I've always said my dislike of the Montreal Canadiens was almost genetic. As a kid a lot of my Saturday nights were spent sleeping over with my grandparents and watching Hockey Night in Canada. Grandfather Pope hated the Habs so it was only natural that I would do the same. Once a month or so their gang of friends would come over to play poker and I would keep them up to date on the score. I remember Arnie and Toots Wickert, George and Mary Green, friends for many years. What would they think now if they knew I was secretly pulling for the Habs?
They are the only Canadian team left to fight for the cup, surely that's a good enough excuse. They haven't dominated the NHL for years and they don't own every top prospect coming out of the Q like they used to. They are much harder to dislike these days. I really respect their coach Guy Carboneau. Most pro sports coaches rarely change the mask, you never know if they have won or lost. He tells it like it is, he jumps up and down when they win and lets his players know they have to be better when they lose. They seem to have the right mix of experience and youth and they have put everything on the shoulders of a rookie between the pipes, again. I hope Grandpa Pope won't hate me for this, Go Habs Go! Then again, I don't think the word was in his vocabulary.