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Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

To listen to Toronto media sometimes it is enough to make you want to take a hammer to your radio or tv.

Thanks to one column and “unamed NHL governors” saying there had been informal consideration given to allowing a second team in Toronto – let the pie in the sky dreaming begin! Oh spare me!

Look, I want Mr. RIM, Jim Balsillie to get his team, whether it is a relocation job or expansion one, likely relocation, and I would love him to have it in Hamilton or KW. This would be gold for this market and push the Maple Laughs…but come one, a second IN Toronto…never.

Do you think MLSE would want to share their pie, the ever-loving dim fans who have lined up for decades, willingly, to pay for a losing product? Get real. Toronto is Maple Leafs country but if they want to put a second team in here for the Canadiens to come and skate circles around go ahead but a second team won’t happen.

Gary Bettman has fought fought hard to stop the relocation of the Predators to Hamilton, do you think he will not stop a second team coming right into the territory of his biggest cash cow?

Wake up Leaf fans. No second team to hang your hopes on will come. You are stuck with the Leafs.

Happy losing.

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More Leaf fans will be resigned to this fans fate as the Leafs prepare for more losing.

More Leaf fans will be resigned to this fan's fate-more losing.

To no one’s surprise media in Leaf Nation have jumped all over Ron Wilson’s comments that wins and losses and won’t matter to him this season. This only adds to Cliff Fletcher’s earlier assertions that low expectations are the best expectations.

Ahh do you all remember Grabovski pitter pattering down the halls of the Bell Centre...no??..ya, i figured, nor do I.

Ahh do you all remember Grabovski pitter pattering down the halls of the Bell Centre...no??..ya, i figured, nor do I.

As just a hockey fan in Maple Laugh-land, management’s approach makes sense. You look at the Leaf roster and for the first time decades, they are actually trying to rebuild for the future. They have kids, they may not all be top notch prospects, but there is a sense of rebuilding. Heck, they have our throw-away Grabovski.  This process won’t deliver a cup anytime soon, but at least they are trying and Wilson is a good coach to have at the helm.

The moment the Hab world stood still and King Roy left the throne for good. Thanks Mario and Reggie- two of the biggest management mistakes in Habs history, enough to overshadow their on-ice contributions.

The moment the Hab world stood still and King Roy left the throne for good. Thanks Mario and Reggie- two of the biggest management mistakes in Habs history, enough to overshadow their on-ice contributions.

This rebuilding of the Leafs reminds me of the recent Hab dark days when were saddled with Rejean Houle at GM and Tremblay behind the bench. Things just went from bad to worse. We lost Patrick, had dead wood veterans and not enough kids playing. With some patience, shrewd scouting and Gainey at the helm, we have steered things around.

Leafs have now gone on a youth movement to help counter the increase Depends costs from the past years.

The Leafs have now gone on a youth movement to counter the Depends costs from past years.

The Habs have never dabbled in the big free agent market as the Leafs for “quick fix” additions, so some serious foundation was set for our current turnaround and success. Leaf fans, prepare yourselves to see losses mount but at least the light at the tunnel is not a train anymore…from what we can tell!

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Habs Rock, Leafs Suck, say Cherry & Milbury.

 

Just say it out loud, nice and slow or shout it out, shout it out loud;

 

“HABS ROCK- LEAFS SUCK!”

Need we say more?

Need we say more?

After a pretty high-tempo exhibition game against the Red Wings, which the Canadiens prevailed in via shootout, Don Cherry has given his stamp of approval to the Canadiens for this year.

Dapper Don gives his thumb to the Habs. Blue is blue because the Leafs..well..the Leafs are not going anywhere..again.

Dapper Don gives his thumb to the Habs. Blue is blue because the Leafs..well..the Leafs are not going anywhere..again.

 

For Cherry to do that and he is a die-hard Leaf boy despite his obvious love of the Bruins, that is a big deal here in the Big Smoke. The fact Mike Milbury essentially said the Leafs will suck this year, only made a good day better! Let’s remember, even Macleans has weighed into why the Leafs stink.

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One nice backhand deke in the preseason and the Leafs has the next coming of Bobby Orr according to the hype machine in this city.

