A Hater’s Guide to the Atlantic Division
Why should you hate every single team in the Division? Glad you asked...
Red Wings fans are expert haters already. After all, the octopus symbolizes the eight primary grudges each fan carries in their heart (what are you forever mad about? share in the comments!)
However, there’s a lot to be mad about in the world right now, so if you need a little spark to rekindle the flames of bitterness and wrath toward the Atlantic Division before the season starts, I’m here for you.
Let’s check in on who we’ve got, how they’re doing, and remind ourselves why they are worth the effort to hate. Some teams are much easier to hate than others, but let’s find something for everyone...
2021-2022 record: 51-26-5; When will we see them? Oct. 27 and March 11.
While much of the Atlantic Division teams had a busy offseason, the Bruins fired their coach and pretty much called it a day. Patrice Bergeron didn’t retire and David Krejci will be back. And then the classic “return from injury is our acquisition” conversation will happen later this fall.
Notably, Brad Marchand is recovering from surgery and is expected to miss the October match-up with the Wings. This is a real shame because he is a fun guy to hate. Easily the most hateable player on their roster, possibly the Division, and for some people the entire NHL. McAvoy and Grzelcyk are the other two notable injuries.
Old friends: Thomas Nosek, Dan Renouf
What to hate: Marchand (injured or not, he still exists), fans of Marchand, fans who die on hills for Bobby Orr, Mike Milbury just in general by association, the color yellow, New England’s general arrogant sports attitude, Boston accents.
And of course, the stinking sludge of Masshole excrement that is the subset of fans who make headlines for being racist. Every fanbase has their garbage, unfortunately for the Bruins, they always have some exceptionally loud trashcans flapping their lids.
2021-2022 record: 22-49-11; When will we see them? Oct. 14, Nov. 8, Jan. 26
ACTIVATE THE HATE. October 14 approaches.
It’s a good thing the Habs got rid of Shea Weber because that leaves room to hate new things! They should be better than last year, which is a very low bar. Martin St. Louis taking over behind the bench seemed to be turning things around, but big deal we have a new coach now too.
The game to really stoke the flames for is the first one. However, since we know it doesn’t matter how bad we play, we’ll never do well in the Draft Lottery, we might as well just sweep them.
And on that note...
I very specifically hate everyone who was clutching their pearls accusing the Wings of tanking after YEARS of a downhill slide but justified the Habs going from the Stanley Cup Final to...that. An asterisk season is not an excuse. And how convenient they get the pick we have repeatedly and honestly suffered to earn. Not that we needed it, of course, Yzerplan and all, but just another example of the National Hockey Injustice League at work.
Old friends: Madison Bowey, Mitchell Stephens, and our favorite duo saying “Muntreal”.
What else to hate: The fans, every time Zadina doesn’t score against them, Juraj Slafkovsky as a concept even if as a person he rescues orphans from trees and adopts cats, the fans again, people who never shut up about Cole Caufield.
Tampa Bay Lightning
2021-2022 record: 51-23-8; When will we see them? Dec. 6, Dec. 21, Feb. 25
I thought about just saying “Fuuuu...n. Let’s Have Fun Hating the Bolts!” and moving on. Because really, the Bolts are the Bolts. They have their core guys, they have themselves on the top of lots of people’s prediction lists, they’re just the same old Bolts facing down the icy stare of the void from which all chronic injuries are born.
They are a team riding on the power of “if”. If they can stay healthy, if the rest of the Atlantic behaves as expected, if Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brian Elliott can play out of their minds at critical moments...
Old friends: The ghost of Steve Yzerman’s GM moves, Jeff Blashill, Vlad Namestnikov, Gemel Smith
What to hate: Every time someone writes another “here’s why they’ll win it again!” article, Corey Perry, Corey Perry’s face, Steven Stamkos hype (boring), Bolts Twitter, everything about them in general even if you can’t quite put your finger on why you just know you hate them.
And obviously, I’m going to mention Kronwall’s Game 7 suspension (one of my primary grudges). That’s how you know it’s really me writing this.
Toronto Maple Leafs
2021-2022 record: 54-21-7; When will we see them? Nov. 28, Jan. 7
I’ve barely read anything about the Leafs and I’m already sick of the Leafs. The team, in a bubble, isolated from everyone, is maybe not even that horrible. But the Leafs are not isolated, they bring their whole floating garbage barge around with them that, to be fair, is often viler to the team than any of us could be. Which is always very funny.
Like the Bolts, it’s just the same old, same old as far as narratives and predictions. Blah blah blah This Player Is Elite blah blah blah Playoff shoo-in blah blah blah Second Round Here We Come blah blah blah pffffft.
