The Forever Rivals and the Yankees of Hockey

Since the Habs and Leafs are both going to miss the playoffs, emboldening Leaf fans to the point where it’s okay to start another rivalry pissing war, I feel it’s time for the age old argument. Which of these historic rivals can truly be called “the Yankees of hockey”.
They each hold a fair claim.

The Montreal Canadiens are the 24 time Stanley Cup champions. In the United States, when you think hockey, you think French Canadians. In the same manner Yankee fans think of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle, Canadiens fans think of Maurice Richard, Howie Morenz, Jean Beliveau, and Guy Lafleur.

But, what about the attitudes towards the team? I’ve read Americans, not fully understanding the Canadian hockey culture, acting as if the Habs are seen the same way as the Yankees, but even fans of the Montreal Canadiens have to admit, the Maple Leafs are the team seen most like the Yankees.

The Maple Leafs, the team with the most Hall of Famers, have a more national audience than the Canadiens. The Canadiens have an obsessive fan base that loves them in Quebec like no other. This is more similar to the Boston Red Sox, who have a massive fan base inside of New England. Both have scattered fans across the country, but the national audience, if for no other reason than they’re the English speaking team, belongs to the Leafs.

Richard, Beliveau, and Lafleur are stars inside of Quebec, but they always shared the spotlight with Ted Kennedy, Dave Keon, and Darryl Sittler. As a Leaf fan, here’s something that it kills me to admit: Richard, Beliveau, and Lafleur were ALL better than any of Kennedy, Keon, and Sittler. But they were seen in the same light, and shared the spot as national heroes because the Leafs are more popular.

There’s also the factor involving the farm boy living in the middle of nowhere. Like the kid growing up to a single dad on a Native Reserve in Lincoln, Nebraska, who grows up dreaming of playing for the New York Yankees, or the kid growing up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, idolizing Dave Winfield, the kid on a farm in Saskatchewan wants to be a Toronto Maple Leaf. Ya, sure, at every road hockey game there’s some kid wearing a Habs jersey (a lot of the time playing goal, and all of the time, facing a swift punch in the jaw from me), but the team that transcends the game, the team that is seen as Prime Time, or the Show, like no other, has to be the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The other attitude towards the Leafs that they share with the Yankees is the hatred. Like the Yankees, if you don’t love the Toronto Maple Leafs, you loathe them. You hate them. You hate their fans. Curtis Joseph was a choking slob. Gary Roberts and Wendel Clark were vicious goons. Mats Sundin was a soft, glorified second liner. You loved when Roenick sent it top shelf on Belfour, and when Martin Gelinas tossed it through Curtis Joseph’s legs, and you laughed when Bryan McCabe knocked the puck into his own net. You’re tired of hearing about Gretzky’s high stick, and you are tired of seeing Pat Quinn… anywhere.

So, I leave it up to you. The readers of HTR. I can’t give an opinion. We know that. I’ve been a Leaf fan since I can remember. I cried when Clark retired, I laughed when Nieuwendyk threw it through Lalime’s legs, and I loved the 82nd game in 2007. But, the comment section is a home of bias like any other sports forum. So, I invite you to come to your own conclusions, and rave. Some will defend me. I’ll get at least a dozen replies of “OMG WTF HOW COOD U SEY DAT! HABS R SOW MECH BETTAR!” That’s okay. That’s what this debate is for.

For, I’m LeafyMcLeaf


137 Responses to The Forever Rivals and the Yankees of Hockey

  1. reinjosh says:

    well aparently you the dumb fan
    because if im correct, antropov has more points than any of those players and has more skill
    any smart fan would rather have a big player that can score (antropov) than a career thrid liner (latendresse) who is constantly disappointing and the kostityns
    and the reason that montreal is better is because they have 5 all stars and and a bevy of other very good young players (something i wont deny) yet they still find ways to almost miss the playoffs and they will miss the playoffs
    and apparently your team has trouble beating the leafs, a team that has no talent according to you
    stop being the stupid habs fan and start talking sense
    at least toronto fans know they suck and that we wont make the playoffs and likely wont next year

  2. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    LOL. Can you also post the winning lotto numbers before Saturday's draw?

