BY PATRICK HOFFMAN
There are certain NHL teams that all hockey fans love to hate. Maybe fans hate these teams because they win too much, have players that they despise, are a bitter rival of their own favourite team, or just hate them for the sake of hate.
When it comes to teams that all hockey fans love to hate, five franchises stick out: the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks.
1. Philadelphia Flyers
In the 1970s, the Flyers rolled to two straight Stanley Cups by blending talent with utter nastiness.
As the Broad Street Bullies, the Flyers simply ran down other NHL teams with their rough style of play and their willingness to dish out the body to any opponent who dared touch the puck. This allowed them to create space for the likes of Bobby Clarke, Rick MacLeish, Bob Kelly, and others to score goals and rack up points.
Heck, even the Soviet Union was scared to play the Flyers on Jan. 11, 1976:
Fast-forward to 2012, and the Flyers play a similar style. They get under teams’ nerves with players like Scott Hartnell, Danny Briere, Wayne Simmonds and Zac Rinaldo by playing chippy, fighting, and throwing out hits.
This allows skilled players like Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr and even Hartnell to produce on a consistent basis. In fact, these three make up the team’s No. 1 line.
Not only do people hate the Flyers because of their chippy and rough style of play, they also hate them because of Flyers fans in general, especially when they behave like this:
2. Boston Bruins
Much like the Flyers, the Bruins played an extremely rough style of hockey in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which allowed the team to win Cups in 1969 and 1972.
In the ’70s, the team known as the “Big Bad Bruins” was made up of tough guys such as Mike Milbury, Terry O’Reilly, Stan Jonathan, Wayne Cashman, Peter McNab, and head coach Don Cherry.
These ‘70s teams also had offensive superstars in Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Johnny Bucyk, who all boasted high offensive numbers. So not only were the Bruins physical, they could score goals, making them a threat on both ends of the ice and one that fans absolutely hated for that reason.
Of course, the Bruins of the ‘70s were also known for doing this:
Looking at the current Bruins, who won the Cup last season for the first time in 39 years, the lineup is made up of similar type players. Brad Marchand is an absolute pain to play against, especially when he does something like this:
Boston also has big defenseman Zdeno Chara, who seems to get booed everywhere he plays. Montreal Canadiens’ fans hate him for doing this to forward Max Pacioretty last season:
3. Pittsburgh Penguins
While the Penguins are not known for being one of the most physical franchises in NHL history, they are certainly known for being one of the most skilled — and that is enough fuel for fans to hate them.
No, these fans did not hate Mario Lemieux. Lemieux was a player that drew the admiration of all NHL fans. Heck, after scoring five goals in a game against the New York Rangers back in 1993, he received a standing ovation from the Madison Square Garden crowd:
However, the fans did hate a player like Jagr, who is now a Flyer. Jagr would score goal after goal, then give the crowd a salute, something fans do not like:
Man NHL fans have also come to hate Sidney Crosby. One reason they hate him is because of just how good he is. He can score, set up teammates and make plays with the puck that many other NHLers can’t.
However, the main reason fans hate him is because of how much he used to complain to the refs. Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy said the following regarding No. 87:
“Crosby is a player who elicits reactions that are all over the map. We’ve argued that he’s an underrated player, at the same time we’ve analyzed his reputation as a diver. We’ve linked to stories about his delivering season tickets to fans, and had a guy talking about his charity work in the video; we’ve also slammed him for nailing a guy in the goods during a fight. We’ve called around Pittsburgh to make sure bars were doing drink specials for his 21st birthday and helped spread the legend of his ‘visor moment’ with Marc Savard; but we’ve argued for well over a year that he’s better marketed as a villain than a hero.”
4. New York Rangers
The Rangers are not just hated by their rivals in Long Island, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, but they are hated by viewers all over the league.
For starters, the Blueshirts are despised because of the way the team has gone out and picked up high-priced free agents. Players like Theoren Fleury, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, and now Brad Richards were all signed for a ludicrous amount of money that other NHL teams could not afford to pay.
The Rangers are/were also hated for having a player like Sean Avery, now with the American Hockey League’s Connecticut Whale.
5. Vancouver Canucks
For many seasons, the Vancouver Canucks flew under the radar in terms of hatred.
This changed last season when they made it to the Cup Final against the Bruins. Alex Burrows is one reason fans love to hate the ‘Nucks.
Of course, Bruins’ fans hate defenseman Aaron Rome for knocking Nathan Horton out of the Final last year:
Fans also may hate Roberto Luongo for not playing against the Bruins back on Jan. 7, the first time the two teams met since last June.
There is no doubt that all of these clubs have enjoyed great success. They’ve all dressed great players, have played great games, and have developed a great history. However, these are also all clubs that we fans simply love to hate.
Of the following NHL teams, which do you most hate?