With realignment an eventuality now, it's time that we start focusing on new rivalries-to-be and old rivalries-to-be-renewed. We're reaching out to the fans who know the teams best to get to know more about them and what to expect.
The Team: Montreal Canadiens
The Blog: Habs Eyes on the Prize
The Head-to-Head Record (W-L-T): 230-304-96
The Last Meeting: January 25th, 2012 @MTL (7-2 loss)
The Brief History: Despite both being Original Six teams, the Canadiens and Wings have always seemed to have more pressing rivalries than one another. The two teams have met five times total in the Stanley Cup Finals, first in 1952. In those series, all running between '52 and '66, the Wings hold a 3-2 advantage. Since those days, the teams haven't overlapped well, as Detroit missed the Montreal dominance of the 70s by being terrible and Montreal missing out on the Wings' most-dominant streak by failing to appear in the finals since 1992-93.
Of course, we can't forget the December 2, 1995 game between the two teams, which the Wings won 11-1. Detroit put up 9 goals on Patrick Roy, who demanded to be traded immediately after. Roy went on to be a big pain in the ass for the the Wings and the Habs were never quite the same.
Getting to know you:To start our series on our new Division rivals, we've got Andrew Berkshire from Habs Eyes on the Prize to introduce us to the Montreal Canadiens. We asked five questions which should help acquaint us with their fans. Also, if we're going to be conversing with them, we might want to take heed of their community guidelines. They're good folks.
1. First off, tell us the most important things we need to know about your team.
The most important things you need to know about the Montreal Canadiens are that P.K. Subban is absurdly amazing, Tomas Plekanec is the most underrated player in the league, our fans can be huge jerks, and we're really not used to being as good as the team is this year. Also this guy named Carey Price plays goal for us and we almost ran him out of town even though he's probably the most talented goalie in the NHL.
2. Who on your team are we going to hate the most?
Most people hate Subban the most, but I think that's for a uh... pigmentation related reason. He does make some questionable plays at times, but not enough to earn the hatred he gets. You'll probably also hate Alexei Emelin, who rarely ever does anything but clean hits, but he does it all the time and hits like a truck. Other than that, maybe Ryan White. White loses his temper sometimes and crosses some lines because he's crazy.
3. Why should the Wings fear you?
The Wings should fear the Habs because they now have franchise players at the three most important positions. Subban on defense, Price in goal, and a budding young Alex Galchenyuk at center. The team that surrounds them is 3 lines of scoring deep, and they actually play a pretty good system. They're set up to be competitive for a really long time.
4. What do you fear most about the Wings?
The easy answer is Pavel Datsyuk, but I'm going to go with a homer pick and say Mike Babcock. In my opinion he's the best coach in the NHL, and I got to watch him cut his teeth in the WHL for the Moose Jaw Warriors as a kid (terrible, terrible team then). I thought Detroit was going to fall down flat this season without Nicklas Lidstrom, and I wasn't alone, yet Babcock still has them playing like a top 10 possession team.
5. What about the rest of our new division will our fanbases have no problem agreeing on?
The rest of our division will all agree that for now, the Bruins are the team to beat out here. The line of Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron is the best in the league right now, and when you combine their skill with the physicality of the Bruins, it's downright scary. The fun thing is that the team is incredibly easy to hate because they are the whiniest sack of whiney babies in the history of babies and whining. They can win 7 in a row, then lose one and you'd think the world is ending. Watching the Bruins lose is really, really fun.