Photo cred - Anidruh Koul
If you’re a Habs fan, then for the last 21 years you’ve had the misfortune of watching an elimination game during playoff season. It can be a stressful time for everyone, with emotions running high, you may even experience something similar to the Kübler-Ross stages of grief. However, if it’s your first time watching the Habs go toe-to-toe in a fight for their life, then you may not know what you’re in for. So here’s a breakdown of how you can expect your day to go, and the seven types of anxious people you can expect to see before the game.
You’re a ghost in your own life. You move about your home like you’re on autopilot. Numbers, letters, and even your morning habits don’t seem to make sense anymore as you walk around in a daze. You’ve fed the dog twice and poured orange juice in your coffee. Things are not okay. You’re not able to process the horrible truth of the matter: the Habs are in an elimination game. “I don’t… understand,” you mutter to yourself, pulling lint from your new Habs sweater, before setting off on your daily commute.
Halfway through your ride the words you’ve been thinking all morning finally sink in. And although they make sense to you, you refuse to accept them. Because if you accept them, the world as you know it will shatter into a million pieces. “It’s not possible!” you shout, startling half the riders in your metro cart. “We can’t be in an elimination game. They don’t even have ice in Tampa!” You eventually get off at your stop while everyone watches you leave.
You start to wonder if the Habs heading to the elimination game is your fault. And the more you think about it, the more you know it’s your fault. Normally you wear your lucky Habs shirt (the one with the hole in the sleeve and the itchy tag), but you decided to try wearing something new and the Habs lost three games in a row. It’s your fault they’re in this mess, and the guilt eats at you all morning.
Around lunch, the guilt finally wears off, leaving nothing but searing rage in its tracks. You’re short with friends and loved ones, snapping at them for seemingly no reason. It’s not your fault they lost the last game, you don’t even play for them. It’s their coach’s fault. Yeah, that has to be it. There’s just no way Tampa’s playing better. “Damn you to hell, Therrien!” you scream in the lunch queue, throwing loonies at the cashier and storming off in a huff.
You've doubled-down on your bets with your friends' hockey pool for the playoffs. Now you spend the day anxiously clicking the end of your pen over, and over, and over again, before throwing it across your desk. There must be something you can do. The idea crosses your mind and, before you can stop yourself, you’re praying to any and every deity you can think of. “Please,” you ask some nondescript figure in the clouds (who you hope is also a Habs fan), “I’ll never insert empty promise here ever again if you just let them win tonight,” you say honestly, “I swear.”
Without warning you break into tears on the way home, wailing like the Sens did after the first round of the playoffs. You don’t want to go watch the game with your friends at the pub, or eat chicken wings until you feel like throwing up. You just want to go to bed wrapped in your Carey Price jersey and drink cheap beer until you forget what game you’re watching.
You stand outside the bar, where you reluctantly agreed to meet up with your friends, and exhale slowly. You spent the day worrying about this game and now it’s finally time to watch it unfold. You know there’s nothing you can do to influence its outcome, so you might as well accept the Habs’ situation and hope for the best. Besides, they’ve come back from worse and the team’s been playing well. Maybe they’ll get a game seven, maybe they won’t, but you’re here with them ‘till the end because you’re a real fan. “Go Habs, go,” you say, and walk inside.