I've made the occasional mention of the defining characteristic of a Senators fan: a crippling insecurity about the Maple Leafs. This leads to folks in Ottawa spending a lot of time complaining that the Leafs are on TV too much, accusing every broadcaster of secretly being a Toronto homer, and pleading with Leaf fans to not make too much noise at Senator games.
But there are days when you have to feel for these guys. While it may seem pathetic to spend your every waking hour looking under your bed for Leaf fans, sometimes it's understandable. After all, it's not paranoia if it's true.
For example, today's Ottawa Sun has a 20-page sports section. Here's how their hockey coverage breaks down:
- One almost full-page story about last night's Islanders game
- An additional full page of Sens/Isles coverage with Don Brennan
- A one-page fluff piece about Shean Donovan, the sort of thing you expect to see in a high school newsletter. We learn that he likes Kraft Dinner and Nickelback
- A small story about last night's Leafs/Flyers game
- A half-page column on Brian Burke (Mike Zeisberger's piece from the Toronto Sun)
- Two more full pages about Brian Burke (from Bill Lankhof)
- Bruce Garrioch's "Rinkwrap" rumor column, featuring four separate items on the Leafs (nothing about Ottawa)
- A short story about Jason Blake's upcoming return to the lineup
- Steve Simmons' weekly column, most of which is about the Leafs
I can only imagine how maddening it must be as a Sens fan to open your own local paper and see more ink spilled about your hated rival than about your own team. Sure, Brian Burke is a big story, but if the Sens hired a new GM tomorrow do you think the Toronto Sun would give it more than two column inches?
Hell, there's even a top ten list of famous "own goals", written by the Winnipeg Sun's Todd Wyman, that includes Bryan McCabe but somehow leaves out Chris Phillips' infamous wraparound on Ray Emery. The Sens can't even get a mention when they score a Stanley Cup winner.
So the next time you mention the Leafs to a Sens fan and they start into a red-faced, spittle-launching rant about Bob Cole and the Toronto Sports Network and the secret message you hear if you play the HNIC theme backwards and how unfair it all is... give them a break.
They may be on to something.