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Canada's Team

Ignatieff eats cake, Moore eats crow Add to ...

1. Bonne fête. Michael Ignatieff's favourite team - the Montreal Canadiens - delivered for him on his 63rd birthday. Interesting, given he compared his political team to the storied hockey franchise in his wrap-up speech to caucus yesterday.

The Liberal Leader, who has been seen to be stumbling of late, told his MPs and senators the Habs are a team that were not supposed to win, according to a caucus insider. (Remember, he was speaking before last night's stunning upset.) But they skate and play as a team nonetheless, he said - suggesting his political team can succeed too, if only they stick together.

Mr. Ignatieff then celebrated his birthday behind the closed doors of national caucus with a cake and rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday." He told Liberals he was going to watch the Habs/Penguins game that night and that when it comes to "class," he said no one had taught him more about grace under pressure than Montreal legend Jean Beliveau.

And the Liberal Leader did watch the game at Stornoway, as promised, but with a few more people than expected. Staff and friends showed up for a surprise party organized by his wife, Zsuzsanna. There was a big red cake - and a big win for Montreal.

2. Karma. Heritage Minister James Moore made the mistake of saying his beloved Vancouver Canucks were " Canada's team." He was wrong and now he's paying for it.

The young minister placed a bet with Dimitri Soudas, the Prime Minister's communications director and a Montreal Canadiens fan, about the outcome of this playoff round. Look what happened: the Canucks lost to Chicago and the Cinderella team, the Habs, advanced last night after beating the 2009 Stanley Cup champions in Game 7.

In his controversial Twitter post, Mr. Moore, who represents a Vancouver-area riding, also commented on the Canuck jerseys: "The Canucks are Canada's team in these playoffs. Plus, they're wearing those handsome Canadian Alliance-esque blue/green jerseys"

Rather than proudly wearing a "handsome" Canucks jersey, Mr. Moore will be walking into Question Period today in a Habs jersey thanks to the wager. If the Canucks had won, Mr. Soudas would have had to don that "Alliance-esque blue/green" sweater.

The bet is similar to the one that Mr. Soudas made with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on the outcome of the Olympic gold medal hockey game between Canada and the United States. Canada won and Mr. Gibbs was seen at a press briefing wearing a Canadian jersey.

"Gibbs and Moore will probably stop betting against me," Mr. Soudas said.

As for Mr. Moore, he took to Twitter again last night: " Congratulations Habs. Bring the cup home to Canada!"

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