Young Luke Schenn did in fact make a sweet move to beat Manny Legace in a shootout yesterday for the winning goal in a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Way to go kid, unlike Bryan ‘McWhiff’ McCabe, you have the game fundamental of scoring in the other team’s net, down pat. Good job, now go down to the minors.

With trader Cliff Fletcher moving up in the recent draft to secure the fifth pick which scored Schenn, this prospect needs to be cared for and developed. He needs to go down to the minors and play a lot of minutes in a lot of situations, more than he would every get in the NHL during the season. If Schenn were a Hab prospect in camp, he would be headed to Hamilton by the start of the season. 

Bulldog celebrates the Calder Cup.

Bulldog celebrates the Calder Cup.

 

This kid is good, let him grow. The key to the Habs recent resurgence is the fact the let their good prospects grow in the AHL with the Bulldogs and gee, look what that resulted in, a Calder Cup. Also, that patience resulted in a chunk of the Habs current roster including highly skilled and developed players. But what are we to expect, the Leafs are the team that left goalie prospect Justin Pogge riding the pine during the AHL playoffs last year, instead of giving him valuable experience, for the sake of winning something…ANYTHING…in Leaf Nation.

Through Hab-coloured glasses, I can honestly say Schenn is one of the Leafs best prospects in recent memory. Their last solid draft pick was the oft-injured Carlo Colaiacovo and Schenn is likely way better in his own end whereas Carlo has good hands and vision up ice.

 Schenn does not have to be Bobby Orr, hell, if he can even get close to the greatness of Borje Salming (another Swede would have looked great in a Habs uniform) the Leafs have struck gold.

 

Two things the Leafs wont have anytime soon, a Stanley Cup or someone like Bobby Orr.

Two things the Leafs won't have anytime soon, a Stanley Cup or someone like Bobby Orr.

 

If the rush him, they may just waste his talent or blow reading his potential, as they did with Luke Richardson (1st round, 7th overall by Leafs) or Jason Smith (1st round, 18th overall by Devils)- serviceable, strong reliable defencemen they sent away for a pack of peanuts.

If they really screw up, the could end up with Slava Duris or Anders Erikson- guys that make Patrice “Breeze-by” Brisebois look like Orr or Larry Robinson.

 

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Canada’s national newspaper has run an excellent story about the Montreal Canadiens as they enter their 100th year of existence.

Imagine, 100 years in existence and they never managed to suck for a prolonged periods of time like the Leafs, Black Hawks, Rangers, Red Wings ...did i mention the Leafs?

Imagine, 100 years in existence and they never managed to suck for pockets or prolonged periods of time like the Leafs, Black Hawks, Rangers, Red Wings ...did i mention the Leafs?

The story was well written with an interesting take on where the franchise has been post the 1970s dynasty.  The Habs have been a unifying force in Quebec and across Canada and their dominance during a 27 years span from the 1950s to late 1970s is unlike anything in North American sport.

My favourite quote from the piece is the following which made me howl but I do differ with:

The fans are different too, complains Robert Fisher, a lifelong Habs follower and former sportswriter and newspaper publisher in Lachine, Que.

We’ve become Toronto Maple Leaf fans,” he said this week. “We’re lost in the futility of the team and live in the hope that it will regain the past.”

This is Red Fisher, he has forgotten more stuff about the Habs than most of us could ever see or learn. I usually agree with Red, but not this time, Habs fans will NEVER BE LIKE LEAF FANS...EVER!

This is Red Fisher, he has forgotten more stuff about the Habs than most of us could ever see or learn. I usually agree with Red, but not this time, Habs fans will NEVER BE LIKE LEAF FANS...EVER!

The Canadiens have never really been futile, the rest of the NHL caught up and the great dynasties of the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers earned and deserved their time. Strong franchises like the Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins developed into monsters as well. However, our Habs have at least won two cups since 1986 and have never been cellar dwellers when we did not, unlike the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Lastly, our fans are not afraid to call out the Habs when they have stunk up the joint and have stayed away when things deteriorated or became questionble- such as the horrible Rejean Houle and Mario Tremblay mini-era.

“Les Canadiens sont là!”

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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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