A stick tap to Habs fans, or: How to earn respect from others through a classy move.

Like a lot of readers here, I scan a few other hockey blogs from time to time. One of my daily reads is Puck Daddy, the Yahoo! sports blog edited by Greg Wyshynski. While it is occasionally insightful and rarely controversial, I find it to be a decent place to find human interest stories from around the league as well as a great place for highlights if you didn't have an opportunity to watch NHLN the night before.

This morning, one particular post caught my eye:

Habs fans rally for Operation: Make Saku Koivu 1st Star in Montreal

The post title seemed a little misleading and convoluted at first, but it had Koivu's name in it so I gave it a read. By the end, I had completely changed my view of Montreal Canadiens fans. Allow me to explain why:

I have friends in lots of other cities; a few of them are hockey fans as well. There is a very mild amount of smack talk, but it's all very friendly. The one common denominator with all of my Canadian friends is that they all DESPISE Habs fans. This has colored my view of Habs fans for several years and I carry a less than pleasant impression of them because of it. While I have assumed on several occasions that it is an unfair impression, I didn't have any reason to change it, but I figured that if given a reason, it wouldn't be difficult to change. Read the Puck Daddy post if you haven't already. If you're just against reading it, I will summarize it for you:

Habs fans are allowed to vote for their three stars online, and several younger fans want to vote our own Saku Koivu as the #1 star regardless of the outcome of Saturday's game as a tribute to their former captain.

Wow. Now anybody reading this still that is unfamiliar with Koivu's past in Montreal is deserving of both a smack in the mouth and a history lesson. Let's just say that the guy is well liked there for a reason, and while Montreal fans can be unforgiving in their quest for victories (because they EXPECT to win the cup at the start of every year), they hold Koivu in high regard for many of the same reasons that we do. I think that the blurb that they put on the campaign's facebook page is apropos.

With his return on Saturday lets make sure Saku gets the reception he deserves and ends up at center ice when the game is over!

As a Hab for 13 years, Saku put everything on the line every night and gave back to the community as often as he could. He is the longest serving captain in the Canadiens history. On Saturday when he returns to Montreal for the first time since signing in Anaheim not only should he be cheered and welcomed but as fans we should vote him as the 1st star of the game.

Koivu deserves a proper send off and there is no better way to show our support by giving him one last time to stand in front of 21,273 at center ice.

So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to register to vote for the Canadiens three stars on Saturday, I'm going to vote for Koivu (just once. I promise no cheating this time) and I am going to give a thunderous stick tap to these Habs fans for showing the kind of class that is so rare in sports fandom these days.

Good on 'ya, boys.

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