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BigTed3

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Thanks guys, it means something to me people reading this and commenting

Nice job on your blog.:P

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Thanks for sharing your problems associated with being a Habs fan in a far-away land. It's difficult for "most" of us here in Canada to relate to what you go thru to watch a game. Thanks for clearing that up, and good luck with your health.

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Thanks for sharing your problems associated with being a Habs fan in a far-away land. It's difficult for "most" of us here in Canada to relate to what you go thru to watch a game. Thanks for clearing that up, and good luck with your health.

Thanks :)

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Here we go with our fifth blog of the season, an account of what it's like living behind enemy lines and a look at where the Habs and Leafs rivalry stands today.

If anyone is looking to have their own blog, story, or article featured here, we continue to accept submissions. Please send them to me via PM, or ask me about an idea you have. We are all looking forward to seeing what you have to say about our Montreal Canadiens!

Big Ted,

on behalf of the moderating team

Blog #5: The Leaf Rivalry by HTL

It's one of the oldest rivalry's in hockey today, in any league. How did it begin? What continues to fuel it? Why does the hatred live on year after year? Those type of questions are often asked every season by fellow Hab fans and Leaf diehards.

We're dealing with two of the oldest, most successful and storied franchises ever to wear an NHL jersey. We've fought many a war in the quest for hockey's holy grail during our existence. Blood has been shed, and many a bone broken throughout our numerous battles. We call these encounters "hockey games," but it's much deeper than that. It goes beyond the fact that they represent Canada's largest cities. The political battles of French vs English takes a backseat. The title of Canada's team is up for grabs, and the feeling of national pride is the prize.

I've lived in Southern Ontario all my life. They call this area Leaf Nation, and I'm often referred to as a traitor. I have no doubt that Leaf fans in Montreal suffer the same fate. We are the battle-weary veterans of our teams, who are often on the front lines of abuse when times are rough. We revel in our boys' victories and mourn their losses. It's more than a game to us. It's about bragging rights until the next encounter. Why do we do it? It's difficult to put in words. You need to experience the feeling first hand, the jubilation, the sense of conquest. No doubt local fans have similar experiences. It's just "special" in enemy territory.

The rivalry lives on despite the fact we've not met in the playoffs for what seems like a lifetime. The media from both cities ensure that the flame remains lit. Every written word is absorbed like a sponge in a water bowl, every piece of information is noted and burned into our memories.

And yet the question remains... who is Canada's team?

Our National broadcaster leans heavily towards the Leafs. Leaf fans refer to themselves as a Nation, and boast they have the largest number of followers throughout the world. They wear the maple leaf on their jerseys and insist it's a representation of our country. Hab fans counter that the only reason they have that many followers is that a good portion of them are indeed fans of other teams. They despise them so much that they tune in to see them flounder. STRIKE ONE. Canada adopted the Maple Leaf emblem well after the Leafs did. STRIKE TWO. Twenty four Cups to thirteen. STRIKE THREE. You see where this is leading?

Leaf fans argue that a good portion of our Cups victories are tainted. They point to the fact that the Habs had exclusive rights to all French Canadian players, prior to the implementation of the draft. They like to ignore the fact the Leafs had a similar arrangement with players born in Ontario. Is there a STRIKE FOUR in baseball? Did we not win an additional 10 Cups since their last sniff at Lord Stanley? Were those Cup victories not won after the draft was implemented and the playing field supposedly leveled?

How do our histories compare? Both teams boast past glories and sold-out buildings. Both teams lay claim to some of the greatest players to ever play the game. We each have large representations in the Hockey Hall Of Fame. Other than a brief period of shame from the Leafs organization (sex scandal), both teams have storied pasts. When compared, the point that is brought up the most, is that the Habs organization does a better job of tying the past in with the present. NOBODY does it better then the Habs. We are guilty of holding our team to the highest of standards. Mediocrity is a punishable offense in Montreal.

Admittedly, the rivalry has waned of late. Younger fans lean to the Bruins as our most hated rivals. The confrontations are fresh in their minds and past history is indeed past history to them. The older generation holds fast in their dislike of the Leafs. It's ingrained in our DNA, and there's not a stanchion out there that can change our views.

-- HTL

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The thing with Leafs fans is that there seem to be a lot more wagon-hoppers than there are in Montreal. Habs fans are pretty fanatic (and loud at games). Leafs fans just don't seem to care when their team isn't winning. When they do well, you get a lot of people hopping on the bandwagon, but the excitement isn't there and the atmosphere at their games just isn't as intense. For those of you who have been to games in Montreal and seen visiting Leaf fans there, those are more of the die-hards and not really a representation of the typical Toronto fan, in my opinion. I don't doubt there are those who love their team, but I just don't get the same live-and-die-with-the-team attitude you see with a lot of Montreal fans.

Great job HTL!

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Great stuff HTL, thoroughly enjoyed reading that.

To reply to BigTed's view though, I'd say that Leafs fans are very dedicated to their team. They continuously sell out and they have the highest ticket prices in the NHL. For a team that hasn't made the playoffs in a while, I'd say they have a very strong fanbase.

I look at it this way as far as dedication goes. When I see the platinum seats of the ACC, all but empty after the 1st period,,something is wrong with their dedication.

JM2C

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Thanks all. ;)

As far as the fan support comments,,,i agree about the bandwagon reference. It doesn't seem to take much to load and unload that sucker. That's another aggravating aspect of living down here. When we lose to them,,,,they come out of the woodwork to rub it in. If we win,,,,,you can't find any trace of them. Like a big ostrich farm with heads in the sand.

I've gone to a few games in that mortuary they call the ACC. Unless it's against the Hab's or Sen's,,,,it's pretty much like a library or church in there at times.

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Blog #5: The Leaf Rivalry by HTL

You make us proud friend....glad your on our side of the fence.

lamp5-1.jpg....great post.B)

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Great stuff HTL, thoroughly enjoyed reading that.

To reply to BigTed's view though, I'd say that Leafs fans are very dedicated to their team. They continuously sell out and they have the highest ticket prices in the NHL. For a team that hasn't made the playoffs in a while, I'd say they have a very strong fanbase.

It's one thing to sell out your games. It's a whole other to have fans who create atmosphere at your games. Leaf games are full of corporate suits who may well follow the team, but I don't get the same feeling that fans live or die with their team. As I said, if Toronto loses, people complain but they just move on with their lives. In Montreal, you never hear the end of it. For the most part, people are just more invested in the team in Montreal. Sure, if you compare Toronto to a team like Carolina or Phoenix, Toronto wins hands down. Part of the reason for our rivalry is that both cities want to beat the other badly. But there's just no comparison when you look at the breadth of the enthusiasm generated by the entire fan base, not just a select hardcore few.

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