Trades between arch-rivals don’t happen very often.
So when the Montreal Canadiens traded Tomas Plekanec to the Toronto Maple Leafs, of all teams, it raised a few eyebrows.
The deal, which also sent minor league forward Kyle Baun to the Leafs, netted the Habs Kerby Rychel, Rinat Valiev, and a second round draft pick in return. It was the first trade between Montreal and Toronto since the Mikhail Grabovski trade nearly 10 years ago.
Despite the fact that a Plekanec trade was inevitable, Canadiens fans were obviously sad to see him go. The 35-year-old had played all 981 of his NHL games in a Montreal uniform.
“It’s 15 years of my life,” said Plekanec. “It’s my home. My kids go to school here. They speak French. Their first language is French. But, I’m going to a team that’s going to be in the playoffs and has a chance to play for a Stanley Cup. It’s awesome.”
And Leafs fans? Well, they were excited to add another player for a playoff push. They were also oddly fixated on Plekanec’s signature turtleneck.
Here’s a selection of our favourite reactions:
Pleky my friend , thanks for the 980 plus games with the #Habs .. I'm sad to see you leave , you have played against the best players from other teams, played with the shittiest wingers and never said a word. You're a a classy player and wish you the best ! pic.twitter.com/yEdG1czEuR
— Dan Lemire (@habfandan) February 25, 2018
— John (@TheEagleDares) February 25, 2018
— Omar White (@OLW93) February 25, 2018
Markov and Plekanec were the #habs I grew up watching, can't believe they're both gone
— Caitlyn Golem 🏒⚾🏋️ (@CaitlynGolem) February 25, 2018
I’ve never liked Plekanec, not until this tweet came through. That’s the beautiful thing about supporting your team. You welcome your arch nemesis with open arms when he’s switching colours. Also, does anyone know where to buy a TurtleNeck?#TmlTalk pic.twitter.com/RVoiDie262
— Ryan (@LeafsHayward) February 26, 2018
Plekanec in a Leafs jersey is going to look so so weird? What’s the strangest player in a jersey combo? (Gretzky STL, Sundin Van, Alfredsson Det)
— Mitch Gallo (@MitchyGallo) February 26, 2018
Plekanec sucks! And he earns $7 M 😡 F!&%% turtle neck!
Nooooo! What a great player! You already miss you 😭😭😭 Nooo! 😭😭Pleky ❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/2thxhW0jbH
— Steven McAllister (@StevenMcAHockey) February 26, 2018
Maple Leafs up the middle when healthy: Matthews, Kadri, Bozak, Plekanec. I’m drinking a soda and nodding my head in approval.
— Ari Shapiro (@ari_shapiro) February 26, 2018
— Scott MacArthur (@ScottyMacThinks) February 25, 2018
Everyone go buy a turtleneck, the Leafs just got plekanec
— Babsocks (@Babsocks) February 25, 2018
Plekanec better not wear that fuckin turtleneck
— Chemmy (@felixpotvin) February 25, 2018
— Martin Noel (@Martshmallow) February 26, 2018
I’ll eat my hat if Plekanec isn’t back in the summer #habs
— Brad (@bradpurchase) February 26, 2018
Plekanec gonna sabotage the Leafs and tell us their plays when he comes back 👀
— Bumjagner (@Jagulov) February 26, 2018