For the last Bruins-Canadiens game, lilybraden of Stanley Cup of Chowder and I exchanged questions and answers about our two teams. Since our teams are meeting again this weekend, we've decided to team up again, but rather than do a Q and A, we're going to talk about why this rivalry means more to us than the ones our teams have with anyone else. And yes, I know the Habs are playing the Penguins first, but there's no rivalry there, in my opinion, and also I didn't want to do this with a Penguins fan because that would involve having to talk to a Penguins fan. Anyway, here's mine, Heather's is now up on Stanley Cup of Chowder, and it's awesome.
"So... do you guys hate us as much as we hate you?"
This is a question I get asked fairly often by fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The answer is always an immediate "no."
I mean, don't get me wrong, Leafs fans. I hate you plenty. I just don't hate you as much as I hate the Bruins and their fans, and I don't know if I ever will.
Berkshire got a lot of flack a few weeks ago for saying the Leafs aren't really rivals, and that that rivalry is more fan and media driven than on-ice driven. I both agree and disagree with him. The teams just haven't been good at the same time, so it's hard to have any kind of on-ice rivalry. The fan and media driven rivalry is a little different. I think it counts for more than Andrew thinks it does.
I mean, I get how much you hate us. And I get why. We just don't hate you, or your team, as much as you hate us and ours.
The best way I can describe the feeling to Leafs fans is this: you know how your hatred for the Canadiens is never more intense than after a humiliating loss to the Habs, say on home ice? That is how I feel about the Bruins when the Canadiens win. A playoff elimination game.
Obviously, a big part of it is the history and frequency of the matchups. Over on SCoC before the last Habs-Bruins game, another one of their lovely bloggers, ecozens, wrote a delicious history post about how the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry began. If you haven't read it yet, I want a 500-word essay on why.
You'd think you'd get sick of seeing the same ugly faces so many times a year and then again in the playoffs. You'd think you'd get sick of losing to the same ugly faces so many times (this goes for both sides, obviously).
But then the Canadiens don't make the playoffs, and the NHL lockout happens, and you go almost a full calendar year without a Habs-Bruins game and you realize there is nothing you love more, because there is nobody you will ever hate more.
- Not the Leafs, unless the teams start really challenging each other instead of randomly gong show dominating each other. And then, when they start doing that, and possibly start meeting in the playoffs, lather rinse repeat for about 80 or 90 years and we'll talk.
- Not the Penguins, because one unexpected playoff upset does not a rivalry make.
- Not the Capitals, because one unexpected playoff upset does not a rivalry make.
- Not the Flyers, which was a Twitter response I got, because one unexpected playoff upset in 2008 and one expected playoff dismantling in 2010 plus stuff that happened like what, 40 years ago or whatever who cares, does not a rivalry make.
- Not the Blackhawks, despite the history, even though that would be so cool.
- Not the Senators, because LOL.
- Not the Sabres, because LOL.
Boston leads this one by miles and decades.
So bring it on, Bruins. Any time you want, every time you want. Nothing is better.