Today is finally here. After months upon interminable months of waiting, the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins are set to meet yet again, for the first time this year, and for the 888th game in their history (including postseason games). Canadiens fans and Bruins fans probably have been annoying the crap out of the rest of you about how excited we are, how long we have waited, and how this is really the best day of the season, you guys.
The thing is, it really is.
The next few hours are that perfect window of time between waking up on the first Habs-Bruins game day of the season, and dropping the puck on the first Habs-Bruins game of the season. The only time when everything about this rivalry is exciting, and nothing that would leave a bad taste in your mouth has happened yet. This is the most wonderful time of the year.
Because as much as we like to wax poetically about how this is one of the most storied rivalries in sports, and how our rivalry is better than all of your rivalries, put together, this rivalry also comes with something we always forget about during the offseason: an unhealthy amount of ridiculous bullshit. I have a hard time believing that any other rivalry in hockey comes with more ridiculous bullshit than ours does. Our rivalry is better than yours, even when it comes to being the worst.
As soon as the puck drops on the season series, we all lose our minds. Every penalty drawn by either of these two teams somehow always becomes a dive, every penalty taken magically seems to become a cheap shot to the head or a slew foot or some other intent to injure. Every save by either goalie was lucky, Brad Marchand is totally faking that to draw a double minor, P.K. Subban is an asshole, Zdeno Chara is Satan, and Max Pacioretty is always only pretending to be injured. Nobody can stand either of our fan bases during and after these games.
It's about to get real loud up in here, with the whining, the complaining, the yelling, and the shrieking, but we still have a few hours to go before the series starts.
Before the series starts.
Before any player dishes out or takes an ugly hit. Before anyone calls 911. Before the reporters covering either team pretend not to be shameless, petty homers while loudly proclaiming that the other team is nothing more than a bunch of cheap, dirty, goons. Before we troll them about Tyler Seguin. Before they troll us about, oh, I don't know, their recent Stanley Cup win and their second trip to the final in two years. Before Carey Price gets that smug little smirk on his face, and before Tuukka Rask gnashes his teeth. Before Dave Stubbs gets a truckload of hate mail, and before Jack Edwards becomes the worst human being on earth. Before that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach after a loss to them, and before you lose sleep over your anger at the opposing team. Before the boos rain down on each team's Norris-calibre defensemen. Before we drive each other and ourselves insane with the words ‘class,' ‘classy,' and classless.' Before you block everyone you know from the opponent's fan base on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine. And most of all, most importantly of all, before we have to see the hideous, smug face of Brad Fucking Marchand.
It's all worth it though, even the Brad Marchand part, if your team comes out on the winning side of the game and eventually the series. These games turn into such emotional gong shows, especially as of late (although I suspect they were always gong shows and we just didn't have the internet for most of the time this rivalry has existed), that even wins are exhausting. Maybe that's why they feel so much more satisfying and so much more important than other wins.
We have a bit of time before the gong show, though. Today is finally here. And if we're lucky, we'll get another few perfect hours in anticipation of a Habs-Bruins series puck drop in the spring.
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