Twenty two days ago, the Montreal Canadiens put up an article on their web site. The article was on how the Canadiens beat the Bruins and had moved into first place in the Northeast Division. The article in itself was not inflammatory, but the title annoyed me something fierce. It was titled ‘Undisputed’. I thought it was rather arrogant for the Montreal home office to broadcast such a claim when we weren’t even halfway through the season.
I made an objection about it on Twitter, and a few Boston fans had my back, and a few Montreal fans decided to tweet back less than flattering responses in English et en Francais. It was something that just stuck with me. If it was the last week in the series, and they had a seven point lead, then I could see why they could make such a boast. I suppose if you were a team with such a storied legacy of success, and now had to resort to cheap plays and diving to get your power play opportunities, this might be a big thing for you and your team.
When the Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs last night 3-2 in a shootout win at the TD Garden, they were able to officially remove the ‘undisputed’ title off the Canadiens. Three weeks and one day was all it took. I suppose it’s not that bad when you look at it through historical context.
Lady Jane Grey was the ‘undisputed’ Queen of England after the death of her cousin Edward VI. Nine days later, she was deposed in favor of another Tudor cousin, “Bloody Mary.” (Rather symbolic that ‘Queen’ Jane’s colors were red, white, and blue, and Mary’s were starchy black(with a fair trace of Spanish gold.)) Or we could look at the reign of Pope John Paul I. He was the ‘undisputed’ head of the Roman Catholic Church for thirty three days before he died of a heart attack.
In the end, I think it’s rather appropriate that the reign of the Montreal Canadiens falls between a frightened teenage girl and a sickly old man. I think it’s safe to say that most Bruins fans think the Canadiens team will fall under both categories. On Wednesday night, the Habs will come to the Garden to resolve this claim and their dispute with Boston for temporary leadership in the division. Either way, the storied rivalry between two of the original six teams and their fans will not end any time soon. It’s the rivalries like these that make hockey such an amazing sport.