Limo Driver on the Street

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Working Class Howard gives us another glimpse into the life of the proletariat today with a story about his limo ride from the airport to his hotel in Montreal. Howard was even kind enough to share his blog with a fellow member of the unwashed masses, his Limousine Driver, who seems to have memorized all the talking points required to get a job in the Toronto sports media:

"...It doesn't seem like it ever changes in Toronto. The Leafs are always bad. Every year, it's the same thing. The Canadiens haven't won the Stanley Cup for the longest time, but we usually have a respectable team here. And, if it's bad for a few years, it gets good really fast. In your city, it doesn't seem to matter. You have an awful team, year after year, but that arena is filled every night. Don't the people care?"

It is clear that Working Class Howard's Limousine Driver and myself have a much different idea of what respectable means, and I don't recall the Leafs having a bad team "year after year". No matter what Cox, Simmons, Berger, Habs fans, random people on the street, the Woz, and everyone else try to tell us, Leafs fans can actually remember that the team has been pretty good over the last decade plus. Good enough to win the Cup? Unfortunately not, but if we were to pick an arbitrary number of seasons...say 13, in honour of our hopefully-soon-to-be-departed (but still-beloved) Captain...we would see that the Leafs have been relatively successful, especially compared to our "usually respectable" friends to the east.

Let me explain.

In 1993, the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. Many Leafs fans believe that if it weren't for Kerry Fraser, the Leafs would have defeated the Habs for the Cup. I'm not one of those fans. The way Patrick Roy was playing, no one was beating the Habs that year. However, since 1993, the last time one of these great rivals hoisted the Cup, here is how things have gone:

Montreal Canadiens
  • 453 regular season wins
  • Qualified for the playoffs seven times
  • Winners of three playoff rounds
  • Zero trips past second round of playoffs
Toronto Maple Leafs
  • 498 regular season wins
  • Qualified for the playoffs nine times
  • Winners of nine playoff rounds
  • Appeared in three Conference Finals
Admittedly, this sample begins the year after the Habs won the Stanley Cup and doesn't include this season, which will boost some of those numbers for the Habs. But, to rebut the original point made by Working Class Howard's Limousine Driver, if the Leafs have been awful every year, the Habs have been an absolute disgrace. Sure we suck now, and the Habs are doing well, but it isn't like we've been blindly cheering on a bunch of basement dwellers all these years. Unfortunately, we haven't won a cup in more than forty years, and that is the ammunition the fans of other teams and the local reporters are going to use.

Did I mention the local reporters? Of course I did, because Howard wasn't content to just let his Limousine Driver take shots at Leafs fans. He had to get in on the act too:

And, that's the essence of it, in a nutshell. Leaf followers are the champion of two-faced sports fans. They bitch and moan and curse at their team; even cheering for the opposition as in the late stages of the Florida massacre Tuesday night. But, they have no capacity to offer meaningful resistence. Like sheep, they mindlessly flock to the arena every hockey night, in every disastrous season.

Champion of two-faced sports fans? Sheep? Mindlessly flocking? Pot Brownies? WTFFFFF?

The moral of this story, The Tale of Working Class Howard and His Limousine Driver, seems to be that Habs fans should be applauded for being a bunch of front-runners (which I don't actually think they are), and Leafs fans should be ashamed for supporting their team through thick and thin and thinner and severe cases of anorexia.

I will never understand this. The Boston Red Sox didn't win championship for 86 years, yet their fans stayed loyal to the team through years of heartbreak and humiliating punishment that we are only beginning to understand as Leafs fans.

When the suffering of those dedicated fans was finally rewarded with a World Series victory in 2004, the media didn't call them a bunch of fucking idiots for standing by their team all those barren years. No, everyone seemed to be rooting for the Red Sox that year. Romantic-comedies were produced, celebrating the obsessive loyalty of the Boston faithful. Books were written. Afflecks weren't mocked. Tearful stories were told of old men, born in 1918, dying the day after the Yankees hammered the Sox in game three to take what seemed like an insurmountable lead in the ALCS, never to see their team win the World Series.

