With realignment an eventuality now, it's time that we start focusing on new rivalries-to-be and old rivalries-to-be-renewed. We're reaching out to the fans who know the teams best to get to know more about them and what to expect.
The Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
The Blog: Pension Plan Puppets
The Head-to-Head Record (W-L-T): 334-335-93
The Last Meeting: January 7th, 2012 @TOR (4-3 L)
The Brief History: A rivalry nearly as storied as the Wings/Hawks rivalry, this one cooled down as the teams were separated by the last realignment in 1998. Detroit and Toronto have met in the Stanley Cup finals seven times with Toronto having won six of those matchups. The last time these teams met in the playoffs was 1993, which is also the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup. Of course, that team wasn't Toronto. The Leafs haven't won the Cup since 1967, a fact about which Leafs fans are not at all tired of being reminded.
More recently, the Leafs have owned the Wings lately, winning four out of the last five games these two teams have played.
Roster-wise, Leafs fans will remember our backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson as the guy who used to lose games for them pretty regularly before getting run out of town. Carlo Colaiacovo and Ian White are also former Leafs. There are no former Wings on Toronto's roster, but we can always laugh about the time they signed Brett Lebda. On Purpose!
Getting to know you: Continuing our series on our new Division rivals, we asked Pension Plan Puppets to introduce us to the Leafs and their fans. We asked the same five questions which should help acquaint us with the group. Also, if we're going to be conversing with them, we might want to take heed of their community guidelines. They're one of the most-active communities on the blogosphere; don't kick that hornets' nest unless you're prepared for a shitload of buzzing.
Unfortunately, being terribly busy with other things for the last two weeks, PPP wasn't able to get us his answers. Instead, being as fair and knowledgeable as we are, we answered the questions knowing exactly what Leafs fans would have said anyway. We got Graham, who knows Leafs fans very well being from the Toronto area and having grown up surrounded by them, and we've also got Tyler, who knows everything. I think we captured the answers quite accurately.
1. First off, tell us the most important things we need to know about your team.
Graham: We have an up-and-coming team of young kids paired with a few stars in Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf that could compete for a Cup until management somehow screws it up again. Randy Carlyle is the coach, so it will be like watching a way-less talented version of the Ducks.
Tyler: We are happiest when we are sad. If anything good ever happened to our team, the sheer surprise would catch us so off guard that we would probably die from a diarrhea attack.
2. Who on your team are we going to hate the most?
Graham: Without question it's going to be that superstar who is from Toronto and took less money to have an opportunity to come play for us because who wouldn't want to live out their dream of playing for their hometown team that hasn't won anything in almost 50 years? Except we forgot that a lot of kids growing up in the GTA found other teams to cheer for while we were horrendous.
Tyler: You are going to hate Randy Carlyle the most. Because, even though they don't play for the leafs, he's still going to somehow put Getzlaf and Perry out there for 32 minutes.
3. Why should the Wings fear you?
Graham: We don't have Jonas Gustavsson.
Tyler: HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA /farts
4. What do you fear most about the Wings?
Graham: Nothing, because you have Jonas Gustavsson (seriously, we're obsessed with Gustavsson because he was supposed to be a good goalie but like so many goalies in recent Toronto history turned into a colossal failure so we blame him instead of taking a deep look at our organization's inability to find a goalie who can stop even an average amount of pucks).
Tyler: We fear that this very moment in time is the absolute worst that they are going to be from now until the explosion of the sun.
5. What about the rest of our new division will our fanbases have no problem agreeing on?
Graham: Every fan of the Canadiens is an extra in Walking Dead because they don't need makeup. Boston fans have this whole "being happy because they beat us every time" thing that gets really annoying, but thankfully you don't have to worry about that with Buffalo fans. Ottawa fans are like the less obnoxious version of us, which is weird because their team is actually good and you know what everyone sucks but us.
Tyler: The warm bodies that make up the Montreal fanbase are not to be looked at, fed, or trusted in any way. Unless they're talking about how terrible the Leafs are, in which case be great friends with them! Buy them drinks and be merry.