Never happy to have lost Mikhail on the basis of talent log-jam alone, I am pleased that management set loose someone who could clearly have Ribeiro-ed the Habs again.
But you know what? I'm glad in a way he ended up on the Leafs. Especially if he's now going to be spewing all his nonsense every time we see them in Montreal and Toronto.
With the summertime losses of Bryan McCabe, Darcy Tucker, Andrew Raycroft added to Belak and Gill afrom last season – the Leafs had been getting a little bit blah. I can tell you, never before last weekend had I had a conversation with Tobalev with us both saying something to the tune of: "I don't think I hate the Leafs that much anymore".
Their revolution by devolution, even taking into account their annoying capacity to win and beat us, was leaving the fires of hatred in woeful neglect. I can't hate Dominic Moore, Niklas Hagman, Nikolai Kuleimin, Pavel Kubina, Ian White or Jamal Mayers. Fletcher had just gathered a collection of players I would be indifferent towards and sent more to hate to Florida.
In fact, as I was reflecting before the big match-up on Saturday evening, it felt like the Leafs were back in the Campbell conference. Back to a time when I couldn't care less whether they won or lost – it meant nothing to me compared to my all-consuming hatred of Boston and Buffalo.
Call me Darcy
But then a moment of serendipity: Grabovski over 3 periods metamorphosed from prospect gone astray to "Leafs Suck" poster boy.
Admittedly, I was still too impressed with his dismantling of a Hamrlikless defence with diagonal passing to take note right away. But this morning, with the articles stirring my distaste to life again, stoking the embers of the once white-hot abhorrence, I saw Darcy Tucker in his eyes.
His arrogance, his disrespect for our franchise, his enjoyment for play in Toronto, his smirk and even his annoying (paraphrased) quotes:
If Grabovski was taking special delight in playing a large role in the defeat of the Canadiens, he wasn't letting on. He said he got a bigger kick out of the first game of the season, a 3-2 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.
I am properly disgusted with someone on the Leafs again. And, isn't it funny how he took the Darcy Tucker road (in as much that we dismissed his skills, traded him for nothing and ended up with that team) to that dark place in our hearts, that place where we love to hate, where we need to love to hate.
All in all, I'm happy that he did. I wasn't ready to lose my love for hating the Leafs. Now, he gives me reason to look forward to playing the Leafs again beyond another 2 points. Reason to email and goad everyone from the city on the lake. Reason to worry about this rivalry again.
Taking Mikhail's lead, this self-styled internet star gets some real flames going again. Next game can't come soon enough...