Let me explain my pedigree: I'm a Los Angeles-based sports fan. Cut my teeth on all five of the major team sports, and in the only city which has two major college football teams, I've always been partial to the USC Trojans.
Even though I'm a Kings fan first and foremost (and don't think that's not a burden), I was able to appreciate the way the Canadiens teams of the '70s played the game. I also appreciated the fact that in their relationship with Boston, Montreal was the one holding the leash and the Bruins were wearing the collar.
Since the Bruin name is shared by both the Boston hockey team as well as the university of california, los angeles (ucla—lower case by insulting intention) that is a major strike against them.
Add into the mix a hard fought playoff series in 1975 that went seven games between my Kings and the Bruins which burns in a reservoir of hate to this day.
There are the other affronts from Boston against my sporting objectives such as the misery of the Red Sox in the '70s and their inability to dispose of the Yankees. I cut the Sox loose after Bucky Dent. Also standing are the atrocities inflicted on my Lakers by the Celtics, far too numerous and gruesome to go into detail.
Of more recent vintage is the Snowjob, the clay feet upon which the whole Patriots dynasty is built. A fraudulent and capricious conspiracy between the NFL and New England to deny the Raiders their deserved victory. At least it can keep the '75 playoffs company.
All this sits in contrast to the many Boston-area members of this community. I have to admit some surprise at how many quality folks there are in here from that subset of the sporting world. It is necessary to separate the fan from their team and give them the respect they are due.
The same holds true for many who call Northern California home, in spite of their sordid support of the San Francisco Giants. It is a bit of a shock to the system that I consider many to be knowledgeable friends.
But to come back to the here and now, the No. 1-seeded Bruins facing the No. 8-seeded Canadiens. No matter the records, no matter the internal team strife, no matter anything else—this is the Canadiens against the Bruins. Montreal vs. Boston. I expect the Canadiens to live up to their heritage and find a way to dispose of the Bruins.
To use the catchphrase of a certain sportscaster in the employ of Fox, "It's who they are, it's what they do." Go Habs!!!