Habs look to ‘KO’ the Leafs: Meeting #707

…and here we are again, barely two weeks have gone by since their  last meeting and both teams are set (once again) to renew close to a century of hostilities.  The Toronto Maple Leafs (26-27-7) and Montreal Canadiens (33-22-7) will play game numer 707 before the Bell Centre faithful tonight.

The Habs, coming off a much needed victory over the Vancouver Canucks  in their last of a 3-game western road trip, return home to host Toronto for the last time this season.  Montreal sits comfortably in the 6th place in the Eastern Conference with 71-points while Toronto is on the outside looking in, 11th place in the conferance, 6-points out of a playoff spot.

Instead of boring you with the mundane details watch this video which perfectly describes the mutual hatred that Canadiens fans and Maple leafs fans share (when the rivalry mattered).

Without further adieu, here is “The Hockey Sweater”, known in French as “Le Chandail Hockey”, 1979:

——-

Not done reading?  Here’s an excerpt from my previous Montreal/Toronto  preview piece.  I argue that the MON/TOR rivalry has lacked over the last 30-or-so years and I have the numbers to prove it!  Take a look:

Posted February 12th, 2010:

Rivalry Shmivalry: Habs vs. Leafs (again.)

…the Canadiens/Maple Leafs rivalry has provided fans with little substance over the last 3 decades.  Other than the shared hatred that Montreal and Toronto fans have for each other, we can officially blow the whistle on this perennial meeting of the juggernauts.

The on-ice product between these two teams has lacked for the last while, whether it was the Canadiens of the 80’s or the current roster reigning terror on Toronto, or vice-versa with the Maple Leafs of the late 90’s, early 2000’s.  I am hopeful the rivalry will re-ignite itself once Toronto ices a competitive team (hopefully) in the next few years.

When was the last time the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs locked horns in the playoffs?  1979.  The Maple Leafs were a mere stepping stone for the Canadiens on their way to a 22nd Stanley Cup as they handily defeated Toronto in 4-straight games.

Since the 79 final, the Canadiens have faced the Boston Bruins 14 times (84-92, 94, 02, 04, 08-09), the Buffalo Sabres 5 times (83, 90-91, 93, 98), the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes 6 times (80, 88-89, 92, 02, 06) and the Philadelphia Flyers 4 times (87, 89, 08, 10).  Heck, the Habs even played the Calgary Flames twice (86, 89) and they’re playing in this year’s Heritage Classic.

When not missing the playoffs 14 times out of the last 32 years, the Maple Leafs have faced the St. Louis Blues 5 times (86-87, 90, 93, 96), the Ottawa Senators 4 times (00-02, 04), the Philadelphia Flyers 3 times (99, 03-04).

Some 32 years later and the closest these two institutions came to facing each other in the playoffs was back in 1993 when the Maple Leafs were one game shy of joining Montreal in an all-Canadian Stanley Cup Final.  The first all-Can final since Montreal/Calgary ’89.  On the 100th Anniversary of the Stanley Cup, just to twist the sword.

The one little thing keeping this cross-province rivalry alive is, in retrospect, not so little after all.  It’s you, the fans, who keep this rivalry alive.  It’s the age-old rivalry between Good and Evil, English and French, Kahn and Kirk, Cats and Dogs.

It’s the same story, right?  Toronto, with their Leaf Nation convoy roll into town, trade annoying barbs with the local Montreal populous on Crescent St. decked out in their retro circa 1998-2003 Domi, Sundin, Roberts and Joseph jerseys.  Blindly championing Brian Burke as he wheels-and-deals himself out of a jam.  Having the audacity to remotely suggest that the Maple Leafs will turn Phil Kessel into the next Wendal Clark, drinking that swill of an excuse they call for a beer “Molson Canadian”, mumbling and stumbling their way down into hockey’s Mecca, hoping to catch a whiff of success; like a coke-addict to an 8-ball, or a Dutch-oven to an unsuspecting girlfriend.

——

Puck drops at 7:30 PM

4 days until trade deadline, check me…

About these ads

5 responses

  1. Geez, what is there to say about this “rivalry”?

    There’s been little substance to it on the ice. Over the past few years the Canadiens and Leafs have occupied lower tiers of the Eastern Conference and have hunted for the fringe of 8th place at times. I remember back in 07 or 08 when the Canadiens needed a win in Toronto to lock up a playoff spot. They were up 5-3 heading in to the third and then proceeded to lose the game 6-5 and get bounced from the picture. Thanks, Cristobal.

    That was the last time I remember being any relevance to the “rivalry”. The next hotspot between the two was when the Habs smashed the Leafs in consecutive games at the Bell Center, effectively ending the Leafs chance at the post-season.

    Aside from that, this rivalry is largely kept alive by Habs fans that hate Toronto and its media more than they hate the Leafs. For their part, the media is desperate to attach any significance at all to any Leafs game, so its not a surprise that they hype the matchups to the max. They’ve hitched the Leafs to the 90 year history between the 2 teams even if the last decade has been dullsville.

    February 24, 2011 at 10:53 am

    • I remember that game Kyle, I was drunk and disorderly over at Les 3 Brasseurs when I saw Cristobal getting ‘lit up’ like a prison inmate in ‘Oz’.
      Oh well, at least the Islanders and the “Doobie”, Wade Dubielewicz, pulled off the win the following afternoon, preventing the Leafs from occupying 8th place. Karma’s a b$%ch, right? Thanks for reading again Kyle!

      February 24, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      • I was in Mississauga at my in-laws for the game. My father-in-law is a long-time Leafs fan and he was pretty low during the second intermission. I looked at him and said, “don’t worry, Bob. Huet is a sieve and can’t win a big game to save his life. He’ll buckle under the pressure and find a way to blow it”.

        I never hated being right so much as I did that night.

        February 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm

  2. By the way, the comment above was left by me, logged in under my company’s wordpress alias.

    Oops!

    February 24, 2011 at 10:54 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.