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Leafs at Bruins: Rivalry? Sorry, no.

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Puck Drop: 7PM Leafs TV

I got an email yesterday from a Bruins blogger asking if I'd contribute my thoughts on the Bruins - Leafs rivalry. My thoughts basically boil down to: what rivalry?

Are we supposed to be rivals because of the Phil Kessel deal? According to the Boston media Kessel is a player who didn't fit the Bruins system. He's lazy, he only scores with Marc Savard around, he fades down the stretch, he doesn't play physically or back check.

Boston didn't want him anymore. They could have actually negotiated with Milan Lucic instead of handing him a blank check and kept Kessel, Savard, David Krejci and Lucic. Boston didn't do that, so they moved him. As far as moving him goes Kessel didn't get offer sheeted, he got traded. Boston gets two firsts for a player they claim to not want, and we're pretty happy to have Kessel. Where's the drama? Where's the beef?

The obvious answer is that despite their assertions Bruins fans wanted Kessel. They're mad that he spurned their city and they're also rooting against Toronto for the pragmatic reason of hoping those two first rounders are really good picks which makes sense.

That doesn't make a rivalry though. Think about our division: Toronto, Buffalo, Montreal, Ottawa, Boston. I'm pretty sure no one here would root for Buffalo, Montreal or Ottawa under any circumstances. Boston? Eh, we don't like them because they're in our division but I'd rather see them win than Montreal.

Rivalries are built in the playoffs. The Battle of Ontario made us change our stance on the Senators from "dimwitted cousin" to "ancient enemy". We all hate Philly because of 2004 and Detroit because of our battles in the Norris division. Boston doesn't register.

Tonight the Leafs head back into Boston to avenge their piss poor outing on Saturday night. With a 7-2-1 record over their past ten the sky won't fall if the Leafs lose to a team picked to win the East handily but like any night we'd like to see Toronto win. That still doesn't make this a rivalry. Maybe three years from now Boston and Toronto will meet in the postseason, but until then it's just not happening on our end.