Every good Habs fan hates the Leafs. It’s normal, like breathing, or liking Playboy magazine. The Leafs smell. They damaged the lining of our noses last year and the year before and the years before that. And nothing’s going to change this year or the next. Because they’re the Leafs.
Unfortunately, they often play well against Montreal, for whatever reason. Probably the only time they look like a team is when they play the Canadiens.
Maybe Charles Darwin, if alive, could explain it.
Then there’s the Vancouver Canucks. I live up the coast from Vancouver, in the heart of Canucks fanland, and the Canucks are another team that disappoints their fans most years. Lately they’ve been non-factors in any playoffs they’re involved in. They go through coaches, there’s been infighting with past and present ownership, and there’s the lingering odour of the Bertuzzi incident. The hockey has been boring for the faithful. Heck, even Mark Messier playing there was a non-event.
And I know from growing up back east that the Vancouver Canucks mean very little to many easterners. The games are usually on too late. Canucks players are generally not on the minds of eastern hockey fans. And people are busy hating the Leafs.
Other western teams have fared better with eastern fans. Edmonton had the Gretzky and Messier years, and Calgary had a couple of Stanley Cup finals with Montreal, losing to Patrick Roy and the boys in 1986, but winning in 1989. And so we came to know Calgary players a little more, like Al McInnes, Mike Vernon, Jim Peplinski, Tim Hunter, Theoren Fleury et al.
And they had that ‘Red Mile’ thing going when they made it to the finals again in 2004.
The Canucks have had none of the kinds of things Edmonton and Calgary have had, although they did make it interesting in 1994 when they came within a goal of winning the Cup that year against the Rangers.
So my question is; If the Leafs and the Canucks somehow by magic ended up in the Stanley Cup final, who would you cheer for? One team is despised, the other means very little to you.
I say you have to go for the Canucks, only because they’re not the Leafs.
Or you could go camping instead.