As the Habs prepare to face the Bruins in the first round for the million-and-twelfth time in their joint history, it's time for fans to reflect on their hatred for the opposition. And boy, do I hate the Bruins! How do I hate them? Let me count the ways:
10. Zdeno Chara. I can't stand this overgrown ape. His too-long arms are just meant for knuckle dragging. I don't care if he's supposed to be a great, soft-spoken guy off the ice. On it, he's a neanderthal goon, as witnessed by his random mauling of Komisarek in the last game between the teams. I just hate this guy.
9. Their myth. The Big, Bad Bruins were the team of the seventies. Even Cam Neely's version was closer to the name than what's on the ice in those teddy sweaters these days. These guys are a skill team with a couple of big guys up front and the knuckle-dragger on D. They're not big, or bad. They haven't been in quite a while, and it makes me mad to hear their superior size and physical game put forth as a reason why they'll dominate Montreal. It's a myth! They won the conference because they scored the second-most goals in the league behind Detroit...not because they intimidated every other team into surrendering two points.
8. Tim Thomas. Here's another guy who's supposed to be just the greatest guy ever. What I see is a little weasel who either dives (more on that later) to draw a penalty whenever someone brushes by him, or, if no penalty is called, uses his stick in blatant attempts to hurt people. He's a hot-tempered little dirtbag, and I hope his flopping around like Aebischer on a good day comes back to haunt him at last.
7. Claude Julien. I didn't mind Julien as the Habs' coach. He was boring and low-key, but he seemed relatively inoffensive. Now though, he's developed a rabid desire to beat the Habs that has him sending his team out to goon it up. He steams when he loses to Montreal and smirks when he wins. It's maddening. I hope the Habs give him a reason to wear that perplexed Alfred Hitchcock look he perfected last season.
6. Their diving. If there was an Olympic gold medal in ice diving, Marc Savard would win it. He leads the way on a team that's perfected the art of fooling refs into rewarding them with undeserved powerplays.
5. Milan Lucic. Only Mike Komisarek's good fortune in retaining all his vertebrae intact separates Lucic from Bertuzzi. This kid his huge and strong, but he's got the brains of a worm turd. Jumping Komisarek from behind like he did in the last game was not only dangerous, it's the type of play one would hope would put his team on the PK during the playoffs. Unfortunately, he gets a pass much too often, and he's going to hurt someone. Then there's his playing to the crowd after Komisarek went down with a separated shoulder in their fight earlier this year. He's an idiot.
4. Bruins bias in the media. I hate PJ Stock and Don Cherry and their vocal Bruins love. I don't blame most of the pundits for picking the Bruins in the series. After all, they are the conference champs and the safe bet to take the Habs. But there's no need for the gloating by all these pinheads. Mike Milbury on HNIC just smarms with anticipation to imagine the Canadiens' loss. I want the Habs to win because I'm a Habs fan. But a giant side benefit to that would be watching those know-it-alls have to find something good to say about the Canadiens. Until next time, of course.
3. Phil Kessel. I'm reading Gare Joyce's book right now, which is an inside look at the 2006 NHL draft. Kessel comes across as a self-centred, sullen, difficult kid who has problems getting along with his teammates. That description, his pie face and his stupid gaping grin when he scores are enough for me to hate him.
2. Their cockiness. Before the playoffs, a couple of Bruins said they'd prefer to play the Canadiens in the first round because they felt they had the best chance to advance against Montreal. There's no humilty at all about these guys. They gloat and they make ostentatious on-ice celebrations every time they score. That kind of thing seems to always come back to bite teams in the butt. Hopefully that holds true this time.
And the number one thing to hate about the Bruins:
1. Their fans. leafs fans are hateful because they always think they're going to win, and they're always in your face. If the leafs beat the Habs one time a year, leafs fans come out of the woodwork to gloat, totally ignoring the fact that the Habs won the other five games the two teams played. Bruins fans don't do that. They live in dread of the Habs to the point of obsession. They've built up a reservoir of bile and fear so great it will come out with the force of a volcano if the Bruins win this series. They've been waiting for years to have a definitive win over Montreal, and if it happens, they'll gloat painfully loudly and for a painfully long time. A Bruins win would completely suck in this regard, so Go Habs, Go!!