Josh Gorges felt such a rivalry with the Toronto Maple Leafs when he was with the Montreal Canadiens that he couldn’t possibly accept a trade to go play for them.
“After playing against them for that many years of being our No. 1 rival, I just didn’t think it would’ve been fair to them,” Gorges told The Canadian Press.
“I wouldn’t have been the same player that they would’ve expected me to be. Over time I would’ve got there. But I just didn’t think I could commit my heart to playing the right way.”
The 30-year-old defenseman was still traded by Montreal; however, he wielded his limited no-trade clause to go to Buffalo, home of the NHL’s worst team in 2013-14, not Toronto, home of a team he’d “grown to hate.”
With the Sabres, Gorges could end up paired with former Calder Trophy recipient Tyler Myers, a player that’s still trying to get back to the level he displayed as a rookie in 2009-10. Both defensemen spent their junior careers with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL and have skated together in the offseason.
“The fact we’re paired up at camp excites us both,” Myers told the Buffalo News. “We’ve talked about it. It not only excites us but I think we’re going to demand a lot out of each other back there and we’re going to start right from the beginning here.”
Gorges could also serve as mentor for young Sabres d-men like Rasmus Ristolainen, Mark Pysyk and Nikita Zadorov.