The battle of Ontario’s newest subplot: Tale of the 2 B’s

   Since the infamous lockout, one of the NHL’s greatest rivalries has evidently lost its edge. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators would always entertain regardless of when they played. For years the battle of Ontario filled up bars across the province, it was the highlight of Hockey Night in Canada. Whenever these two teams crossed paths, it was an all out war creating a playoff vibe in both arenas. Unfortunately, in a few seasons it all disappeared. The days of Mats Sundin, Tie Domi, Gary Roberts, Curtis Joseph, Wade Redden, Rob Ray, Zdeno Chara and Patrick Lalime are gone. The “glory days” are all but over. Both teams were victims of the new NHL, leading to massive overhauls. Besides all the roster and personnel changes, the two new faces rejuvenating the battle of Ontario have a history with each other.

Bryan Murray changed the Anaheim Ducks organization both on and off the ice. Murray began Anaheim’s transition from laughing-stock of the NHL, to league champions. Following a trip to the Stanley Cup finals, Murray left Anaheim for a chance to coach the Senators and move back home. His departure sparked Burke’s reign as head of the Ducks. Many fans and critics believe Burke rode the coattails of Murray to his success in California. In 2007 Murray and Burke would meet in the Stanley Cup final. The Senators would eventually lose in five games, leading many to believe that Murray lost to the team he helped build. Anaheim’s winning team was based on his blueprint, Burke just added the final pieces (Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, and Teemu Selanne). Niedermayer was one of Burke’s biggest acquisitions while in Anaheim, all because of Murray. Niedermayer signed with the Ducks in 2005 for a chance to play with his brother Rob, whom Murray acquired in 2003.

Fast forward five years and they’re at it again. Both Burke and Murray are the lead architects of two teams trying to rejoin the leagues elite. For the first time in seven years, Toronto is in the middle of the playoff race in the East. What’s even more surprising, is the Senators situation. Ottawa has completely bypassed a rebuild year, becoming a contender once again. Tuesday’s game between the two teams could potentially have playoff implications, something fans haven’t seen in years.

The turnaround trend both teams are experiencing is good for the organizations. Fans are being reminded of the good days when their beloved teams would square off in the playoffs. What once was a thought of the past, could possibly happen again and whether they like it or not, the 2 B’s (Brian and Bryan) are a new subplot for the battle of Ontario.

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