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NOTE: This post originally ran September 25, 2012, but I thought it would be fitting to run it again in light of the upcoming playoff series.
It's such a strong word. It's a word we commonly throw around these days. For example, I "hate" Mikael Samuelsson. Now, do I really HATE that guy? The truth is, no, no I don't. I do, however, strongly dislike the guy and his game annoys the hell out of me. Why don't you just shoot high and wide to the right again, Mikael. If the lockout has done anything positive for us fans, it's that we aren't subjected to watch Samuelsson play. My annoyance with Samuelsson aside, I propose the question to our loyal readers, is there a team out there that we really do hate? Who makes us feel hostility and animosity towards them?
If you asked me this questions 10 years ago, I would have answered in less than a second, "THE AVS." Today, the Dive are bad and the rivalry has fizzled out. I'll always enjoy beating Colorado, but the hatred just isn't there anymore. I wouldn't blame you if you chose the Penguins, but they just don't do it for me either. Sidney Crosby sucks and they did beat the Red Wings at home in game 7 for the Stanley Cup, but we just don't play them enough. I won't lie though, they might be second on my list. Other teams to consider? The Canucks? Naw. The Blackhawks? Maybe. The Predators? They're a cute team.
At the end of the day, there really is one team that I want to see the Wings kick the living shit out of every single time they play and that's the Anaheim Ducks.
I know it's been 3 seasons since Anaheim and Detroit have squared off in the playoffs, but man, I still don't like them. If you want to go way back, it all starts with Mike Babcock and the 2003 Ducks. The roster back then was completely different, but the seeds were planted. Fast forward to 2007. It's the conference finals, then Ducks' GM Brian Burke built a team that was easy to hate. Burke -- who J.J. reminded me is the man that gave Claude Lemieux a 1-game suspension for destroying Kris Draper's face -- built his team around the cleanest player to lace up skates, Chris Pronger. Add in guys like Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, the Niedermayer brothers and Chris Kunitz and there is a roster that is filled with douche bags.
The great battle of 2007 that saw Pronger get suspended for his elbow on Tomas Holmstrom. The greater battle of 2009 we witnessed the Ducks escaped with a win when Marian Hossa was denied a game tying goal as time expired. Sure, that one is more on the refs, but still, screw the Ducks. And let's not forget the game ending scuffle in game 6 that saw Perry go after Brian Rafalski and Scott Niedermayer take swings at Pavel Datsyuk. That series also produced Jonathan Ericsson actually stepping up and using his size to his advantage and Jiri Hudler nearly being decapitated. Then again, as Mr. Burke said, maybe Happy shouldn't have been admiring his pass. Thankfully, Danny Cleary shut the Ducks up.
Of course, the greatest moment of the rivalry might be Datsyuk kicking the crap out Perry and earning his first -- and only -- Gordie Howe hat trick.
You know when Pav will fight that there must be a real hatred between these two teams.
I don't care that Pronger and Niedermayer have moved on or that Burke is in Toronto with Randy Carlyle. I still want the Red Wings to destroy the Ducks every time they play. There is a genuine anger I feel when these two teams skate against one another. If we have a season this year -- and dammit we better -- these two teams better face off once again in the postseason.
The hate remains.
It's time to write the latest chapter in the Ducks and Red Wings rivalry.
Let's Go Red Wings.