Saturday, November 25, 2006


Good Clean Hate

Much has been written about the Caps-Thrashers brouhaha the other night, enough so that I don't really find myself with anything to add about the last couple minutes of the game (other than to say while on the one hand I can't defend Andy Sutton, on the other this wasn't exactly Hunter-on-Turgeon in terms of historic injustices). Instead, I'll note a positive (for me, at least) outgrowth of the whole batch of hurt feelings.

Now, finally, the Thrashers have a good rivalry. I've noted in the past that the Southeastern division suffers from a lack of hate. I was a moderate Caps fan in pre-Thrashers days, owing to spending a lot of time with friends in DC. I've always had a sort of quiet respect for the Hurricanes (or not-so-quiet, in the case of Frankie Kaberle). I don't really mind one way or the other about the Lightning. I frequently forget the Panthers exist. It's tough to get a good frothing rage worked up about any.

But this -- this is a watershed. Glen Hanlon flapping his arms? An old-fashioned donnybrook at the end of the game? (yeah, the Thrashers lost that, but they won the game, suckas!) People outraged? Priceless! Wunderbar! Bring it on!

"Us" isn't so much fun without "them." Now the Thrashers aren't just facing a collection of faceless teams intent on depriving them of victory -- now they have a good healthy enemy.

The Capitals fans are upset about a perceived pattern of dirty play by the Thrashers, noting that their players were all advocates of Gandhi until Sutton forced their hand. I can't really quarrel with that. We all tend to see our guys as choirboys (as an Avalanche fan, I still wonder how exactly Kris Draper messed his face up in '96). Some fan anger just builds the rivalry.

Everyone's commented on the negatives that came out of Wednesday night's game -- the suspensions, the fines, the heated words that everyone will end up regretting, undoubtedly. I prefer to look at it as something that's made the NHL's forgotten corner a bit more interesting.

Just for some old school fun, a YouTube clip I've dug up before: the Nords-Canadiens Good Friday Massacre of 1984. Linked rather than embedded because some goofball has flagged it as "inappropriate content." Makes Caps-Thrashers look like capture the flag.

It's true - I grew up with a healthy hatred for the Penguins, Rangers, etc. and have had a hard time adjusting to the Southeast Division's lack of venom. But this Caps-Thrashers rivalry has intensified over the last two seasons and went to a new level Wednesday night with all the fisticuffs. I can't speak for other Caps fans, but I definitely have December 15th (the next matchup) circled on my calendar!
There used to be a second copy of the video with a French title/description that isn't flagged. Can't find it now.
No luck, but I did find a two-part video of the '87 pre-game brawl between the Habs and Flyers. Note Guy Carbonneau's pornstache in Part II, as well as the total lack of referees for about 10 minutes.
It doesn't help us Canucks fans that we have no real geographical rival. Calgary has Edmonton, the California teams have each other, and Colorado/Detroit built their rivalry years ago. What do we have? Minnesota? they kick our asses all the time and then we sign their players for more than they are worth... that's probably why Canucks fans are so negative to our own team. We don't have a true rival to get pissy about.

Of course, hating the Leafs is not optional (unless you are a Leafs fan, in case you are not forgiven).
Well, you had Calgary last year, kinda, 'cause of the playoffs. How much has that carried over?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?