Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey. The Maple Leafs vs World: Why The Montreal Canadiens Suck
Toronto Maple Leafs Part 2 - Why The Montreal Canadiens Suck
As all hockey fans know, the Toronto Maple Leafs take particular satisfaction in beating their rivals from Montreal.
What many people don’t know is that the Montreal Canadiens owe their very existence to the Toronto Maples Leafs. Back in the late 1930s, the fickle Canadien ‘fans’ had all but abandon their team during the Great Depression. The team’s financial losses grew to the point where its owners considering selling the team to a group of investors from Cleveland. Ironically, it was during these same bad economic times that ‘Maple Leafs Gardens” was being built in Toronto. Funny that while the un-supported Canadiens were on their way to Cleveland, the Toronto Maple Leafs were still able to find the resources to build hockey’s greatest temple.
It was during this period that Maple Leaf founder and hockey God Conn Smythe allowed Leafs Coach Dick Irvin to join the near-dead Canadiens is a desperate effort to resuscitate the franchise and keep the Leaf’s favorite victims in Montreal. This act of kindness has never been fully acknowledges or repaid, but it is safe to say that the Canadiens owe their very existence to the Maple Leaf’s heroic founder.
But what good has Mr. Smythe’s kindness resulted in? Not much. Case in point: the infamous ’Richard Riot’ of 1955. In that year, Maurice (what kind of wussy name is “Maurice”?) Richard assaulted linesman Cliff Thompson after receiving a penalty. As it was his second vicious attack on an official that year, Richard was suspended for the rest of the season and the playoffs. Instead of Canadien ‘fans’ denouncing and disassociating themselves from the savage Richard, they attacked NHL Commissioner Clarence Campbell in the stands at a subsequent game, and then proceeded to riot in the streets. These ‘fans’ caused $500,000 in damage. They looted and vandalized hundreds of stores and injured 12 police officers. Clearly, the franchise should have been dissolved right then and there (and Richard should have spent some quality time in jail). Those familiar with Canadian history know that the Richard Riot had as much to do with the French – English tensions of the time as it did with hockey. Ironically, the modern version of Montreal’s ‘Flying Frenchmen’ are not very French (nor are they very flying!)
Mr. Conn Smythe
Toronto Maple Leafs - God's Team
The tragedy that is the Montreal Canadians continued during Canada’s centennial year of 1967. During that year, all eyes were on Montreal as it was hosting the world exposition, “Expo67”. Montrealers were eager and ready to cap off the year with a Stanley Cup parade. Unfortunately for them, the resilient underdog Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Canadiens in the finals and brought Lord Stanley’s mug back home to Toronto.
In what state is the Montreal franchise in today? Perhaps Quebecois goaltender and former Canadian poster-boy Patrick Roy summed it up best on December 2, 1995. On that date, Montreal lost to 12-1 to the Detroit Red Wings at home. Roy let in 9 goals that night, and was jeered by the ‘fans’ whenever he made an easy save. When he was finally replaced by another goalie, he went to the team’s president Ronald Corey and told him he was through playing for Montreal. The Canadiens have not won another Stanley Cup to this date. I believe that we will look back at this event, and the Curse of Roy” as the symbolic end to the franchise. It is clear that like Roy, many top notch free agents want nothing to do with Montreal. In fact, a few years ago when the team was up for sale, they couldn’t even find a locale owner to buy it, and the franchise had to be sold to American millionaire George Gillett (who also recently decided to rid himself of the franchise as well).
What lies ahead for the Canadiens? It is clear from history that their fan support evaporates rapidly when the team starts to lose. Last year was the team’s centennial year, and instead of challenging for the Cup as was hoped for, the team struggled to make the playoffs. This year, the team’s desperate General Manager has tried to undo the damage he is responsible for by totally revamping the team. His efforts are the sad attempt of a man who himself is just a few months away from being fired.
Perhaps the future of the Canadiens lies to the West in Hamilton, Ontario. The team’s farm team plays there, and billionaire Jim Balsillie has been trying to buy and relocate an NHL team there without success. There are, however, many Leafs fans residing in Quebec who should not be denied the chance of seeing their team visit Montreal and thrash the locals. When the Canadiens do move, perhaps the defunct Montreal Maroons could be reestablished, thus providing the Maple Leafs with another nearby franchise to beat up on (after all, this strategy has worked well with the Ottawa Senators).
Go Leafs Go!
Only Two Hockey Teams Matter
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