Hating Toronto Just Because
Having been born in Hamilton, it's not usually my way to defend Toronto.
Then again, having lived in Toronto for about half my life, there are times it just gets boring to hear the same people, usually the same boring voices from western Canada or Ottawa, slam the city for no particular reason other than it's their favourite leisure time activity. You know, all the same incredibly inventive "Centre of the Universe" stuff.
The Maple Leafs, and making fun of them, usually become part of the snide discussion, and fair enough. When you don't win for 41 years, people tend to notice.
But sometimes enough is enough.
In this case, it is utterly outrageous to read and hear from certain corners how wonderful and fabulous the Vancouver Canucks are for honouring former captain Trevor Linden tonight.
Don't get me wrong. I like Linden. One of the more honest players to come down the pike over the past 25 years, and a gentleman to boot.
But when the Leafs did the same thing with Wendel Clark in November, well, there was no shortage of critics cynically lashing the club for honouring one of the most popular players in team history. They sneered at Clark, suggesting only a team with a record over the past four decades like the Leafs would have to stoop so low to recognize such a player. The fact the Canadiens were honoring Patrick Roy the same night was proof to some that the laughingstock Leafs were, by comparison, bereft of real heroes.
Well, what's the difference between Linden and Clark, exactly?
Both were captains. Both were traded away and came back. Neither was one of the best players in the game at any point, or even the best at their position.
And neither brought a Stanley Cup back to their city. But they were both still heroes to many.
So why is it okay for Vancouver to fete Linden, but not for the Leafs to do the same with Clark?
Personally, I think both organizations did well to honour these players. But it rankles that the Leafs, despite all their flaws, were the butt of jokes for celebrating the career of a popular captain, while the very same writers and broadcasters are praising the Canucks for doing precisely the same thing.
Fact is, it's all about hating Toronto, and that's okay with me.
But let's just be honest about it.