People felt sorry for Red Sox fans. They admired their loyalty.

We will never be seen with sympathy. Somehow, we have the stigma of Yankees fans, without the reward of winning lots of championships. Whatever. I'm not ashamed, no matter how much Working Class Howard and his Limousine Driver think I should be.


clark4calder said:

Thanks for this Kim. This is my number 1 beef with Toronto sports media (all sports media really, but I live in Toronto and am a fan of Toronto sports teams).

The attitude of "we are smarter than you". After years of having no outlet for this frustration, other than my angst-filled personal diaries, we now have blogs like yours and others. Places where we can prove that, not only are they not smarter than us, but we (the sheep) are smarter than them.

Sure, we're mindless sheep who mindlessly root for our team no matter how crapulent they may be. But who exactly is it that writes the breathless articles praising the players and the organization when the team does well? Who makes the comparisons between the greats of years past and the new stars when they string together a few good games?

The same m.f.ers who write the above quoted pap. It makes me sick.

That feels better ;)


PPP said:

Sorry Kim, No Stanley Cups = basement dwelling for Toronto. You can't convince me otherwise ;)

Just kidding. Why can't we be lovable losers? I don't know any fans have as prick-ish as the Yankee fans that fill the Rogers Centre in the summer. Hell, the average anti-Leafs fan is a bigger dick than the average Leaf fan.

One of life's great mysteries right up there with how they get the caramel into the caramilk bar and why the senators will always choke in the playoffs.

Steve said:

I 100% agree. It seems only Mike Myers wants to make a movie about the Leafs winning - although, now that I think of it, I'd take a Myers-movie team over a Fallon-movie team any day of the week.

Also in 100% agreement with the last point you make. Like how at the recent Leafs/Caps game, some dude in a Washington jersey is standing and declaring the Cup for the Capitals in '09. Never mind the fact that a) the Leafs and the Capitals are tied in the 2009 standings, and b) they're the Capitals, no one's really dumping on this guy for rooting for his team (mocking, maybe, but not maliciously). How much beer and pretzel salt would a Leafs fan's sweater absorb if he stood up in Montreal (or pretty well any other city) and did something similar?
It's that theory that's now too obvious to be doubted: Who would you like to see win the Cup, in order? Most Leaf fans would say: First the Leafs, then the other Canadian teams (some would exclude the Sens), the American teams, then maybe the Wings/Devils/Sens (and increasingly rarely, the Habs) you'd put at the bottom.
Ask any other Canadian hockey fan, and they'll say: First their team, then the other Canadian teams, then the American teams, then whoever their team has a rivalry with, then the ex-girlfriend who made them leave the great apartment, then the high school bully, then the Bell Telephone customer service representatives, then Osama bin Laden, then, if they're feeling generous, the Leafs.

And why? Is it because we win every year and are all smug about it? Is it because we fans routinely dump on every other team in the league? Is it lingering jealousy over past dynasty status? I'm not sure of the answer, but I'm pretty sure it can't be any of these. I guess it's just as the limo driver said: that there's a unique devotion to a team that hasn't rewarded its fans with a championship in a long time, and "outsiders" don't understand that. I suspect that this attitude is held predominantly by non-real hockey fans, people who think a team is only worth cheering for if they're the best team in the league. Our loyalty is famous, so even non-fans are aware of it and are therefore able to mock it. I bet if you talked to a die-hard fan of any other team, you wouldn't hear "why do you cheer so devotedly for such a crappy team?". You might hear "Leafs suck", but that's normal - so does their team.

cob said:

bang on!

You're an idiot said:

A web site about bad sports writers? You're a joke. Is that why Berger gets paid as a professional why you still live with your parents? You missed the point completely and it probably explains why you don't have a job. Berger is talking about morons like you and the millions of Leaf fans that refuse to stop going to the games because this team sucks. People are happy with them being good, being great isn't a requirement. Dryden said it best, hockey in Toronto is a habit. And I said it best when I said, you're a dumbass.

