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07-28-2006, 03:18 AM
  #30
tinyzombies
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: LA via Montreal
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I hate the Leafs, but there's no game I'd rather watch the Habs play than against Toronto. Love that stuff.

Boston is next.

I don't like the Devils either.

Just read an interesting bit in Larry Robinson's autobiography. He describes the Original Six rivalry as Montreal, Toronto, Detroit and the rest. It was either Montreal-Toronto or Montreal-Detroit. The other three teams were considered the lower tier. Montreal and Toronto were the only Canadian teams for the longest time. The entire country had to pick one or the other, but after the realignment, the rivarly died in the 70s and did not resume until the late 90s when Toronto shifted over to the Northeast Division.

In the late 60s and the 70s, the Big Bad Bruins became our main rival, then the Flyers (whom Robinson said were a*******). He said the Canadiens respected the Bruins those years. They were good guys who played tough, but rarely dirty (except Schmautz and Lineseman later on). The "French Connection" Sabres briefly became a rival in the mid-70s as well, but Robinson says Montreal's loss to Buffalo in '75 was just bad luck. They blew them out 7-0 and 8-2 in two games, but lost four extremely close games to lose the series.

The Islanders became a rival in the last part of the 70s, but Montreal was just too strong. The 1979 finals were supposed to be Islanders-Canadiens, but the Rangers upset the Isles in the semis. Dryden talks about the Islanders in "The Game" too. They were the up-and-comers and the Habs were starting to show wear-and-tear.

In the 1980s, it was the Quebec Nordiques, of course. Robinson said they played dirty also, but that it was because of the press build-up. I think the Habs players and Nords buried the hatchet after the Good Friday brawl, though the rivalry was still intense. The Habs and Oilers had a bit of a rivalry going too - one-sided though it was. Also, they rarely played. There were also minor rivalries with Hartford and Buffalo. But the 80s where all about the Nordiques and the Bruins.

The 90s continued to be the Bruins until the Nordiques finally became good again. Then it was the Leafs again in the late 90s. The Bruins and Leafs have been the big two with a minor rivalry with Ottawa on the side.

That's how I understand it. From the Americans I know... Boston fans hate us the most. We've beaten them so often in the playoffs that they hold a grudge. Leafs fans don't like us, but that's only because of our legacy. Most of them don't remember all the beatings we laid on them (they they got us in the 60s and 40s too).

Would be sweet to see a seven game Montreal-Toronto series I tellya.

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