Thursday, June 2, 2011



I don't know for whom to root in the Stanley Cup final.

I also didn't know who I wanted to win the Eastern Conference final. Whoever I started to side with immediately began to lose, so for Game 7, I just didn't care. I mainly wanted an 18-overtime game so everyone on both teams would collapse and die.

Once the final four was determined, I hoped San Jose would win the Stanley Cup. I knew the Sharks wouldn't, because, well, they're the Sharks. But they were by far the least evil of the remaining squads. Unlike many, I bear no rancor towards Dany Heatley, and people would have to explain to me who else is hateable on that team, besides Ben Eager.

In some alternate universe, surely, San Jose moved on to the final. I don't live in that one, however. So I'm stuck with picking the Canucks or the Bruins.

More likely, I'm picking no one.

I didn't really care about Vancouver a few years ago; my team doesn't play in the West, and with the unbalanced schedule, I rarely saw the Canucks play. Then they came to Pittsburgh a couple years ago and immediately vaulted into my top three hated teams rankings, given all the post-whistle and cheap-shot shit they liked to pull.

However, time healed those wounds because, again, there's just no consistent play between the two. Other teams leapfrogged Vancouver in my rankings, so it became, meh.

Despite that, there are still obvious reasons to hate the Canucks. Alex Burrows. Raffi Torres. Kevin Bieksa's kind of a dick. Alain Vigneault is so slimy he should star in the next Ghostbusters movie.

Then there's the xenophobia thing. U-S-A, U-S-A, and all that. Frankly though, I don't really care what country wins the Stanley Cup. Ryan Kesler, for all his American goodness, is also an effective douchebag. Then there's Roberto Luongo, the Italian-looking French Canadien with the Spanish-sounding name.

Actually, I can't say I hate Luongo either. He certainly didn't impress me in the Olympics - I think Canada won despite him, not because of him; he was just along for the ride - so I still question his big-gameness. He's been very good lately though, and the Bob Luongo jokes from me stop if he befriends Lord Stanley.

I won't make any apologies for this, but I can support the Green Men. I for one find them amusing.

I guess the biggest reason to root against Vancouver is the non-Green Men part of the fan base. I've heard a number of people make wisecracks - or perhaps, predictions - that after the final, Vancouver will be destroyed - and that's in celebration of winning the Cup, not the despair of losing it. So there's that.

On the other hand, I can't imagine the Boston fan base will be any better. Bruins games on NESN with Jack Edwards would be completely unbearable to watch; the over/under for how many times Edwards would reference the Cup win each game is roughly set at 234098743290. (I must not watch enough Vancouver games, but I don't think that team's announcers are nearly as bad as Edwards.)

Plus, hasn't Boston won enough shit lately? An NBA title, two World Series and three Super Bowls in the last decade.

I should root for former Penguins on Boston like Andrew Ference and Mark Recchi. But to hell with that. Ference I can support; not Recchi any more, as much as that pains me to say. Recchi was an awesome member of the Pens 20 years ago, and very valuable in winning the 1991 Stanley Cup. But his second stanza with the team ended poorly, with rumored vindictiveness towards Sidney Crosby. And don't say it was just a veteran trying to be a leader; when Bill Guerin was called in to perform a similar role, the team flourished.

Not only that, Recchi's kind of become a cranky old bastard in his dotage.

The biggest reason, for me, to root against Boston is ESPN's pop culture guru, podcaster and occasional columnist the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. A Boston native, Simmons - who I normally love, unless he's writing/talking about Boston sports - has apparently jumped on the Bruins bandwagon. Like, 10 minutes ago.

He'll diagram an entire quarter of some random NBA game in January, and spend hours poring over a Western Conference NBA playoff game, but the hockey talk from him is severely lacking. I get part of it; basketball is his preferred sport. It just irks me that now, of all times, he's talking hockey.

In fairness, Simmons used to enjoy hockey until owner Jeremy Jacobs started nickel-and-diming the team. I can support that. The drafting of Tyler Seguin is what apparently brought him back, though he claims the hard salary cap did as well. Not that he's followed the Bruins really since the lockout, at least not until this year.

Just as I don't care for the patriotism of rooting for the American team against the Canadian one, I also don't buy into the East vs. West conference thing. What, the Eastern Conference winning the Stanley Cup is supposed to make me feel better about the Penguins losing in the first round? Does it validate their season that they lost to the team that lost to the champion?

So the reasons for me rooting for the Bruins are severely lacking. I like Patrice Bergeron. I like Dennis Seidenberg. I'm ambivalent towards Tim Thomas. I can't really add anything else to the "pro" list. Just cons.

I guess one other reason why I might want Boston to win is because I feel a small measure of guilt over what Matt Cooke did to Marc Savard. However, I can argue that away by saying karma got us back in the form of David Steckel.

All I really know is I'm not going to like who raises the Stanley Cup. The best part about the 2011 final that I can say is at least it's not Detroit against Philadelphia or Washington.

Otherwise, I'd have to drive my car off a cliff.


Nick in New York said...

It's really a pretty simple decision: you can root for a team with a biter, a prima donna goalie, several divers, a bunch of whiners and a coach who always looks like he thinks you're a moron, or your can root for the Bruins.

KiPA - Kevin in PA said...

Not rooting for anyone. My disdain for Boston sports, Simmons (who on Twitter today bashed someone in Vancouver for homer journalism; he had a point, but Simmons wrote the book on homer journalism) and Edwards, is at least as great as my scorn for the BS shenanigans Vancouver pulls. I'm not going to be happy regardless of who wins. Maybe I'll even do the unthinkable and not watch a game here or there, or even the rest of the series.