Top 5 Reasons NHL Fans Should Root Against Boston Bruins
Some NHL fans just want to see good competition once their teams are eliminated. But most are picking sides in the 2013 Stanley Cup finals.
Obviously, fans of the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins will root for their own teams. Many other fans have a team they like or dislike to root for or against, such as the Detroit Red Wings fan I talked to who cannot root for her Central Division rival, the Blackhawks, she has hated too long.
Normally, that would be fine. This season, however, it is truly the wrong choice.
Certainly this will receive the ire and ridicule of Boston, but the rest of the world should root against the Eastern Conference champion for the following five reasons.
More Recent Champion
The final five teams remaining in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs were the last five winners. One of the last teams to be eliminated, the San Jose Sharks, never won the Cup and should have been the fan pick to offer some variety.
That would show the NHL to have more parity than even the NFL, with 10 different champions in the last 10 seasons. These two leagues are seeing elevated popularity because it is more interesting for more fans if they feel their teams will get a turn at the top.
The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup the season before last. The Chicago Blackhawks won the season before that. It may only be a one-year difference, but it is the best we can get.
Western Conference Travel Schedule
The Eastern Conference already has an unfair advantage over the Western Conference. It goes far beyond the ridiculous East Coast bias for awards (as outlined well by Fear the Fin), air time and thus merchandise.
The entire conference is in one time zone, while their counterpart travels over four that includes some division foes two time zones away from others. Logging a lot of miles not only reduces jet lag, but allows time for about a dozen more practices in a typical season.
Eastern Conference Competition
To make matters worse, the competition for the Campbell Trophy is tougher than it is for the Prince of Wales Trophy.
In the past four seasons, five non-playoff teams in the Western Conference finished with better records than Eastern Conference playoff teams, including three in 2010. They had eight of the top 12 or 13 records in the NHL before 2013, when they still had five of the top eight.
Overall, three President's Trophy winners came from the west. Playoff teams averaged more than two more points a piece and the conference in general earned 117 more points over the four seasons.
Instigators are the worst players. They dive, slash, trip, slew-foot, hook and high-stick their way to victory. They do not represent sportsmanship and endanger their opponents, often lacking the courage to drop the gloves to give the opposition a way to penalize them when the referees will not.
The Chicago Blackhawks do not have many of these players. But when the NBC broadcast wanted to show Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara's at the best player's most effective, three "highlights" involved slashing an opponent away from the play and thus the eyes of the refs.
Yet he is nowhere near the worst offender. Brad Marchand may be in a class just below the likes of Matt Cooke, Raffi Torres, Steve Ott and Corey Perry for cowardly and dangerous shenanigans.
None of the above would be enough to make rooting against the Boston Bruins the only choice. What ends this debate is owner Jeremy Jacobs.
Most reports had him as the most hard-line owner during the second NHL lockout in eight years. He was not doing much to dispute the claims, either.
Remember, they opted out of the last agreement—the one Jeremy Roenick referred to as the owners kicking the players' (tails) on—to force the season into suspension. Then they took about a quarter more of the remaining player share, going from paying 75 percent to under 50 percent over the course of two collective bargaining agreements.
The last thing any NHL fan—maybe even some in Boston—should want is to reward the guy that forced them to miss over 40 percent of the season and a chance at inter-conference play with a Stanley Cup.
MJ Kasprzak was the original Bleacher Report community leader for the Green Bay Packers and San Jose Sharks and now professionally covers the latter as well as Bay Area Christian issues for Examiner.com.