Great freakin' post. I've been saying this for years, the Leafs have been a damn competitive team for the last 10 years or so. Top 5 or 6 in wins in the bloody league. Yet all we do is get pissed on.

And the parallel to the Red Sox is a beauty, and makes complete sense. We're not even half way to 86 years, and we're still getting pissed on. Why? Because people are stupid, that's why.

I'm not ashamed either. Say it loud and proud, brother. It's times like these - when we have super pathetic teams and super pathetic players, like The Woz - that will make my Stanley Cup celebration even better. It's these tough times that will make winning it all that much sweeter.

We shall overcome.

And fcuk the Habs.

Junior said:

...Afflecks weren't mocked.

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

As an aside, it is possible that Howard is right - but for the wrong reasons. Maybe we are a bunch of fucking idiots - for putting up with brainless twaddle about the Leafs offered up day after day by useless douches like WCH.

MZ said:

You know, whether or not guys like Berger (or Cox, for that matter) know hockey, they're not fans and probably never have been, for any team, ever. Because of the Total Leaf Media Coverage(TM), every limo driver and sportswriter "knows" that
- The Leafs suck
- They're controlled by a faceless corporate machine that doesn't want to win as long as it makes money
- Leaf fans are idiots who reward the corporate machine by filling the arena every game to see a crappy team
... and piss on us while they pledge their undying love for the Patriots, the Celtics, and the Yankees.

And you know, I can think of one limo driver that will be flying a Leafs flag from his window when the Leafs do eventually win the Cup.

But I'll enjoy it a lot more.

Kim Jorn said:

Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to apologize for the delay in getting your comments posted around here. Godd and I have to approve every comment that goes on the site, mostly because we can't figure out how to change the settings to allow comments to appear immediatelly, but also because we get some spam comments for some pretty vile shit. We don't edit or censor any comments as long as they are related to the post, Leafs, sports, Jays, whatever.

If we can find a way to filter the comments so that only the blog related ones appear immediately, we will try to do so. You would think it shouldn't be a problem since I don't have a job and I live in my parents basement, but I'm also a dumbass, which would explain why I can't figure it out.

Varry Galk said:

Kim, excellent post. Your very best, I think.

Did anyone else read DC Talk today, when he encouraged the Leafs to try to lose games by 9 or 10 goals in order to help with the lottery? Somebody should whisper to Cox that the standings don't reflect margin of defeat.

I do have one bone to pick with you, Kim, and that is with your no-edit-no-censor policy. Why not edit and censor? Why publish comments from people who call you a dumbass while supporting Berger and using the word "why" instead of "while"? Hell, I'd censor anyone for using the word "Alfredsson" as something other than an expletive.

I enjoy this site, both for its writing and for its role as a sanctuary from the pathetically obsessive Leaf haters and the tired media memes. We want an echo chamber. GIVE US AN ECHO CHAMBER!!!

HF10 said:

If I may, as a Hab fan who has spent the majority of his life in Toronto or under its media umbrella: I think many non-Leaf fans remember the days when Ballard would throw open MLG's doors, and the fans would pour in and spend spend spend, woeful team or not. There was a constant "yeah, I wish we were better ... but I love them so much!" feel to Leaf fans in that era, and I think that stigma remains. Witness this season ... while there are a number of sites claiming "this is the last straw", "blow it up" and the like, a Leaf ticket is still impossible to get a hold of. Montrealers love their team but will voice their disapproval of management, ownership and the players on the ice by withholding their money. When the Corey/Houle/Tremblay Habs stumbled, the fans damn well let them know changes were necessary and ownership listened. I think that Ballard, Stavros and now MLSE don't ever receive that message.

As for the Red Sox comparison, the whole "1918" mystique is a myth. Up until 1967, the Sox weren't a great draw at all. 1967 was their "impossible dream" team that went worst to first and reignited the fans. That being said, the Sox have have very few down years since, and live in the shadow of the Yankees and until recently, "The Curse", Bucky Dent, Buckner et al. It made for a far more romantic story than the Leafs, who probably have more in common with a team like the Cubs (whose fans also take flack for their loyalty to a franchise that sometimes doesn't seem to care about winning.)

