Souray game for more Buds

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

Sheldon Souray's whoop of anticipation almost could be heard from Crescent St. to Kingston Rd.

The Montreal Canadiens defenceman yesterday gave the thumbs up to those NHL schedulemakers who have proposed that his Habs and the Maple Leafs meet eight times this coming season, two more than they did in 2003-04.

And if Souray's reaction is any indication, the Habs can't wait to see hockey's most storied rivalry become even more prominent.

"Wow," Souray said. "They sure won't need to worry about drumming up interest in these games, will they?

"To be honest, these are the most fun games to play for us. The atmosphere in the buildings is amazing. Our fans and Leafs fans trying to out-shout each other. The electricity ... What's not to like?

"I can hardly wait."

While Leafs fans in western Canada almost assuredly will feel snubbed should their heroes no longer make annual visits to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, traditionalists who have savoured Leafs-Habs matchups over the years would enjoy the altered schedule.

Under the proposed format, teams would face off eight times per season against each of their division foes. In Toronto's case, that means a pair of additional contests against the Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres.

"The only problem I see is that Toronto is always strong," Souray said, before breaking into laughter.

"Oh well. We welcome the challenge. It will be quite enjoyable."


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