Blue Leafs, red Leafs rarely mix

Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk (21) celebrates after scoring the game winning goal...

Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk (21) celebrates after scoring the game winning goal on the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at the Air Canada Centre on Jan. 28, 2014. Toronto defeated Tampa Bay 3-2. (JOHN E. SOKOLOWSKI/USA TODAY Sports)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:59 PM ET

The Maple Leafs, the Olympics and Team Canada rarely have been compatible.

Since 1998, when the NHL began halting in mid-season to send its best talent to the five-ring circus, it's coincided with the Leafs missing the playoffs three of four times and not having blue and white players make much impact for the red and white.

There are no Leafs on Team Canada in Sochi, nor were there any in Vancouver in 2010, though it didn't matter when Canada won gold.

Most agree that Sochi will be a good learning experience for young Americans Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, whose offence has helped put the Leafs in a strong post-season position when their schedule resumes in 18 days.


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