Fred Isher said:

Great, great post Kim. A comment and a question:

Why do those who charge Kerry Fraser cost the Leaves a trip to the finals never point out that Fraser's non-call on Gretzky came in Game 6, and the Leaves lost Game 7 all by themselves?

As the head of the Montreal bureau, I agree with your objective analysis of our records -- neither team has covered itself in glory since 1993, with the Leaves enjoying an edge in accomplishments during that time. But cheering for God's team is not about logic or rationality; if you have to ask why le bleu, blanc et rouge is superior, you'd never understand the answer.

PPP said:

MZ is right. When (and I mean, someday it HAS to happen right?!?!?) the Leafs win the Cup it will mean so much more to those of us that bled blue and white through the troubles and you can bet I'll be going after any bandwagoners with a baseball bat.

As an aside, it is possible that Howard is right - but for the wrong reasons. Maybe we are a bunch of fucking idiots - for putting up with brainless twaddle about the Leafs offered up day after day by useless douches like WCH.

If they did a study of attitudes towards these writers I bet the newspapers would be shocked. DC Talk and WCH don't get big hits because people have to read them. They get hits because Leaf fans want to see what their latest idiotic thoughts are and anti-Leaf fans want to have their feeble-minded thoughts echoed.

And it's funny that WCH's mom knows how to use the internet. Way to defend the mittenstringers! Next you can tell us about how the Taliban are misunderstood.

Kim Jorn said:

Hey HF10,

I agree with you about Leafs Nation being closer to Cubs fans than Red Sox fans, but even in that example Cubs fans are still seen by many as loveable losers, while Leafs fans are heaped with scorn. If the Cubs ever right the ship, I imagine they will be getting the '04 Red Sox treatment when they make it to a WS.

Since we're playing the comparison game...I've always thought Newcastle FC are worthy of mentioning. Haven't won squat since the 60s, like to bringing aging heros back when they're well past their prime, and a loyal fanbase that gets ridiculed by fans of every other team. Sounds like the blue and white to me.

HF10 said:


I think a lot of it has to do with Cubs fans themselves, who adopted the "Loveable Losers" persona all on their own. I don't know many Leafs fans who revel in being also-rans. Leaf fans want to win and sometimes their expectations are higher than the reality. I think that's what makes the non-Leaf fans resent them. Newcastle is a good comparison; I guess that probably makes Manchester City the Cubs, right?

Kim Jorn said:

City = LA Clippers

PPP said:

At least Man City got to relegate Manchester United in the 70s. Newcastle is a good comparison right now although before the lockout in that 13 year run the Leafs were more like Liverpool. Lots of great history fading further and further away, willing to make big moves to try to win, fans always thought that if things broke their way they had a shot at the title, and ultimately, the lost out to better, more evil teams.

PPP said:

Why do those who charge Kerry Fraser cost the Leaves a trip to the finals never point out that Fraser's non-call on Gretzky came in Game 6, and the Leaves lost Game 7 all by themselves?

Leaving the HILARIOUS mispelling of the Leafs' name aside, yeah, the Leafs lost game 7 all by themselves.

Kim - I have to disagree. I see your Patrick Roy and I raise you an unstoppable Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark is his pomp. It would have been a lot closer than the Kings series if only because the Habs wouldn't have received an illegal stick gift in Game 2.

Fred Isher said:

Leaving the HILARIOUS mispelling of the Leafs' name aside

Hey, when you're jousting with supporters of a team that includes Darcy Mothertrucker, you gots to get in all the cheap shots possible.

Godd Till said:

Wow, as a Leafs and City fan I'm feeling pretty low today (never mind the staggeringly original barbs thrown our way - although I imagine a guy named "you're an idiot" doesn't get a lot of callbacks for interviews either). City, at least, are having a good season, bankrolled by a dictator a hair less evil than Richard Peddie.

