We love Montreal. We really do.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 | 11:06 PM ET
Montreal is one of the greatest cities in the world. It certainly has the best restaurants. And it arguably has the best hockey fans in the country.
I’m a little biased. I grew up there and am a Canadiens fan. My biggest idols growing up were Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard and Yvan Cournoyer.
So as a former Montrealer, it really bugs me to hear the press in that city say that CBC Sports is anti-Habs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Especially recently.
The Canadiens are a great team. They are a legitimate Stanley Cup favourite, and may be for several years. The Boston-Montreal series has produced some of the most entertaining hockey of the playoffs. I am hopeful we’ll be covering the Habs for quite a while into the spring.
The Habs form a major part of the history of Hockey Night in Canada - and its future.
What long-time Montreal fan doesn't get chills from Danny Gallivan's classic calls? No broadcaster in the world is more closely associated with a single team than Dick Irvin, who remains a valued member of the Hockey Night in Canada team.
Hockey Night in Canada and the Habs will hopefully always be intertwined.
So let me dispel a few myths:
#1: “Hockey Night in Canada is only showing Montreal in the playoffs because Toronto is not playing.” This is crazy. We show EVERY Canadian team in the playoffs. In fact, this year, we have worked hard with the NHL to ensure that none of the Habs, Senators or Flames games overlap, so that the biggest possible audiences can see every game.
#2: “CBC never shows the Canadiens on Saturday Nights.”
This year, we had 19 Habs games on Hockey Night in Canada. That’s up from 13 last year. (And we’d really love to do more next season). That's more than any other English network, and more games than any team in the league other than Toronto.
Some broadcasts were national, some were just in Quebec, some everywhere but Southern Ontario, but all were available on our regional feeds. Additionally, we devoted an entire Saturday pre-game show to the live ceremony of Bob Gainey’s sweater retirement - in both languages.
#3: “Don Cherry is anti-Montreal.”
Not true. Just last night, Don was adamant that Carey Price should be the hands-down rookie of the year. He has been one of Price’s biggest promoters this season. Don has always been a huge fan of Kirk Muller. Nobody was a bigger supporter for Saku Koivu when he was being criticized for his linguistic shortcomings earlier this season.
But all this will probably never convince ardent Habs fans that we somehow are rooting against them. That’s OK. I love passionate hockey fans. But just know that as a guy that bleeds Canadiens blue and red, that’s a tough criticism to stomach.
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About the Author
Scott Moore is Executive Director of CBC Sports.
Prior to coming to CBC in 2007, Mr. Moore held various senior positions at CTV, TSN and Sportsnet.
As a producer, his credits include seven Olympic Games, Stanley Cups, Grey Cups, world junior championships, figure skating and auto racing, as well as various news and entertainment specials.
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