Montreal Canadiens: Reaction To Recent Suspensions Show Habs Fans Far More Reasonable Than Leafs Fans

Jan 23, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher
Jan 23, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs are two of the oldest rivals in the National Hockey League. It has led to some bad blood on the ice over the years and countless altercations between fans of opposing teams.

Social media has done little to bring these two fan bases together. In fact, the divide is probably further than ever as Maple Leafs fans constantly try and antagonize Canadiens fans during the team's rebuild while Habs fans can quickly do the math on how long ago 1967 as they come up with a comeback.

One thing we can all agree on is that the Canadiens and Maple Leafs have the two biggest fan bases in hockey. The argument begins when someone tries to suggest biggest also means best. Hockey fans in any city other than Toronto universally agree that fans of the Maple Leafs are some of the most insufferable to deal with and listen to online.

Teams typically need to actually win something before they become cocky and pompous about their accomplishments. That is not the case in Toronto. Maple Leafs fans are quite happy to brag about their great regular season records over recent seasons and omit the fact they have won a single playoff series since 2004. That is now 20 years ago.

A couple of recent controversial, suspension worthy plays have highlighted the fact Canadiens fans are the far more reasonable, calm and respectable of the two fan bases. That even extends into the locker room and behind the benches of both organizations as well.

Brendan Gallagher was suspended recently for an elbow to the head of New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech. It was a cheap shot from a player who has never been suspended before, but Canadiens fans all agreed a suspension was deserved and there were no qualms with the league over the five game ban that was eventually handed out.

Overall, a calm, reasonable reaction to a play that has no place in the game of hockey. Gallagher knows that and he made a huge mistake. Everyone agreed he should pay for it. Even his head coach, Martin St. Louis was not defending the actions of the hardworking, veteran winger. He simply said he plays a hard game but he didn't want to comment on the hit without seeing the replay a few more times first.

In Toronto however.... Morgan Rielly ran at Ridly Greig after the Ottawa Senators forward scored into an empty net and cross checked the rookie in the head long after the puck had entered the net. It was one of the most obvious suspensions in hockey history, yet Maple Leafs fans were quick to come to the defense of Rielly and blame everyone else in the world for the nasty attack.

Again, Grieg shot the puck into an empty net. Rielly cross checked him in the head long after the play had ended.

This McCabe guy is searching for a point like Jake McCabe searches his own zone for the guy he is supposed to be covering shortly before a goal against.

Even former Maple Leafs players who work for a television network that broadcasts both Canadiens and Maple Leafs games weighed in.

The Leafs coach? You know, the guy who should be trying to keep things even keeled out there:

Did the coach suggest his player should take accountability for his actions? No, he vaguely referenced how unfair the league is towards the Maple Leafs like a petulant 12 year old.

So, to recap, when the Canadiens player stepped over the line, players, coaches and even those online twitter fans were in agreement that he should be punished and deserved a suspension. When Rielly tries to take a guy's head off long after the whistle, and really the game, have ended, coaches, players and fans all come running to his defense as if he has done nothing wrong.

It's hilarious. Once again, Canadiens fans come away with some dignity and a realistic view of things. Leafs fans on the other hand look just as delusional as when they say "this is our year."