Fred, we did lose to the Kings in Game 7, but it is a game often referred to, by Gretzky and others, as the best game he ever played. Tough to pin that one on the Buds. Game 6 was our chance to finish them off, and we were robbed of that chance.

And PPP, careful with the Yankees barbs- if you look into that sea of pink Jeter tees at the Dome this season you might just see Kim.

Davel Patsyuk said:

Correction Godd,

I'm pretty sure that Kim would be the guy wearing the pink A-Rod tee(drenched in beer and pretzel salt no doubt!)

Varry Galk said:

You know, something else struck me about this idiotic WCH column. Tickets to the Panthers game, which were purchased by supposed sheep like us, would have been completely sold out back in September. You know, September -- when a guy named Howard Berger had predicted to all of us sheep that the Leafs would make the playoffs?!?

I suppose Berger might make the lame retort that fans should trash their pricey tickets and make a "statement" by not showing up to the game. The thing is, some of us actually enjoy hockey for the sporting event, not just for the ability to condescend.

Ah, but WCH might say, what are the odds that you'd see a good sporting event at a Leafs game? After all, they haven't turned in a good performance since...uh, Saturday, when they destroyed frickin' Ottawa.

stoeten said:

Wow. You guys really don't like Howard Berger around here and yet seem reasonably intelligent. That's really confusing. But less so when I see that you're actually aspiring to be lovable losers and not quite understanding what's wrong with that. And that you dig at Howard for his condescension as you derisively call him "Working Class Howard". And that you don't understand why there wouldn't be the same sympathy for small market underdogs with a history of heartbreak like the Red Sox as there is for the team from the hated "centre of the universe" whose owners treat the fan-base with as much contempt as the fans feel smug entitlement. And that you seem to be attempting to convince yourselves of how great you're sure the Leafs have really been in the last decade in a half. And that you've come to think a couple of modest runs in the playoffs on the back of a gigantically imbalanced payroll (with help from Patrick Lalime) is somehow worthy of appreciation. And that you've completely missed Berger's point about Habs fans-- which isn't that they should be applauded for being front runners, but that they should be applauded for going away when the team was as bad as the Leafs are now! And that you're proudly unashamed of your unwavering support of the Blue and White when it's painfully clear that what has allowed the Leafs to languish through these forty years of mediocrity is exactly that!

Well, I guess you've really got a lot going against you, now that I think of it.

OK, we get it. You like the Leafs and can articulate yourselves somewhat. You're not morons. But that doesn't mean Howard isn't completely bang on. Actually, I think you've kind of shown exactly how he is. Funny.

Nice blog, though.

Varry Galk said:

Wait -- the Red Sox are "small market underdogs," while the Leafs had a "gigantically imbalanced payroll"?


Paul D said:

Small market team like the Red Sox? Maybe you should stick to hockey analysis...

Speaking of which, let's be honest. Leafs fans can and do stand up loudly in other arenas. The difference between them and the Capitals fans is that the Leafs fans are half the frigging stadium. This is one reason I hate the Yankees and Red Sox, and explains why people hate the Leafs, I think. Imagine going to a Leaf game, in Toronto, where the Senators were being cheered as much as the Leafs. I can see how that would foster resentment (and yes, I know that it doesn't make sense to hate the Leafs because your city won't support it's team. That's how it works though).

Godd Till said:

So if we get condescending praise for our intelligence from a guy who thinks calling Eric Hinske "Shitske" is the height of drollery, should I be offended or complimented? Living in a world where the Red Sox are scrappy underdogs and making the conference finals is meaningless has me so confused.

Kim Jorn said:

"But less so when I see that you're actually aspiring to be lovable losers and not quite understanding what's wrong with that."

Truthfully, I don't want to be considered a lovable loser. I'd rather be hated than pitied. All I wanted to know is why the Leafs are viewed one way, while other teams with long histories of failure are viewed so differently. You seem to have an opinion as to why, and you are entitled to it, as much I may disagree.

