It’s difficult to think of a Stanley Cup Final in recent memory that has had as much hatred as this Vancouver-Boston series. This is especially true when you consider that these two teams have no real history with one another. Yes, there’s the Cam Neely trade we’ve heard about many, many times, but there hasn’t been much bad blood between these teams before this series. This isn’t a rematch of a recent final. There isn’t any angry history between anyone on any of these organizations.
And yet these two teams seemingly cannot stand one another.
We’ve seen it all so far: biting, fighting, controversial hits, trash talking and unfortunate injuries. We’ve yet to see a goalie fight, but there’s still one more game. For the record, if Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo settled their differences with a brawl at centre ice in game seven, we’d freak out.
How much do these teams hate each other? Yesterday we saw Brad Marchand punch Daniel Sedin several times for apparently no reason. Why did he do it?
“Because I felt like it,” said Marchand.
And it’s not just the two teams that hate one another. The fans have gotten into the act as well. And not just the fans in Boston and Vancouver. Fans from around the continent have picked sides and decided that they really, really hate at least one of these teams. Some fans hate both.
A column in today’s Toronto Star speculated that the Canucks could end up being “the least deserving champions of all time.” On the other hand, most of the hatred directed at the Bruins is focused on the fans in Boston. Years of hating the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics for their success has led to many fans outside of Boston hating the Bruins as well.
But it seems like most of the fan hatred is focused on the Canucks.
Of course, the Canucks have plenty of fans as well. Some, if you believe this post in the Vancouver Sun, see the Canucks as a unifying force.
But Vancouver’s hockey warriors are linking residents of this multi-ethnic city like almost nothing before. Sikh gurdwaras and Catholic churches are going ga-ga. Filipino grannies are swapping statistics with white skateboarders. South Asian professors are sharing game analyses with Chinese executives.
Nothing creates solidarity like a war. And that’s what’s been happening with this Stanley Cup run: The Canucks have given us a common enemy.
Thank you, Boston. Thank you, United States of America.
Your opposition has given Canadians a stronger sense of ourselves.
We could have sworn that the Canucks have only 14 Canadians on their team while the Bruins have 17. Maybe the constant need to be considered “Canada’s Team” is another reason to hate the Canucks. Or maybe it’s their success.
Whatever the reasons are, there’s a lot of hatred in this series, both on and off the ice. So it’s only fitting that this suddenly heated rivalry is going to go seven games. We can’t imagine how devastated the losers will be. After giving it all for so long, you then have to shake hands with your hated rivals and watch them hoist the Stanley Cup in the air.
How much would Boston hate seeing Max Lapierre with the Cup? How much rage would Vancouver feel if Brad Marchand held Lord Stanley’s prize in the air?