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Canada, ON • Canada • 50 Years Old • Male
Rivalries between friends who share a passion for different hockey teams is a tireless tradition. Making fun of friends whose team has performed poorly is almost as fun as watching your own team win.

Blogging sites such as this one have allowed strangers to debate tirelessly on endless topics often escalating to virtual fighting.

As a Canadiens fan I have personally ventured into some hot Leaf topics and decided to throw out an unpopular opinion. Simply put, I believe Leaf fans have been lulled into accepting successes that would be unacceptable to fans of a winning franchise. The Gilmour / Clark jersey honouring is a fine example. Now, let me make this perfectly clear. I think both were exceptional hockey players that provided Leaf fans with years of great memories. Young or old their highlight reels are full of entertaining moments that put smiles on the faces of many Leaf fans. I threw out the idea that maybe they are not completely worthy of this planned honouring ceremony because they never attained the ultimate prize with the Maple Leafs. A Stanley Cup. The very cup that has eluded the Leafs organization for 41 years. At the mere suggestion of this I have been called by Leaf fans a retard, a moron and more importantly, one of the many Hab fans who ignorantly bashes the Leafs.

I can take an insult with the best of them but I find it quite funny that Leaf fans can become so defensive. Raise the bar of expectation. Am I such a Leaf basher for innocently suggesting that? Apparently so. And perhaps that is the problem with the Maple Leafs. A losing tradition lowers your expectations. Getting your team to the semi-finals, in my book, is not a reason for a jersey ceremony. That's a fine example of accepting mediocrity. Doug Gilmour was a player in a class all by himself, a prototypical skilled hockey player with a heart the size of the moon. And he won a Stanley Cup...with the Calgary Flames! Wendel Clark. He was probably the hardest working player to ever don a Leaf jersey and his body constantly broke down under the weight of his huge heart. Sadly, his work ethic didn't propel his team to the promised land. Worthy of a jersey ceremony? Not in my book.

You see, I'm not trying to belittle the achievements of two wonderful hockey players. Two players who deserve all the credit in the world. I'm highlighting a point that drives Leaf fans crazy. You don't honour mediocrity because that sets a bad example for future players and fuels a culture of losing. They see these two players as great warriors who wore the sweater proudly, even though they returned from every battle on the losing end of the scorecard. Many Leaf fans just don't seem to understand that. And heaven forbid a Habs fan even remotely makes mention of this fact, we are labeled as Leaf bashers.

Even though I enjoy watching the Leafs lose, I would love to one day feel the true Habs/Leafs rivalry of the 50s and 60s. There really isn't any real rivalry anymore. It's all on paper or in these blogs. In reality, the Leafs have not won a cup since the NHL first expanded. Sure they've beat the Habs in the regular season. Even knocked them out of the playoffs a couple of years ago. But when was the last significant win over the Habs that inched them closer to the Cup? Unless I check the history books I would have no idea. It hasn't happened in this blogger's lifetime.
Filed Under:   habs   leafs   bashing   toronto   montreal  
July 24, 2008 1:10 PM ET | Delete
This is why they don't leave the decision to honour players to fans of rival teams... At no point in this blog did you ever give the impression that you truly understand what Gilmour and Clark brought to the Maple Leafs franchise. And speaking of mediocrity, didn't Habs fans RIOT in Montreal and set fire to cop cars after a FIRST ROUND win against a much weaker and short-handed Bruins squad? Just a thought...
July 24, 2008 2:30 PM ET | Delete
It was a Leaf fan that pointed out Gilmour barely played 1/4 of his seasons in Toronto. His "career" achievements were not accumulated in Toronto. Clark was a spirited hockey player whose potential was limited by injuries. Both exceptional players but to be honoured alongside players with real career achievements with the Leafs? I'm not sure about that. And for the record, the rioting in Montreal was an embarrassment caused by a minority of idiots. However that has nothing to do with the on ice product which has vastly improved from the past 10 years.
July 24, 2008 3:21 PM ET | Delete
You need to get over yourself, your team puts up one good regular season followed by a weak playoff showing and the Habs are all of a sudden a model franchise?
July 24, 2008 3:27 PM ET | Delete
Thanks for rewriting your first post, I wasn't clear of your premise the first time (loads of sarcasm) ... as for your first point; it was not just Leaf fans that objected to your first blog, I seem to recall Leafs, Flames, Blues, Wings and more importantly, even HABS fans saying that you were out to lunch, to which this repetitive second blog clearly backs. I appreciate rivalries as much as the next guy, but arguments must contain an issue that has been objectively thought of to spur intelligent banter... not one brought up out of a dislike for another organization. I'm not a Leafs fan, never have been, never will be... but I have to say, this blog is even more ridiculous than the first. You just don't get it.
July 24, 2008 3:54 PM ET | Delete
Well mslepp...i value all opinions positive or negative...especially since my blog appears to be giving off a negative attitude...what I was really looking for were opinions as rebuttals to my arguments but I find I'm getting more insults than anything else..I'm not ignorant and much like everyone else on here i am entitled to my opinion...However, I've spent the last couple of days blogging here and commenting on Leaf stories (as an experiment) and Leaf fans mostly make emotional, defensive, insulting responses...and the couple of Leaf fans who "sort of" agreed with me were bashed by other Leaf fans....I'm not a professional writer here so I am not expecting much attention but a creative thoughtful response might go farther in convincing me I'm wrong...but I haven't seen it yet...
July 24, 2008 6:04 PM ET | Delete
BTW...I had to quote a Leaf fan from the recent Alec Brownscombe story regarding this same topic "...while gilmour was at least an occasional all-star during his career. Clark's major contribution to the leaf's cause was as trade fodder in the Sundin deal.the realtiy vs fan and media perception Is why retiring numbers is stupid. WHile clark was and is a great person, he was only an above average player on a terrible team..."Are my points that far off compared to this Leaf fan or am I just not allowed to pass an opinion because of my Hab ways?
July 25, 2008 2:26 PM ET | Delete
you are free to pass any opinion you desire about any team you wish. just don't pass yourself off as an expert on the situation you're discussing. To imply that Leafs fans love mediocre teams is a thinly veiled insult, not intelligent discourse. There's nothing more I would like in this world than to see the Leafs as a team well managed, bursting at the seams with homegrown talent and players that pull you out of your seat. That does not mean as a Leafs fan I can't appreciate what past players have done (and in the case of Clark and Gilmour, continue to do through community and front office work.) What ever will you do should the Habs hit the skids? Consider all players who don the jersey unworthy of honor or respect?
July 28, 2008 11:14 PM ET | Delete
The Habs did hit the skids for a while and it wasn't pretty...but at least they turned things around...admittedly it has been 15 years since the last cup...though thankfully not 41....sorry...had to slip that one in there.. :P
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