Bandwagon bashers

AEDAN HELMER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

The Toronto Maple Leafs might not have been good enough to make the playoffs this year, but their fans still have their game faces on.

While the rest of Canada is hopping on the Sens' bandwagon, just as they did during memorable playoff runs by the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa's team is still a tough sell in the centre of the universe.

To vent their frustrations, and perhaps to pass the time during another long summer, Leafs fans have taken to cyberspace, bringing Sens bashing to a whole new level.

The kid gloves come off on social networking sites like Facebook, where a number of anti-Senators groups have popped up in recent weeks.

"This is a group for people who would rather die than see Daniel Alfredsson and the Ottawa Senators win the Stanley Cup," proclaims Andrew Besser, Leafs fan and assistant captain of the "Anybody But Ottawa" forum.

After each series victory, fans take to Facebook to let off some steam.

"Ottawa won? That's not allowed to happen!" wrote James Fretz after Ottawa beat the Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference finals. "Sheer luck! Buffalo now sucks! This sucks more than anything! U.S.A. can keep the cup. I'd rather an American team win than the Sens."

OUTLET FOR FANS

After a Senators loss, message boards are flooded with gleeful Leafs fans, who have taken to donning the jersey of whichever team du jour happens to be in Ottawa's sights.

"If I see Alfredsson even touch that cup my heart's gonna break," wrote Leafs fan Scott Plevin.

Groups with names such as the "Anti-Senators Club," "Sens Suck," and "Anybody But the Senators" provide an outlet for frustrated Leafs fans who can't stand to see their bitter Ontario rivals in a position to win Canada's first Stanley Cup since 1993.

Photoshop-savvy fans have cut and pasted Alfredsson's head on a ballerina body -- not to mention a variety of poses unsuitable for a family publication.

The quacking grew a little louder when the Anaheim Ducks beat Ottawa 3-2 in Game 1 of the finals, but it appears as if the Sens Army has an answer.

Faithful Ottawa fans have picked up on the vitriol, and are starting to toss some barbs of their own.

Ottawa fan Jack Richards has bombarded anti-Sens sites with his own posts.

"Anaheim doesn't stand a chance. You people are such bad losers you're grasping at straws and taking the shortest one left obviously!" writes Richards.


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