When Josh Gorges rejected a trade that would have sent him from the Montreal Canadiens to the Toronto Maple Leafs, he cited the fact that he couldn’t picture himself wearing the jersey of a rival team after having given so much to Montreal. One day later, he accepted a trade to division mate Buffalo. While the Leafs brass would never be so foolish as to publicly condemn Gorges, it’s clear if one reads between the lines that the team was perturbed and confused, maybe even insulted.
“I’m too polite to say anything,” general manager Dave Nonis said to Steve Simmons at the Toronto Sun. “It was his choice and he made it.”
And make it he did. Instead of playing for the Leafs, who missed the playoffs after a pretty competitive first half of their season, Gorges chose the league-worst Buffalo Sabres from a year ago once the Canadiens made it clear they were trading the veteran defenseman.
While no one would say much about the incident, Simmons called the whole thing ‘insulting’ which kind of seems like the point when you’re denying the *ahem* opportunity to join one of the most dysfunctional and poorly run organizations in professional sports.
What Simmons and Nonis and the rest of Toronto don’t seem to realize is that athletes don’t care that Toronto is a wonderful city that could house the entirety of Buffalo in one block of its downtown. They don’t care that Toronto calls itself the ‘centre of the hockey universe’ even though the franchise sports the second-longest Stanley Cup drought in the NHL. They don’t care about the predictable jokes Toronto citizens make about smaller cities around them.
If Josh Gorges wants to visit Toronto, he’s a quick drive up the QEW away. What Gorges wants is to play hockey for an organization that actually has a plan for the future. He wants to play for a GM who doesn’t think signing David Clarkson to a seven-year deal is a good idea.
In short, Josh Gorges would rather lose for a couple years in Buffalo than lose forever in Toronto. It’s a harsh reality, but if anyone is truly insulted by a professional’s choice of locale, then they need to further examine how their own personal feelings tie in with the sports world around them, then connect with the reality of the situation.
Tags: Toronto Maple Leafs