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The NHL admits it likes the Montreal Canadiens more than the Toronto Maple Leafs

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The quotes in this article may or may not be completely made up.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Remember 2008-09?

The Habs entered their centennial season in style, with a bevy of ceremonies and events put in place by the team and the NHL to celebrate the league's most successful club.

  • A set of commemorative dollar coins to be minted by the Royal Canadian Mint.
  • A set of commemorative stamps to be issued by Canada Post.
  • A set of 200 Upper Deck anniversary cards.
  • Canadiens Monopoly
  • Centennial jersey nights when the team will wear historic jerseys of the past during NHL games.
  • Builder's night honoring past coaches.
  • Opening of the 'Centennial Plaza' outside of the Bell Centre.
  • Original Six salutes — when "original six" teams visit the Canadiens.
  • Opening of a community outdoor rink.
  • A concert by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
  • A movie, Pour toujours, les Canadiens!
  • EA Sports' NHL 09 video game including the 'Centennial Montréal Canadiens', a special team of the top players ever part of the Canadiens franchise
To go along with the celebrations and memorabilia, the NHL granted the Habs two very important events: The 2009 NHL Draft, and the 2009 All-Star Game. A fitting response to the centennial.

Now that the Leafs are heading towards their own centennial, they're not enjoying the same of response from the league.

For a few days, the center of the hockey universe won't be in Toronto. To add to the frustration, the odds are that the Leafs won't enjoy any playoff games that season either.

When reached for comment, Gary Bettman* didn't mince his words.

"Lads, it's Toronto. Do they really deserve to be happy? I'm not going to just throw them a bone because they're turning 100. Congrats, your team is old, want a medal?  Sorry, that's not how this works. If you want special treatment you should have traded for John Scott.  Besides, we could relegate the Leafs to the ECHL and they'd still sell out.

I don't see the problem. Am I worried about backlash? It's Toronto! What are they going to do, get their child assistant GM to muscle me up? Please. If they wanted me to be scared of them they shouldn't have fired Burke. The only thing I can guarantee Toronto is that there will be another lockout because their GM is using weird AHL loopholes to keep players, even though they've been traded. Think of it this way, we're a modern league, so we're celebrating Toronto's victories in the last 50 years in an appropriate fashion, by doing absolutely nothing noteworthy."

In lieu of the All-Star game and draft, the Air Canada Centre will host the prestigious North American basketball club known as the Raptors.


* Gary Bettman, the part-time juggler and eggplant enthusiast from Iowa, not the NHL commissioner.