    I'll even give you a 50-50 split!

    What a joke of a post.

    Someone already said it, so far the Habs are in the playoffs, in spite of the fact that they've played really bad hockey for 2 months.

  3. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    "It would be gramatically incorrect"

    You misspelled "grammatically".


    But you ARE funny!

  4. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    "There are always 20,000 drunk idiot referees at the Bell Center who can't get a single call correctly."

    WOW! I hope the 1 to 18 year old crowd isn't drinking and driving after the game!

  5. HabsMakeYouWhine says:

    stfu fag u should marry a leaf player since u have the ontario all ober ur ass

  6. HabsMakeYouWhine says:

    wow u should maybe shut it when u say Even more retarded are the riots that occur. Even worse is when the boo the national anthems of other nations

    MMMM ***** U wow why u dont talk about all this big chhesy farmer in the us with their usa usa usa,or canada suck and blablabla,i dont think an american can more here and cry cauz their got booo pathetic

  7. the_word says:

    Dude, you’re trying to make an appeal to reason with someone who has the handle ‘Antropovsucksitoldyouso’, you’re not going to overcome that bias. In fact, with that handle everything he posts is redundant, even if Antropov were to win the Art Ross he’d still take issue with him.

  8. hockey_lover says:

    That was pretty much my point, which he missed.

    I honestly didnt expect an answer outside of "you're a retard" so Im actually impressed regardless.

  9. Stuv_Dogg says:

    Dammit!  My spelling is atrocious since the invent of spell checker.  Now I can blast any old crap into my computer but the spell checker will sort it all out, and that's all fine and dandy until there is no spell checker.

    Ah well.  You win some, you lose some.  But I am glad that you're amused by my prattlings.

  10. leafy says:

    How about that Cujo?  Just like old times the other night.  He's also getting the start tonight against the Sabres.

    Also that referee must be blind for allowing that late goal by Washington.  Gerber was clearly pushed into the net, which is illegal.  The infuriating part is that the referee was right there…and still missed it!!!  Incompetent refs.  Imagine if that happened in an important playoff game.

  11. leafy says:

    Check this out.  Burke may have something cooking to land a Tavares or Hedman.

    Although it's going to be a tall order to entice other GMs to surrender a lottery pick, don't write it off completely.  Cox makes some interesting points in this article.

  12. leafy says:

    Mojo, and other Leaf fans, don't debate with Antropov-crap.  I tried it once and he gave me a headache.

  13. LeafsNation91 says:

    Go mojo!

  14. LeafsNation91 says:

    Go mojo!

  15. LeafsNation91 says:

    Wouldn't it be easier to trade if Toronto was in the sixth region? Their close, but come on lose some games. To many wins can axe that idea.

  16. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    Yeah 9 points in 11 games since the trade deadline as well as putting up more goals than anyone in Montreal and only 5 less points than Markov and more points than the rest of your sorry excuse of a team. Just realize when you diss Antropov you are dissing your entire team. Face it Antropov is on pace for 60 points like I've said he will be a 60+ point player and if he doesn't slump like this season he will have even more. Plus he has some actual passion unlike any of your Canadiens. If he had started off on the habs you would be worshipping him like you do every player your organization brings in.

  17. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    Latendresse has played like crap since his rookie season. Andrei Kostitsyn is decent but while he gets to play with Koivu, Kovalev, and Tanguay, Antropov has been playing with guys like Ponikarovsky and Stajan most of the season and has more goals AND 15 more points this season. Sergei Kostitsyn is a punk and a 3rd liner right now and needs to learn to grow up.
    The habs are higher in the standings because they've gotten off to a good start and had better goaltending for the first half of the season. Then Price folded under pressure, Halak played well for about 5 games then faltered. And the team that was getting by on goaltending got exposed for what they are, an average team with no heart.

