[Ed note: In preparation for the series against Boston, we asked Andrew Berkshire from Canadiens Blog Habs Eyes on the Prize to weigh in on why you shouldn't cheer for the Bruins, and boy did he deliver. You can follow him at @AndrewBerkshire and check out his blog at Habs Eyes on the Prize.]
Don’t cheer for evil, cheer for Detroit
As a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, you may think I’m a little too biased to be telling you who to cheer for in this series between the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Bruins, but I’ll let you in on a little secret.
The Red Wings destroyed my childhood in 1995. When Patrick Roy demanded a trade away from the Montreal Canadiens, I was 8 years old. I couldn’t process what was happening, and I was too broken up to continue to cheer for the Canadiens, so I jumped ship to the Colorado Avalanche.
Lo and behold, the Detroit Red Wings became their chief rivals immediately. I absolutely despised them.
My feelings towards the Wings have softened since then, but even looking back on the teams I hated as a kid, and as a teen, there’s one thing you can never take away from the Red Wings, they won the right way.
Detroit has employed multiple strategies in building championship teams. They’ve had teams they built from the ground up, like in 2008, and teams they bought on the free agent market, like in 2002. No matter how they do it, the team stays strong.
Part of that comes down to coaching, but as much as I admire Mike Babcock, that longstanding greatness Detroit has put together stems from a culture put in place from the top down. Everything in Detroit is team first, and they don’t mess around with the stupid stuff.
Unlike their current opponents, the Boston Bruins, who have to cheat to win, and complain nonstop when they lose.
And it’s not like it’s just the fans, it’s the players and coaching staff. They complain so often, that it spawned a game show on local Boston television:
This is a team who’s only Stanley Cup since 1972 only happened because they broke the neck of their rival’s best forward, and their mutant ape of a captain wasn’t even slapped on the wrist for it.
How did the team react to such a traumatic event? They had a veteran leader go on a radio show, and accuse the player nursing broken vertebrae of faking it.
How did the fanbase respond in TD Garden? Rousing applause, followed by a chant of "diver" over and over again, while Raymond lay prone on the ice, back broken.
Of course they yelled "diver", because that’s all they ever do. Both the team and fans are obsessed with diving. I guess it makes sense since they dive more than any other team in the NHL, all the while pretending they never dive.
You see, the Bruins are the most hypocritical franchise in sports, and they have to maintain complete self delusion about this fact, or they will fall apart at the seams. Purposely injuring players regularly and having fighters like Shawn Thornton pick on small, European defensemen in garbage time becomes "standing up for each other", while Milan Lucic running Ryan Miller and concussing him becomes "blue collar hockey". Players falling down after their cheap shots becomes "embellishment".
This is an original six franchise that has fallen into disgrace. The problem is that Boston isn’t a real hockey market. Bostonians would rather cheer for the Red Sox, Patriots, or Celtics, so the Bruins have developed a strategy for appealing to the lowest common denominator. The worst people imaginable.
Their anthem singer can’t sing, and fist pumps like an idiot after he butchers the American national anthem. After every goal, the team pumps crowd noise through the speakers and play a Rick Flair "woo", to remind the fanbase to be happy about goals too, and not just fights.
They gave Stanley Cup rings to their play by play team, who literally jump for joy when the Bruins score. The most well known member of their local media named his dog after Milan Lucic… To any other fanbase, especially one with history to look back on, this is an embarrassment.
The NHL doesn’t need this group of fools parading around for another two months, so end this thing quickly, Detroit. The whole hockey world is pulling for you.