that point who are you even beating?

Alright, maybe that’s too much of an oversimplification, but still. They have 24 Stanley Cups and 34 Stanley Cup Final appearances, both of which are the most in the NHL. It’s something that is mentioned often with Montreal and there’s no doubt they’re one of the most storied franchises ever, but the last time they went to the Stanley Cup was when they won it in a 24-team league back in 1993. They haven’t traveled the same path recent Cup winners have and back when they were mopping up in the six-team league they had a little bit of an advantage to tip the talent pool in their favor.

This opinion might be based a little on the fact I wish there was a Flyers’ threepeat in history and the Canadiens robbed Philly of that in 1976, but I’m going to say it’s mainly because I don’t think beating up on five other teams with a bunch of Hall of Famers should spot you 14 Cups before almost the entire league exists.