"And that you've completely missed Berger's point about Habs fans-- which isn't that they should be applauded for being front runners, but that they should be applauded for going away when the team was as bad as the Leafs are now!"

We (the royal we, the editorial we) know the Leafs are a mess and have been for a while. I'm not an idiot. The problem I have is with people like Berger and Cox, who blame the fans for what is happening. A boycott is impossible. Every once in while this issue gets raised, but I can't be bothered to join in the conversation because I am positive that it won't work. Not when there are thousands of people waiting to scoop up the tickets from frustrated season ticket holders who have decided they have had enough. Not when a night at the ACC is the go-to wine and dine option, and only a quick limo ride down Bay Street. And Howard Berger knows this, which is why I have a problem with him taking shots at people like me, and why it is bullshit to criticize fans of this team for not walking out of the arena when the team is shit. The majority of fans aren't in the building.

Should we stop buying the shirts? Turn off the TV? Start cheering for the Sens? Stop reading the papers? Well, maybe that last one would help, but as for the rest of it...we're fans. We support our team. It isn't logical, and probably isn't beneficial to the team's or our own well-being, but it is a disease that many of us catch as kids and never seem to shake. I can't imagine not watching and cheering for the Leafs. I'm sick. Even now, when I'm hoping they tank the rest of the season and strip the team of its few assets by the end of February, I still find myself jumping from the couch when Mats scores the winning goal in the last minute of the game. I still get smile when Tucker pots an empty netter to seal the win against the Habs. I can't help it, and I'm not going to apologize for it.

"You're not morons. But that doesn't mean Howard isn't completely bang on. Actually, I think you've kind of shown exactly how he is. Funny."

We both seem to agree that Howard is funny, but for different reasons, I imagine. Fine. Howard has his opinions, lots of people get to hear them, and quite a few of people seem to agree with him. There also happens to be quite a few people who disagree. I'm one of them, some of the time (other times, I think he does a better job than most of covering the Leafs), but when he writes something that pisses me off, I'm going to call him on it. Mr. Till and I started this blog to try and fight some of this hopelessness we feel as Leafs fans, and to vent our anger at what we see as intellectual dishonesty, disregard of the facts, and baiting of the fans that fills the pages and the airwaves in Toronto. Judging from the response to this post, and the content of many other blogs and the comments on Howard's own post, there seems to be a quite a few people who agree with us. Obviously some people disagree, but that doesn't mean our frustration isn't justified.

MZ said:

To continue piling-on Stoeten up there...

Well, it IS true that I've long pitied the fact that the Boston Red Sox have languished in near-total obscurity over their championship drought on account of their tiny market size. I mean, really - who's heard of the Red Sox? But I'm not sure about the "contempt of the owners" part. It implies that there's some guy somewhere wearing a monocle and puffing on a cigar, saying "screw the fans, I'm rich!". The problem for both Leaf fans and for your argument is that there's no owner, per se. There's a board, made up of different interests, that's in charge of managing all the many and diverse affairs of MLSE. If there WAS a contemptuous owner, we'd have a better target, I think, than the diffuse Ferguson/Peddie/Tanenbaum cloud - because even Peddie answers to the board.

I'm also not sure about the "smug entitlement" part. What Leaf fan is smug about the Leafs? To what do we feel entitled?
To a chamionship? Maybe, but what fan of any team would say "you know, I'd really rather we DIDN'T win this year. We, as fans, don't deserve it"? For that matter, what fans DO deserve it? Fans like those of the Habs, who (as you point out) would rather not go see their team at all if their team isn't winning?

Enter the Red Sox comparison - some fans do deserve a championship, like the hardcore 86-year-old Red Sox fan who finally got to see his team win the big one. And yet are those fans universally dumped on by the national media for supporting a team with a span between championships that's over twice as long as that of the Leafs? I agree with Steve above there - the dumping-on comes from people who have no idea what it's like to be a fan, and that a diehard fan of any team, sure, would still tell us that the Leafs suck, but they'd say it with respect.