Old friends: Calle Jarnkrok, Keith Petruzzelli
What to hate: The fans, THE FANS, the media, no Calder conversations to make Michael Bunting jokes, Mitch Marner hype, Jake Muzzin (yes I remember the Mantha throwdown), the fans again, having to cheer for whatever dumb team is playing the Leafs in the first round of the playoffs because nothing is more important than committing to the bit, “this time it’s going to be different” think pieces.
I was going to put Auston Matthews’ head but I do kind of admire how much he is leaning into the creepy drunk uncle vibe. Letting evolution take its course and not fighting the inevitable. We can all learn.
Interlude: And now for a little self-reflection...
Detroit Red Wings
2021-2022 record: 32-40-10; When will we see them? Every waking moment and sometimes in our nightmares.
I don’t need to tell you there were some big changes in Hockeytown this offseason, and everything is looking better than last year. Expectations vary, if we could just not have humiliating 5+ goal losses all the time that would be terrific. A lot of people are aiming their dreams higher at that last playoff spot.
Old friends: all our new friends, who will become old friends very soon
What to hate: ourselves, each other, national writers, national broadcasts, player names being mispronounced, one of your favorite special boys being sent to Grand Rapids (or traded later), The Woo, the goal horn, people complaining about the Woo and the goal horn, ads on jerseys (TBD, but the letter switching sides is a strong indicator)
WE ARE PERFECT AND LOVABLE.
Now we get to the teams that take some effort, at least for me, to properly hate when they aren’t sharing our ice.
If you find you have some strong reasons to hate these teams, please share in the comments so we may all sip the bitter nectar of disdain.
2021-2022 record: 58-18-6; When will we see them? Dec. 8, Jan. 6
Their big off-season splash was picking up Matthew Tkachuk and bringing in a new coach. Not broke, don’t fix it, etc. The Panthers haven’t done much to inspire deep-seated loathing for me when we aren’t playing them. There is another Florida team to hate so sometimes I even forget about the Panthers’ existence. Even when they’re the “best team”, they’re forgettable.
Old friends: Marc Staal from Thunder Bay, Ontario.
What to hate: Radko Gudas the Rat King of the rat team, Nick Cousins for a reason I don’t remember but I just do, Sergei Bobrovsky on principle, and how we keep losing to them (especially on national broadcasts and losing by a billion goals).
I reserve the right to hate them more later, but it’s important to pace yourself. Always give a little hate to each team, but don’t waste what could be directed at a more deserving team. Save it for game day.
2021-2022 record: 32-39-11; When will we see them? Oct. 31, Nov. 30, Dec. 29
The Sabres, barring divine intervention, are most likely going to be worse than last year when most would say they over-performed. Their offseason moves were trading unflavored seltzer for sparkling water. They are kind of rebuilding but haven’t gotten it figured out yet. Older core, young guns rising through the ranks, that’s how it goes. However, depending on the 41-year-old Craig Anderson and our good buddy Eric Comrie to defend the net is certainly a choice.
Old friends: Riley Sheahan, Eric Comrie
What to hate: There are a couple of players where I see their names and am like “I hate this guy” but I can’t remember why (e.g. Jeff Skinner, Dylan Cozens). I’m prepared to hate them later for somehow spoiling our 1% chance of making the playoffs by losing to the wrong team, but right now we have the better rebuild so who cares what their fans say (assuming they have fans)
Also, I hate Zemgus Girgensons for not being an eccentric NPC who is the worst wizard ever and needs your help to find his familiar (a talking frog named Belenor B. Bellowguts)
2021-2022 record: 32-42-7; When will we see them? December. Dec. 17, Dec. 23, Dec. 31
After another disappointing season, the Senators were busy over the summer trying to build something that isn’t a teetering tower of torture and trauma. Alex DeBrincat, Claude Giroux, and Cam Talbot are among the additions. Tyler Ennis, Michael Del Zotto, and Matt Murray are among the subtractions.
Old friends: None?
What to hate: Brady Tkachuk and Mathieu Joseph, to start. I don’t really remember why I don’t like them, but I’m scraping the bottom of the bitter biscuits barrel here because the Sens are another team I only remember to hate when we’re playing them.
Because a lot of the time, the Sens are actually pretty funny. They fly under the radar or rather cruise in their submarine around the bottom of the rankings where the Wings octopus has been hanging out, and then do something chaotic, hilarious (i.e. something that makes teams we really hate look bad), incredibly stupid, or all of the above to grab some headlines.
Like that time they tried to kill their fans by dropping lead beach balls on them (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration, but not that much).
Sara’s Official Atlantic Hate Divisions
Perfect and Beautiful: Red Wings
The Absolute Worst: Bruins, Lightning
The Absolute Worst (in meters and litres): Maple Leafs, Canadiens
The Panthers: Panthers
Starving Demon Locked in a Cellar: Senators
Armed and Not Dangerous Wildlife: Sabres