Although I currently live in Ottawa, I grew up in Southwestern Ontario. As a result, I bleed the Blue and White of the Toronto Maple Leafs, with Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark being my favourite Leafs players of all-time.
As such, I have a moral and legal obligation to seethe venom in the general direction of the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators (yes, I said legal obligation — it’s in the contract one gets when they join Leafs Nation).
In the case of the Habs, it’s a no brainer. Toronto and Montreal have been and always will be hated rivals. Heck, this very fact is taught to us in grade school as we read Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater. Well, let me tell you something … I never wanted to comb my ‘air like Maurice Richard. I’d rather have a bitchin’ Wendel Clark moustache (except for the fact that I can’t grow a moustache).
Even though the Leafs and Habs haven’t met in the playoffs in a million years, this long-standing historical rivalry is the very reason that I can never bring myself to cheer for the Canadiens. Ever. Not even if they were the only Canadian team left standing in the playoffs, as they were last season. The mere thought of cheering on the Habs is just plain wrong on so many intangible levels.
But Steve, you ask, shouldn’t you be a good Canadian patriot and have a burning desire to see the Cup come back home? Well, yeah, that would be great, and I was actively cheering for Calgary, Edmonton, and yes, even Ottawa to bring home Lord Stanley’s mug (partly because it would have been cool to see a Stanley Cup parade in person. But I actually rather enjoyed seeing Alfie and the Sens get dismantled by Anaheim).
But the Habs? I was hoping they would collapse completely and lose to the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs (and they almost did). I can’t quite fully explain it. It’s almost more a gut instinct, really. All I know is that the Habs must lose.
In fact, I’d rather see the Columbus Blue Jackets win the Cup instead of Montreal … which is why I derive great satisfaction from their current slump. Indeed, nothing would be sweeter than seeing the Habs miss the playoffs entirely during their centennial season. And it would be suitable punishment for the Habs fans that voted that heartless chump Kovalev into the All-Star Game starting line-up over the greatest player in the league today, Alex Ovechkin.
I mean, seriously … did you see that goal he scored the other night against Montreal? As Pierre “Monster” McGuire said, “it was insanity.”
Hey, I may be a Leafs fan, but I’m not stupid. I know they’re not making the playoffs (unlike some delusional Senators fans), so I’m throwing my support behind Ovie and the Caps. Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, and Green are an absolute pleasure to watch.