    If you ask any unbiased fan who has been the better team since the all-star break you will no doubt learn it's the leafs, who went from the bottom of the standings to only 3 points out of 10th while the Habs went from being sure shots for the playoffs to a team that is only 2 points ahead of the Panthers. The only chance the habs will have to show off their skills in the spring is showing off how well they can golf!

  18. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    HAHAHA you just used habs fan and sense in the same sentence! That's a laugh!

  19. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    Yeah, 15 years is VERY recent. lmao and THIS TEAM IS AS CLOSE AS EVER TO CHALLENGE FOR THE CUP?? Wow you know your future is bright when a team that may not even make the playoffs is considered a real contender for the cup.

    BTW smartest fans?  Thanks I needed a good laugh, this coming from a guy who thinks Latendresse is a really good, skilled forward. 😉

  20. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    Dando knows NOTHING about hockey, you have some knowledge and when you actually use it you're a good guy to debate with, but Dando has NOTHING to offer. He thinks Latendresse is the next Neely. He thinks the Kostitsyns are worth Kane and Toews. Just because he's one of you doesn't mean he deserves for you to defend him.

  21. ranger_fan says:

    I can't understand what you just said. Are you stereotyping the American Dairy man? in the great plains? where hockey is nothing more than the University of Nebraska and Jed Ortmeyer? Are you like 12?

  22. ranger_fan says:

    Most people under 18 can't afford to go to the Bell Center. I'll revise and say 16,000. Acceptable?

  23. LeafsNation91 says:

    LMAO. I dunno if you're sarcastic but he did tell me his eleven turning twelve.

  24. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    For once I agree with you on something.

  25. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    I thought you said you were a Nucks fan, now your a sens fan?

  26. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    Do the world a favor and shut the f*** up

  27. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    Wow you made another hilarious insult (I hope you see the sarcasm here.)

    You couldn't even be original and make your own fart joke or something here? You really had to make an insult off of another guys already lame insult?

  28. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    Did he say he was hanging out with him? I don't remember reading that, buddy's dad is probably just one of those street ho's and that's his only way to make a buck [ or in this case two 😉 ]

  29. ranger_fan says:

    lol. I think I am just amazing, that's all. I don't read enough posts to know people too well.

  30. Joe_Pass says:

    What’s this place? Kindergarden? I recommend regular exercise, self-introspection and an active sex life.

  31. mojo19 says:

    You're right leafy, but I'm not debating with him, I'm just stating the facts. You know – facts, Something foreign to mr.opinion over there.

    and thanks Leaf91 😉

  32. mojo19 says:

    Thanks for the link. And its true the Leafs are in good hands at the draft, Burke definitely has a history of being a very active guy on draft day. i wouldn't be surprised to see him make some moves.

    What would it take if we end up with let's say the 8th pick overall?

    I think this year it might involve accepting some bad contracts back from teams in financial distress, along with giving up assets. But it would be worth it in the long run.

  33. nordiques100 says:

    but wouldnt cox be hypocritical if the leafs moved their 2 seconds and their 1st and maybe other futures to move up in the draft?

    afterall, he ripped into fletch for doing that to get schenn.

    clearly he has a hate for the silver fox but its weird how badly he sucks up to burke.

  34. Rico420 says:

    Based on the fact that in the same article Cox calls Gerber an idiot and say's that he is sick of whining Leaf fans..makes me wonder..

    is Damien Cox Plekanec from this site??

  35. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    It didn't really matter what number you plugged in, the mere fact that you're generalizing negates any point you're trying to make.

    You should watch some games played in Montreal, a lot of people bring their kids.

    Don't let your hate for the Habs cloud your judgment.

  36. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    Not to mention fibre. Some posters seem to be constipated.

  37. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    "My spelling is atrocious since the invent of spell checker"

    I think you may have wanted to say "advent" of spell checker.

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