More than any of that, though, is how ridiculously unfair it is for guys like you and Berger to blame the fans. Teams like the Leafs and the Red Sox have real fans, and there's no getting around that. It's why, as Kim Jorn rightly points out, a boycott won't work. If Leaf fans as a species survived the asteroid impact of the '80s, we'll survive this season. But don't you dare suggest that it's because we won't flick some internal switch and abandon a losing team (a trait in Habs fans that you applaud) that we have a losing team. It's not our fault that there's been some serious bungling at the management level. It's not our fault when players get injured. Losing 8-0 to the Panthers was in no way our fault.
It's a lot like when Berger decided to remind us all of the fleeting nature of life and how in the grand scheme of things, the Leafs aren't that important. I guess that's true, but you're kind of biting the hand that feeds, aren't you, Howard? It's our love of the game in general and the team in particular that gives Berger his audience and therefore his job. Calling us crazy for caring about the Leafs when there's cancer in the world and calling us stupid for caring about the Leafs so much that we're making them lose is crazy and stupid of him, because if we conclude he's right, he'll have to move to Chicago.

Varry Galk said:

Slow clap for MZ. Well said.

In other mittenstringer news, I was wondering in which direction DC Talk would go when the Leafs disappointed him by winning last night. I thought he'd go all "there goes Stamkos" on us, but in fact it appears he dipped back into the Jiri NSFW bin! Check it:

And you suppose rookie Jiri Tlusty skates hard because, man on man, this NHL stuff is way cool.!? Is this a Freudian typo or a feeble attempt at sneaking in some pretty offensive homophobia? The thing is, Cox is both that incompetent and that much of an asshole that it could be either.

Kim Jorn said:

Has anyone seen a physical, ink-and-paper, finger-staining copy of today's Star? It would be interesting to know if "man-on-man" appears in both the online and the print.

Godd Till said:

Damn, I was gonna do a quick post on that, but I don't think I could have played it any better than Varry did.

PPP said:

Varry did some good work. I actually read it as man oh man but I agree with the assessment.

Also, this is a test for the comments.

Varry Galk said:

Picked up a physical, ink-on-paper Star. It definitely reads "man on man" in print as well.

PPP said:

Should we send the article to a GLBT group so that they can attack Cox for his clear discriminatory tendencies.

Junior said:

If you're going to censor comments from people who call you a dumbass, can you please also censor comments that refer to a former Leafs owner as "Stavros" - it wasn't the man's name. People, get the facts straight before expressing an opinion - though HF10s post was otherwise factually inoffensive, he's behind the eight ball credibility-wise around here anyway (any Habs fan would be), and the case is not strengthened by mis-identifying individuals whose behaviour you claim to be central to your opinion.


Kim Jorn said:

Just to clarify, we aren't censoring comments when people call us dumbasses (because it's half true, right Mr. Till?)

As for Cox, should we have a poll? Who thinks "man-on-man" was a typo, and who thinks it was a dig at Jiri NSFW? (As with all polls conducted in the comments section of a blog, the results will be binding and indisputable.)

mf37 said:

I could only find attendance data back to 2000, but it certainly doesn't look like the discerning Hab fan meme holds true.

They drew more fans in 2003 when they missed the playoffs than they did in 2002 when the club qualified for the post-season.

2000, Habs miss the playoffs - attendance: 94.1%
2001, Habs miss the playoffs - attendance: 94.5%
2002, Habs make the playoffs - attendance: 94.1%
2003, Habs miss the playoffs - attendance: 97.2%
2004, Habs make the plaoyffs - attendance: 96.6%
2006, Habs make the playoffs - attendance: 100%
2007, Habs miss the playoffs - attendance: 100%

I'd also suggest that a 94%+ attendance rate is not indicative of a discerning fan base voting with their wallets and affecting ownership's decisions.


On the far more important topic of whether or not Cox meant to write, "man on man" I'm going to vote "no"

For my money, there's no way that mouth-breather Cox, the same guy that had Smythe spinning in his grave over a cell-phone cock-shot, is going to go for such a subtle bon mot.

