TORONTO -- Josh Gorges' rejection of Toronto this summer came in a very public manner. The Sabres defenseman will play in the Centre of the Hockey Universe tonight for the first time since nixing a trade from Montreal. Any chance Maple Leafs fans forgot?
"I doubt it," Gorges said after the morning skate in Air Canada Centre. "It’s always an energetic crowd when you play. There’s always lots of noise, lots of emotion, and I expect nothing less.
"This is two teams that have built a great rivalry against each other. It’s close quarters just across the border from each other. They have some heated, emotional games, and that’s what I’m looking forward to stepping into tonight, part of a new, great rivalry."
Gorges, who had a no-trade clause, chose Buffalo over Toronto when Montreal wanted to trade him. He stands by the decision.
"It’s something that was a major moment in my life, so you’re always going to think about it and look back it," Gorges said. "But you can’t look back at things in the past and say, ‘Maybe I should have done this different, or maybe I should have done that different.’ It’s in the past. You can’t change what happened. You focus on today and what your job is at the moment."
The biggest reason Gorges gave for nixing the Toronto deal is he grew to hate the Leafs during his time in Montreal. He couldn't envision himself giving his all for the enemy.
"I really honestly believe that," Gorges said today. "The only reason I ever got to this league is because I had to be a ‘heart and soul, give everything I’ve got every time I’m on the ice’ type of player.
"Could I have given that to Toronto? Maybe over time, but I don’t think I could have done it right away, and it wouldn’t have been fair to them.
"As a person, I believe every day you come to work you give everything you’ve got. Win, lose or draw, at least you can feel good about yourself with what you’ve done. If I come to a team where I don’t feel like I’ve given everything I’ve got, how do I feel at the end of the day? It’s not a good feeling."