Dear Shea Weber,
Let me start off by saying I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that you will be unfairly compared to the player the Canadiens have just lost. I’m sorry that you’ll have to replace a charismatic young defenceman who stole the hearts of an entire city. I’m sorry that no matter what you do from here on out, it will be tinged with memories of Number 76.
It wasn’t your fault that you were traded away from the only team you have known since you entered this league. It wasn’t your fault that the franchise that you carried on your back for 11 seasons sent you to Montreal. It wasn’t your fault that you had to leave behind the club you had worked so hard to captain to respectability.
But none of this will prevent some of us from being angry and upset and taking out all our frustrations on you.
Despite knowing what we know, it won’t prevent some fans (including yours truly) from being unduly critical when you make a mistake. It won’t hold us back from voicing our displeasure at every opportunity we get. An early-season slump may just be enough to give you a first-hand experience of the vitriol the Bell Centre faithful are capable of bringing.
And no matter what you do, it won’t stop us from feeling betrayed by the organization that we supported. This trade – your trade – feels like a knife was plunged into our collective backs. Wounds like these won't heal easily. We aren’t asking you to replace P.K. Subban, because you probably never will and it is unfair of us to expect that of you. But knowing and wanting are two different things, and it won’t stop us from hoping that you will bring back what we lost.
So bear with us. It won’t be easy, but you can still win us over.
Given enough time, you’ll grow on us and we’ll grudgingly grow fond of you. Given enough time we’ll embrace you, if you make an effort to embrace us. Given enough time you’ll understand that we’ll love our players unconditionally (for the most part) if you give it your all, night in and night out. Given enough time, we’ll start to see your new number 6 stand apart from our number 76.
Make no mistake; we Habs fans are a fickle bunch. But at the end of the day, all of us are united by a single goal. We want to see our club hoist Lord Stanley’s infamous punch bowl. We’ve been waiting for 23 years and we’re getting tired of all this waiting. Now that you are here, we only need you do to one thing – help us win the Stanley Cup.
The fans will flock to your side, but they'll need time.
In the mean time,
Go Habs Go!