I wonder what Raphael Diaz and Alexei Emelin think of the growing furor surrounding their new team, with manying itching to tar and feather the coach and the Alaskan, and where, with only six games played, the pressure of being a Montreal Canadien must be like a tightening vice.
They’re members of a team in turmoil, and the natives, including me, are restless.
Diaz, arriving from Zug, Switerland, probably already knew that Habs fans take their team seriously and demand success, but I’ll bet he didn’t think it would be this already, with fans calling for Jacques Martin’s head, and where a 7 million dollar guy has become one of the most unpopular players in years because he doesn’t earn his money. It’s all stuff Diaz has never seen before. Not at this magnitude.
Emelin, coming from the Kontinental Hockey League, already knows what pressure is, but certainly not like this. A facebook page is dedicated to getting his coach fired, media attention vastly outnumbers anything he’s used to, and he’s learning quickly that he and his teammates must give their all, produce, and don’t take stupid penalties that result in losses, or they’ll have to answer to the fans.
Canadiens fans show a passion that doesn’t exist in the KHL. I’m confident in saying that.
And if the Canadiens aren’t up to scratch on Saturday night when they host the Leafs, these two are going to hear with their own ears a thunderous noise coming from thousands of angry fans, directed not at them, of course, but at the team as a whole. It would all be very interesting and memorable for them. Stuff to tell their grandkids.
We Habs fans are excellent fans. Bruins fans might argue with that, but whatever. We demand a winner, that’s all. It’s in our DNA. We like our guys to play with everything they’ve got. No floaters. If they’re lucky enough to wear the sweater of the Montreal Canadiens, then they’d better wear it proudly, and work as hard as they can to be a winner.
That’s all we’re asking. Play as hard as can be, earn your money, and hurry up with the Stanley Cup.
Welcome to Montreal, Diaz and Emelin.