Original six. Red versus blue. French versus English. Quebec versus Ontario. City of Montreal versus City of Toronto. The team with most Stanley Cups versus the team with the second most. The two biggest fan bases in the National Hockey League, possibly in the world. One of the biggest and longest rivalries in North American pro-sports’ history: The Montreal Canadiens versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. Frank Mahovlich versus Frank Mahovlich. Wait… what?!?
Oh yes, the “Big M” did suit up for both teams, but he’s not alone. Just recently, seeing Tie Domi wearing a Habs’ jersey is something that no one would ever find possible, even less see it happening… at least not until his son Max Domi left the Arizona desert to join one of the league’s true hot beds, in Montreal. And yes, at the displeasure of most Leafs’ fans, Tie did just that. He recently stepped on the Bell Centre’s ice in Montreal wearing not only his son’s number 13 Habs’ jersey, but he was dressed up in full Habs’ gear. And guess what? He was having fun!
Seeing this gave me an idea. Several players, over the years, have worn both the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs’ jersey in their career. So I decided to dig a little bit deeper, do some research to see which players had to change allegiance, playing for the team that they used to hate. And if you talk to Tomas Plekanec, it’s not something that’s easy to do. Even Josh Gorges, when asked to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Leafs, refused to do so, prefering to accept a trade to the Buffalo Sabres instead!
Since anyone can put together a list without much thought, I have chosen to create a roster with a line-up. Those are all players who have worn both the Red-White-Blue and the White-Blue at some point in their career. For this exercise, you will notice that I had to move a few centres to the wing but they were, in my opinion, better than those whom I have cut. Without further ado, here’s your Maple Habs All-Star team:
Shayne Corson – Frank Mahovlich – Gary Leeman
Lucien Deblois – Vincent Damphousse – Russ Courtnall
Darcy Tucker – Doug Gilmour – Mikhail Grabovski
Yanic Perreault – Kirk Muller – Tomas Plekanec
Rob Ramage – Dickie Moore
Mathieu Schneider – Tom Kurvers
Hal Gill – Gaston Gingras
Granted, some of them joined the other team while towards the end of their career but I looked at the names at their peak, not at the time of wearing one jersey or the other. And finally, the other players to wear both uniforms:
|Rick Wamsley||Mike Komisarek||Cesare Maniago||Charlie Sands|
|Sergei Berezin||Michel Larocque||Marc Reaume||Erwin Chamberlain|
|Ric Nattress||Robert Picard||Dick Gamble||Robert Heron|
|Sylvain Lefebvre||Dan Daoust||Noel Price||Gordie Drillon|
|Paul Dipietro||Jeff Brubaker||Bill Sutherland||Rhys Thomson|
|Scott Thornton||Serge Boisvert||Larry Hillman||Paul Bibeault|
|Jonas Hoglund||Bill Kitchen||Larry Mickey||Victor Lynn|
|Gerald Diduck||Larry Landon||Garry Monahan||Bob Dawes|
|Dave Manson||Bill Root||Wayne Thomas||John McCormack|
|Darryl Shannon||Craig Laughlin||George Patterson||Paul Masnick|
|Jyrki Lumme||Gilles Thibaudeau||Bert McCaffrey||Gary Edmunson|
|Chad Kilger||Eddie Litzenberger||Lorne Chabot||Roger Jenkins|
While the Boston Bruins have certainly sneaked their way in as a huge rival to both these teams, there’s no denying that the Canadiens and Maple Leafs rivalry is still alive and well and with both teams starting to get competitive at the same time, it won’t take much to reignite a fire that’s been smoltering below surface for too long.
And last but not least, I leave you with this classic story from Roch Carrier. No, can you imagine a playoffs’ series between the two teams? It would be insane! Go Habs Go!