All Aboard! Eastbound Bandwagons are now leaving the station

Breaking down the pros and cons in the Eastern Conference to help find your perfect bandwagon.

Glad tidings to you gentle Red Wings fans! If you are choosing to watch non-Wings hockey but have not selected your bandwagon team, perhaps we here at WIIM can be of some assistance?

See what’s going for and against teams of the Eastern Conference and let us know who you’re bandwagoning. Plot twist, you may just find yourselves bandwagoning certain scenarios as much as individual teams this year...

Boston Bruins

The championship drought in The Best Sports City has gone on for MONTHS. It’s finally their time!

Why to bandwagon: We’re years removed from full-on feuding with the Bruins fanbase, so they aren’t the worst people to join as an enemy of The Enemy. It takes a lot to make the Bruins the lesser of two evils, however you may hate other teams (and their fans) enough to want the Bruins to take them down. You may also have a soft spot in your heart for old man Zdeno Chara.

Or, Gord help you, you’re actually a local and it’s not worth the fistfights to cheer against them. But you know what? I wore a Wings hat around campus in Massachusetts during Bruins v. Wings playoffs, so don’t be intimidated YOU COWARDS.

Why to hate: Boston as a city could stand to be taken down about 15.7 pegs. It’s tough to cheer for a team that includes Brad Marchand, David Backes, et al. The Bruins fall into the category of “still mad” as, unless you’re a relatively new fan, you probably still scowl when you think back to the playoffs a few years ago.

Not to mention the decades of history before that. Hell, maybe you think Bobby Orr is ever so slightly overrated. There aren’t really any wrong reasons to hate the Bruins.

WIIM mood: It’s a big no from Mike B. who, despite being a “totally functioning adult”, is holding tight to grudges from days gone by. Jack is a firm no. I am also a no, yes it’s true the Leafs being bounced in the first round would delight me however I feel like there is more fun chaos to witness if the Leafs stick around.

Along that same argument though is Jamie as a yes-ish, in that hatred of the Leafs overrules the hatred of Boston.

And while they didn’t explicitly state it, I’m going to say that J.J., Peter, and Lauren would rather be attacked by one-hundred Witkowski-sized bears wearing bee costumes than support Boston.

Carolina Hurricanes

Don’t these jerks deserve a Stanley Cup that people will remember they won?

Why to bandwagon: What’s not to like about these bunch of jerks? They’ve been out of the playoffs for a decade, so they aren’t carrying an inflated ego, just that plucky underdog spirit. The Storm Surge has been great fun, they’ve promised to wear black at home, their team Twitter is among the best, and Andrei Svechnikov is the brother of our own Evgeny Svechnikov (in a literal way, not just a Hulk Hogan way).

We may even owe them for the 2002 Finals binging us one of the greatest goals in Wings history -- Larionov’s 3OT winner. Those Canes held their own against arguably the greatest team of all time, and then won the Cup in 2006, however those are two facts that few people ever remember.

Why to hate: You think the Storm Surge was disrespectful to the noble sport of hockey and not #classy. You hold a grudge against Petr Mrazek or still hate the Kings and therefore Justin Williams.  Maybe you can’t muster up enough emotions to love them or hate them, they’re just a team that’s there. You need them to lose to clear the way for the Caps to take the Back2Back thunder away from the Pens and maybe, just maybe, get NBC to stop showing clips of Game 7, 2009 and let the past die.

WIIM mood: J.J., Lauren, and Peter are all in because the Canes make people they don’t like really mad, Mike B. is leaning yes, but is also looking at the chaos factor of some other East teams. I’m a yes, but I won’t be sad if the Caps steamroll them either. Jamie is not against them, but has a difference scenario in mind for the East.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Just go ahead and rename the team to “Oh yeah, THAT guy”

Why to bandwagon: Torts is fun. They have a chance to give the Bolts the ol’ 2005-2006 Red Wings heave-ho out of the playoffs and that would be both hilarious and destroy 99% of brackets. Bobrovsky needs all the support he can get. Panarin could be the story of the series, or their brand shiny new kid Alexandre Texier.

Why to hate: They’re going to get slaughtered by the Bolts and are wildly inconsistent so why waste your energy learning anything about them? But mostly, that damn cannon is SO. ANNOYING.

Staff mood: Jack is a no, he has a complex plot that ends with us getting Michigan man Zach Werenski when Columbus implodes in a fiery death spiral of sads. *Ken Daniels wrestles keyboard from me* LARKIN AND WERENSKI WERE ROOMMATES!!! Jamie is a yes, because the opportunity for Torts soundbites is just too tempting.

No one else cares about the Jackets unless it leads to the humiliation of the Bolts.

New York Islanders

[Indistinguishable yelling through tears of one hundred of the maddest dads]

Why to bandwagon: GO TO HELL TAVARES. Barry Trotz is an angel. Valterri Filppula still plays and still looks like an angel. Devon Toews is NOT related to Jonathan Toews. Isles v. Leafs conference finals would be a nice consolation prize for bracket breaking upsets of the Bolts and Caps and the death of wholesome fun from a Canes exit.

