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The Canadian juniors after a crushing meltdown to Russia in the gold medal final. Photo: Andrew Wallace/Toronto Star

So, we lost, it is just a game after all.

The collapse of our Canadian juniors in the world junior gold medal match against a determined and skilled Russian team is unfortunate but it is not a disgrace or embarrassment. The team blew a 3-0 lead in the third period and ended up losing 5-3.

So, we lost, it is just a game after all.

What the Russians managed to do in the tournament was remarkable. Not once. Not twice. But THREE TIMES they came from behind to win. Against the Finns in the quarterfinals. Against the Swedes in the semi-finals. Against us good ole Canuck puckheads in the finals.

So, we lost, it is just a game after all.

They are kids playing a kids game and different from the professionals playing a kids game in the NHL that we deify and demonize from week to week, game to game. So Canada choked, it is better for the tournament to have such added drama…and for other teams to win too.

So, we lost, it is just a game after all.

Canada feels like it’s entitled to win everything that is hockey, that’s ok, but we will not win all the time. Just like Brazil, Italy, England and Germany in soccer, the traditional powers of a sport always expect win. Russia has a long and storied hockey history and was a superpower in the sport for a long time. No shame in losing to them.

So, we lost, it is just a game after all.

Remember, we were not expected to win these world juniors, even with 15 first rounds draft picks in our lineup and we avenged our loss last year to the Americans enroute to this gold medal final. We do not own the copyright on playing with heart and coming from behind to win in hockey and that is a valuable lesson we learned in this tournament, one we should carry beyond the rink- some may say that it is golden.

So, we lost, it is just a game after all.

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If I get a full house Mats, you are Hab, enough said.

If I get a full house Mats, you are Hab, enough said.

Mats Sundin has not made up his mind. Does anyone really care anymore? The return of Mats has plagued Leaf Nation all summer and it sounds like it will go on for a few months still.

On the Fan 590 this morning, Mats ended up on the phone thanks to Nick Kypreos who was at the Big Swede’s cottage in Sweden. Kipper was there to film an interview with Mats which will run this Sunday on Sportsnet’s hockey preview show.

What did Mats say on the radio? That at some point he will return to Toronto because he has a home here. Come on Mats, just sell the damn house and join the Habs…please…pretty please?

If you need to know how you would look in our beloved Blue, Blanc and Rouge, look below:

The red brings out your eyes Mats, the ladies say so...i swear...sooooo...you joining us now?

The red brings out your eyes Mats, the ladies say so...i swear...sooooo...you joining us now?

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After 34 years of living among Leaf Nation as a Habs Fan, some things just need to be made clear. The delusion of the Maple Laugh followers, who think each year could be “THE YEAR” the Stanley Cup is coming back to the Big Smoke, has gone from comical to just plain sad over the years.

1967 was a long time ago folks and the Habs, let alone many other expansion teams, have managed to capture the Holy Grail of hockey at least once. Blame Ballard. Blame Stavro. Blame Peddie and MLSE. Anyway you spin it, the Leafs have been laughable for a long time.

Now that the niceties are out of the way, here are some things which are facts that the Leaf Nation fail to grasp:

1. The Montreal Canadiens, Les Glorieux, are the New York Yankees of hockey, NOT the blue and white, but mostly black and blue, Maple Leafs. Obviously, most Leaf fans and spinsters failed math- the Habs have won 24 Stanley Cups, more than any other NHL team, Toronto has 11. The Yankees have 26 World Series titles, more than any other baseball team. End of argument.

Start counting them..1..2..3..4...

Start counting them..1..2..3..4...

 2. The Habs have won 10 Stanley Cups since the league expanded beyond six teams..the Leafs have won none.  This is just another stat to stop this insane talk that Toronto is the ultimate “hockeytown”, the ultimate franchise, the Yankees of hockey. Ahem…winning nothing in 41 years is nothing to be proud of.

 

A tribute? More like a memorial to something not happening again anytime soon.

A tribute? More like a memorial to something not happening again anytime soon.

3. The Habs would have defeated the Leafs in the 1992-93 playoffs if they had met in the final. Please get over the fact that poor carrot-top referee Kerry Fraser did not call a penalty on The Great One when he clipped “The Killer” – Doug Gilmour. If you were good enough to have the Kings on the ropes that year, and not able close the deal in Game 6 or 7 of the semifinal, there is no one to blame but yourselves. Even if you had made the final, no one could have stopped Patrick Roy and his incredible goaltending that playoff season. The man was on a crusade to deliver the Habs another cup and another Conn Smythe trophy for himself. Do you really think Felix Potvin could have out-duelled Patrick? Roy notched 10 straight overtime wins and…oh ya- helped lead the defeat of the same Kings the Leafs could not put away in seven games.

 

Hey mom, look what I got, says Roy.

Hey mom, look what I got, says Roy.

4. One of your recent great captains, Doug Gilmour, looked way better in a Habs uniform than he did in a Leafs one. I said “look” before some of you have a heart attack or throw something at your monitor. I do not deny he owned Toronto while here, but the Hab uniform sure looked sweet on him and he was an inspirational leader the one year with Montreal as Saku was out battling stomach cancer.

The Killer in a Habs uniform.

The Killer in a Habs uniform.

 5. Kirk Muller should be referred to as a former Hab, not a former Leaf, he helped lead the Habs to that 1992-93 cup and had some of his best years in Montreal.

 

6. The Leafs blew it as it concerns Vincent Damphousse. One of their best draft choices in the 1980s- Toronto gave up on him after one year and dealt him to Edmonton. He produced every where he went and by the time he hit Montreal, becoming captian there, yup, you guessed it, he helped the blue, blanc and rouge to the 1992-93 cup.

Thanks for the help Vinny!

Thanks for the help Vinny!

7. It is cheaper for Leaf fans to see a Habs-Leafs game in Montreal than here in Toronto, a sad state of affairs. You want to go to Montreal anyway, because the fans are passionate and involved in the game more than they ever are in Toronto. Don’t get me wrong, there are great Leafs fans, they problem is they have been priced right out of the building. Also, the night life and food in Montreal is way better anyway.

 

8. The Habs are the classiest organization in hockey. They retire the numbers of their great players and do not just “honour them”. Also, the Habs care about their relations with the past, the Leafs are slowly getting to it but look at the damage done to Dave Keon and the Darryl Sittler in the past.

Big Bird Larry Robinson gives a wave when his #19 was retired. New Jersey boss Lou Lamoriello is on the right, including him was a classy move, you cannot expect any less from the Habs.

'Big Bird" Larry Robinson gives a wave when his #19 was retired. New Jersey boss Lou Lamoriello is on the right, including him was a classy move, you cannot expect any less from the Habs.

 9. Habs fans sing “ole, ole, ole” because they are FANS and get involved in the game. Montreal cannot help their European roots and it beats sitting on your hands and being egged on by a monitor to cheer for your team. It does not matter that it used to be a soccer chant, it is a sporting chant and it beats the call of “Argooooos” at any Leaf game you go to. Also, I guess it has been so long since Leaf fans celebrated anything, that they forgot what a celebration entails.

 

 

 

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