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By the Book

by Archives October 18, 2006

I have to come clean. As much as it pains me to say it, Laval fans aren’t as evil as people have led you to believe. In fact, they just may be the best fans in the world. Of course there are some that don’t fall into the ‘good’ category, but there are a lot of Canadiens fans that drive me nuts, and I love the Habs. Every sports team has some stupid fans.

Now, you may be asking yourself what kind of beer I drank at Stade PEPS that would make me think this way. Well, I didn’t have anything to drink. It’s the doggone truth. They are not only people who go to games for beer and tailgating, they know football, they love football, and any person who says they won’t support any professional sports franchise is borderline psychotic. These fans have a passion that would support a CFL or NHL team no matter what their record is. 14,120 fans filed in to see a game that pitted the two best football teams in Quebec, and it was hailing or raining for a majority of the game. That’s devotion. That number is more than all of Concordia’s home games for the last two years. Combined.

That’s only part of the reason why I feel they are the best fans. They know when to cheer. You could hear a pin drop in the stadium when Laval has the ball, and you can’t even hear yourself think when the opposing team has the ball. They are smart.

But, the thing that really convinced me is what happened after the game. As I was walking down to field level, members of the Stingers were walking behind me and all I heard from fans was “Good game” and “You guys are pretty good”. Sure, they were happier because they ended up winning, but they seemed grateful to see a good game of football that either team could have won. Laval hasn’t lost a game at home in over two years, and this Stingers team, who was undefeated coming into the game almost did it. They know the Stingers can beat them, and they know that if the Stingers face Laval in the Conference final and win, they are deserving. The Stingers sent them a message, and in return the Laval fans sent a message. They love their team, but they love a good football game as well.

I headed over to the RDS website, and read some comments from Rouge et Or fans. Apart from one or two who think that Laval is unbeatable, were fans who couldn’t stop talking about how good Andrew Hamilton was, and how good Concordia was and how scared they are for the potential match up in November that will decide Conference champion. They even talked about how good the Concordia fans were and said that they were nice and devoted to their team. They also tipped their hat off to the fact that so many made the three hour trip.

So, you’d be best suited to get rid of the notion that Laval fans are jerks. They aren’t. They love their team, no doubt about it, and they are smart. From my perspective, they made a classic game even better by making the atmosphere as loud as any Alouettes game. I couldn’t imagine if it was a nice day and they got closer to 20,000 which you have to believe will be the number of people in the stands for the Conference final.

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How ’bout them Habs?

Well, well, well. I told you the Canadiens would be good if Saku Koivu was healthy, and what they have done in their first four games has a lot of people surprised. Not me. Koivu is tied with line mate Chris Higgins with five points in four games and the Canadiens have not lost a game in regulation time this season, including games against Eastern Conference powerhouses Buffalo, Ottawa, and Philadelphia. Oh, and a win against Toronto, too.

Now, I don’t expect them to go undefeated (unlike some fans undoubtedly do; those fans also believed Mike Ribeiro was the second coming of Wayne Gretzky and Guillaume Latendresse would get more goals than Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. Combined). But, if they stay healthy (and questions about the health of Craig Rivet and Mathieu Dandenault can’t help a defence decimated with injuries) they will make the playoffs. I’ve been saying this all summer, but the key is that they have to stay healthy.

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How ’bout them Saints?

Last time I checked in on the New Orleans Saints, they had just played their first game at the Superdome and annihilated the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. Since then, they have improved their record to 5-1, still sit on top of the division, and are 3-0 at home heading into their bye week. They are surprising a lot of people, but I think that people have no doubt that they are for real. It’s amazing what a new quarterback (Drew Brees), Reggie Bush and emotion can bring to a team. I’m not saying they will win the Super Bowl, but look for them to make the playoffs and give just a little bit more to the city of New Orleans to cheer about.

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