Why to hate: LONG LIVE TAVARES. There are plenty of Isles players you can decide to grudge against if you so choose. Cal Clutterbuck, Andrew Ladd, or how about Matt Martin for disrespecting our Silver Fox? Drew Miller would NEVER dye his hair because he is a perfect creation of our magnificent universe, GOOD DAY SIR.

Really, all of your emotions about the Islanders should be Tavares based. Just like a real Isles fan.

WIIM mood: Jamie is in, if Isles and Caps meet up that gets a nice little Trotz vs. Caps scenario. Peter is in for an Isles v. Canes series. Mike B., J.J., and I are in if the Isles fans can keep up - and even amp up - the insane rage that’s been fueling them all year and then meet up with the Leafs.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Crosby is actually still the most elite and no one gets tired of those highlight clips.

Why to bandwagon: You’re not a Red Wings fan. You want to watch the Caps take out the Pens again, or see the Canes and their fun flatten the decidedly not fun Pens. You hate me more than you love the Red Wings.

Why to hate: You are a Red Wings fan. They are the Penguins. How can you hate the Islanders enough to justify cheering for the Pens?

WIIM mood: Let me put it this way, imagine a horror movie where we have to cheer for the Pens or take our chances trying to escape a bunch of impossible and agonizing traps. We would be asking you to please say something nice at our funerals.

In short - WE. WOULD. NEVER.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Captain built a team that has completely dominated and may be looked upon as one of the greatest teams ever...or the greatest “should’ve” team since the 2005-2006 Red Wings.

Why to bandwagon: S T E V E   Y Z E R M A N. Put personal feelings aside and know in your head that a team this good should be rewarded. They’ve dominated all season and have been within reach of the Cup for years now. The Captain should have this and exit on the highest note possible.

Why to hate: Sorry Steve, if you want another Cup you have to come home and get it. Bolts fans are so irritating and their smug is so thick it’s become a visibility reducing pollutant. Those playoff series are still too fresh and Kronwall’s suspension was bullpoop and everyone knows it.

WIIM mood: Lauren, J.J., and I are Team Grudge. The rest of the crew is generally wavering between “Carolina is fun” and “Tampa has earned it/Yzerman deserves nice things.”

Toronto Maple Leafs

It’s all going to be different this time. THIS TIME IT WILL BE GOOD.

Why to bandwagon: LONG LIVE TAVARES. You hate everything else in Canada. You’re pulling for aforementioned chaos conference final of Leafs vs. Isles. Tronna has suffered for years and years and years and years, maybe time to give them a break. The overly square jaw of Auston Matthews makes you feel safe.

Why to hate: GO TO HELL TAVARES. You don’t need Toronto to be “Canada’s Team”. Mike Babcock pffftttt. Tronna hasn’t suffered enough, they will NEVER have suffered enough. Randomly point at the roster and you probably landed on someone you have reason hate. The rage of the fans if Boston kicks them out again, glorious.

WIIM mood: Mike B. is a no, west Canada is better. Jack is a yes, trying to make us be rational knowing that the Leafs world is large and unfortunately influential which could really help grow the game. Lauren is a hell no. J.J. is a no and wants the Leafs gone before the Isles. I am a shrug because I am thirsty for maximum chaos conference finals but don’t like the Leafs or the Isles, just misery. Peter is a no because STORM SURRRRRRGE.

Washington Capitals

The same lovable rogues from last year, but everyone is kind of over it.

Why to bandwagon: BACK2BACK OVI. Nick Jensen gets the last laugh. Caps need the double revenge against the Pens. More summertime antics. If they beat the Canes might as well take them all the way out of the East because screw those other jerk teams. Jakub Vrana is a bundle of joy. Let the Australian qualify for the engraving YOU COWARDS.

Why to hate: Tom Wilson doing Tom Wilson things. Brooks Orpik existing. Caps had their moment, now be the first group in D.C. to know when it’s time to let new people take over. Having the unmitigated gall to try and stop the Canes’ fun bus. Still mad about the phantom goaltender interference call against Drew Miller. Protect Madison Bowey from watching his former team skate the Cup.

WIIM mood: Jack is in, Ovi is just fun. Lauren is out, eat a moldy hot pocket Tom! Ok, she didn’t say that, but she thought it. Jamie is out, looking for the Isles to get through Round 2 at least. Mike B. is out, there are better narratives to be had. Again, if your primary bandwagon is Canes like J.J. then you’re out by default. My hometown team is the Hershey Bears and my current town team is the Caps so if not the Canes out of the east, then I’m in.

Hop in the comments and tell us what you hope will happen in the Eastern Conference!

Who do you want to see win the East?

Boston Bruins30
Carolina Hurricanes125
Columbus Blue Jackets31
New York Islanders49
Pittsburgh Penguins4
Tampa Bay Lightning134
Toronto Maple Leafs15
Washington Capitals64