His latest column, for example, hits the nail right on the head. In it, he strongly condemns the backlash aimed at Shea Weber after the announcement of his latest medical setback, which will see him miss games until roughly mid-December. Mr. Todd rightly describes Shea as a superb defenceman and teammate.
He then carries on to the more generalized hatred of self-described Habs fans, targeted at every recent coach and GM the team has had:
Now, I've brought up before the intense, disproportionate media attention our team and players receive, which is great for the bottom line of the team in terms of the free publicity, but which will make more reserved players than P.K. a little skittish. Add on top of that the amount of online blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook sites, most of it unmoderated and fighting for clicks, and you get a toxic atmosphere surrounding the team.
Montréal is a great town, but for your average NHLer, so is Tampa or Dallas. We're not going to win selling UFAs on the charms of the Vieux-Montréal when both the head coach and the GM have their families remain in Boston and Chicago, respectively, when we have black-clad and masked ninja photographers stalking Steven Stamkos around town. We're not going to win when we harass our best player to the point that his wife has to make a public statement on Instagram that there is no trouble in their marriage.And here:
This kind of stuff is why our team will never win. Sure, taxes, weather, blah blah blah, but this craziness is why free agents will not come here, why current players will add a Montréal surcharge to sign here instead of a Tampa Bay discount to remain.When a player's wife has to post on Instagram to announce to the feverish masses that they are not experiencing marital trouble, we have a problem. When Steven Stamkos tweets out a picture of a black-clad and masked ninja photographer following him around town, we have a problem.When a public establishment pulls a disgusting stunt like this and thinks it will go over well, we have a problem.When the GM and the head coach's families remain in Chicago and Boston respectively instead of moving to Montréal, we have a problem. The GM doesn't have a leg to stand on when he tries to sell a 28 year old married guy on pulling up stakes and moving his family to Montréal to play here.Our fixation on the most microscopic details of our team, while never giving any player or staff or executive an inch of leeway, and taking anything to the negative to the cynical extreme ('foxhole', 'no excuses'), dooms us to being also-rans, with B-grade acquisitions, and with soured players mailing it in to earn a ticket out of town.
So I see that Mr. Todd and I are in lockstep on this subject, if it's not a case of him reading my posts...
I don't know that there's an answer to what is happening right now. That John Tavares wouldn't even take a meeting with the team, that the prestige, the opportunity to be a god in Québec if he brought home the Stanley Cup, didn't even register with him, that should have been the wakeup call for fans to look in the mirror, to wonder whether they should maybe turn it down a notch. If it didn't hit home earlier, when Marc Bergevin would flatly state that a lot of players plain don't want to play here.
But no. I see disgusting memes by shlock twitter accounts with crude photoshops mocking Shea Weber, a proud warrior who should get better treatment from all of us.
Even when the Canadiens were winning, surprising teams that looked better on paper than ours, we hounded Michel Therrien, ridiculed Raphaël Diaz and mocked David Desharnais, whose sin was that he once centred Erik Cole to a career year and Max Pacioretty to his breakout season. We assured each other that the coach played favourites with David, gave him preferential treatment over Lars Eller.
When Daniel Brière wrote in his book that Mr. Therrien was actually very harsh in his treatment of Max and David, this was soft-pedaled by the online hackjob artists, since it didn't fit their narrative.
If the pressure and the criticism was that bad when the team was winning, was actually one or two players away from contending (as we assured each other), what's going to happen when the Canadiens struggle next season, and beyond?