But then again, as a loyal Leaf fan I'm probably in the dumb-ass camp too.

Varry Galk said:

I say it was an intentional dig.

Kim Jorn said:

Pension Plan Puppets have done some digging, and it turns out the good people of Montreal didn't quite turn their backs on their beloved Habs to demand changes with the team:

I look forward to the new "reason" why Leafs fans are dumbasses.

PPP said:

It's like following the White House's changing reasons for invading Iraq:

- They're dumbasses for not leaving the team like the Habs fans.

- They're idiots for not being front-runners


Basically, they hate us for our passion and if we don't fight them on the internet we'll have to fight them in the alleys just like Conn Smythe warned us.

brett said:

Feels good to be hated, doesn't it?

God bless Conn Smythe. Father of a nation.

HF10 said:

Well, I wasn't going to comment and drag this out, but here goes. First, Junior noted I added an "s" to Steve Stavro's name. I messed that up. I could have sworn his name was Stavros, and I'm sure many people make that mistake (in fact, a quick google search shows a lot of people do) but that's no excuse. Fair enough to call me on it.

I've also been called out on the fact that I said Montrealers started to stay away when the team was struggling. PPP and mf37 produced the attendance figures ... and Montreal was under capacity for a number of years before the lockout. While 97.5 or 94% capacity doesn't sound like the city turned its back on the Habs, don't forget that still translates into over a thousand empty seats each night in a hockey-mad city. It also doesn't tell you the story on the streets of Montreal: I lived there from 1997 to 2001, and the Habs were being raked over the coals every day. A brand-new arena with hundreds of seats for $15.00 wasn't selling out. Fans were booing the Habs off the ice on a regular basis. If you don't think MLSE would notice an extra 1000 empty seats each game (which would obviously take an extraordinary effort, as Kim Jorn pointed out ... there are just too many fans desperate to see a game) I don't know what to tell you. I know 1000 seats doesn't sound like much, but in hockey-crazed places it should never happen. You can bet George Gillet and Pierre Boivin noticed. Was it a full-scale revolt? Were the Habs playing to Atlanta sized crowds? No, but in 2000 I was able to walk to the box office and purchase 4 tickets for Mario Lemieux's first game back in Montreal in almost 4 years a week before it happened. That wouldn't happen now.

Don't forget citing "average attendance" figures to show more Montrealers were showing up versus Torontonians is a little misleading since the Forum had 17,959 seats to MLG's 16,307 and the Bell Centre fits 21,273 to the ACC's 18,819. Going back to 1993-94 on PPP's chart, Toronto's percentage of capacity is higher almost every year, even factoring in the curiosity factor a new building would bring to Montreal's totals.

So it wasn't a full-scale revolt, and I'm sure Howard's cabbie was wrong claiming there would be riots in the streets, but unless you lived there, and heard the grumbling, and knew how easy it was to obtain tickets (as opposed to how it was at the Forum and how it is now), don't shrug off the idea that 95% capacity is good enough in any of hockey's leading cities. You can bet the team owner's wouldn't.

As a side note to PPP, I don't hate Leaf fans for their passion. I was lucky enough to get invited to see the Leafs/Wings game this weekend, and commented to my wife that I love the feel of Toronto game days. The buzz in the air was fantastic and reminds you what is great about the game. I hate Leaf fans for the same reason they probably hate me ... because they love their team and hate mine, to the point where we argue semantics and percentage points on crowd size just to prove the other side wrong. I probably won't convince any of you, and that's fine. But I wouldn't dismiss the idea that you can't vote with your wallet out of hand because the numbers don't produce a big enough "wow" factor either.

brett said:

What's up with Howard Booger and his fascination with the Montreal Canadiens? His crush on the Habs is getting so serious he's trying to dream up a way for Mats Sundin to join them.


Sundin to the Habs?

For Chris Higgins and Kyle Chipchura?


C'est impossible!

Booger clearly doesn't respect the Maple Leafs.

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This page contains a single entry by Kim Jorn published on February 6, 2008 10:22 PM.

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