The Battle of Ontario: Not What It Used To Be

Brent BellCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2008

Remember when the ACC would get electric when Ed Belfour would make one of his unorthodox saves and the "Eddie, Eddie" chants would start? Or when Chris Neil and Tie Domi would get in a scrap, fists would be flying, and for any hockey fan it would get the blood pumping?

The Battle of Ontario is not what it used to be; many changes have happened over the years, but the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs still put on a great hockey game that anyone would love to see.

I'm sure everyone remembers when Pat Quinn would enter the Corel Centre with five packs of gum in hand, getting ready to face the tough crowd in Kanata. The Senator fans would always give Mats Sundin a rough time, but, from my perspective, Quinn was always the most hated man in the building.

That's one way how this rivalry has changed: no Mats, no Pat. Isn't it funny that right now, Quinn is trying to lead Canada's World Junior team to another gold medal in that same building in which he was hated for years? Wouldn't it be just great if Canada wins yet another gold medal, that Quinn will be one of the many men that will be overwhelmed with cheers?

Both the Senators and the Leafs aren't in a very good position to do much this year, and thus another reason that matchup is not what it used to be: no more double-overtime, series-deciding games in the first round of the playoffs, where the Leafs would usually come out on top.

Yet, some might even say that Alex Auld is better than Patrick Lalime ever will be, especially after letting in that brutal goal off of Joe Nieuwendyk's stick; and without those curly, golden locks of his, Daniel Alfredsson is not as much hated as he used to be at the ACC, although the fans still do give him a hard time.

A week from now the Senators and Leafs will face off at the ACC and it's sure to be a great matchup, even without Quinn, Sundin, Domi, and Lalime. Either way you look at it, this rivalry will always be one of the greatest in NHL history.