Hockey teams, especially ones that battle fiercely in tight playoff series, aren’t supposed to like each other. And yet it’s rare that players are actually candid publicly about their hate for particular teams.
Asked by Los Angeles Kings blog Mayor’s Manor last March to rate his hatred for the Vancouver Canucks on a scale of 1 to 10, defenceman Drew Doughty gave the Presidents’ Trophy winners a perfect score.
“The Canucks are definitely a 10,” Doughty told the site. “We hate every single guy on that team. But, that’s always what’s fun about hockey. When you hate a team so much you want to win so bad.”
(For those scoring at home, Doughty gave the Anaheim Ducks an eight.)
With the Canucks in L.A. Monday to face the Stanley Cup champs for the first time since their opening-round playoff series, Mayor’s Manor again asked Doughty to discuss the rivalry.
“Not only is it their personnel that you learn to dislike… It’s the fact that they keep winning the conference every year. You’re going to hate any good team just because they have that cockiness. But, they have a swagger about them that we don’t like, and we want to show them that we can be the better team,” Doughty said prior to the Kings’ come-from-behind 3-2 shootout victory. “You pretty much hate all the guys on every team when you play them. You learn to do that on the ice. It’s a battle, it’s a war.”
After the game, Kings forward Anze Kopitar did not disguise his bitterness towards Vancouver, either.
“I guess they’re one of the most hated teams in the league really. Everybody’s talking about them,” Kopitar told Mayor’s Manor. “When it comes to a playoff series, it’s a little different though — you build the hate up a little bit I guess and since we’ve played them two out of the three years we’re familiar with them. They don’t like us and we don’t like them, there’s no secret to it.”