The 5 Biggest Villains in Boston Bruins History

Michael SmithContributor IIIAugust 19, 2013

The 5 Biggest Villains in Boston Bruins History

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    For every hero, there's a villain, and every person has an enemy. Superman has Lex Luthor, Allen Iverson had practice, P.J. Carlesimo had Latrell Sprewell and Lamar Odom has Totino's Pizza Rolls.

    Bruins fans know who their heroes are. But who are the enemies of the storied franchise? Which players have inflicted the most pain (literally and figuratively) on Boston and its fans?

    Here are the five biggest villains in Boston Bruins history.

     

Ken Dryden

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    Dryden is the outlier in this list; he did nothing dirty or malicious to draw the ire of Bruins fans. The Cornell graduate makes the list because he always beat the Bruins in the playoffs.

    Dryden only played seven full seasons in the NHL, but he helped eliminate the B's four times in the playoffs in that span, including twice in the Stanley Cup Final.

    The series in which Dryden had the biggest influence was the 1971 quarterfinals. The Bruins finished with the best record in the league and Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr finished 1-2 in the scoring race. However, Dryden, who had been called up as a rookie just weeks earlier, helped Montreal upset the Bruins in seven games en route to his first of six Stanley Cups.

    He was between the pipes in 1977 and 1978 when the Habs beat the Bruins in consecutive Stanley Cup Finals. By that time, Montreal was in the midst of a dynasty, and Dryden's solid play in net and was a key factor in the Canadiens winning four straight Cups from '76-79.

    In his final season in 1978-79, he once against defeated Boston in the playoffs, this time in a dramatic seven game series in the semifinals (a seventh game known for Boston's too many men penalty).

Alexandre Burrows

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    Alex Burrows was hungry for a Stanley Cup Championship in 2011 and took a play out of Mike Tyson's playbook.

    During a scrum at the end of the first period of Game 1, Burrows clamped his teeth down on Bergeron's glove as if it was a chicken wing. Bergeron complained to officials right away, but an additional penalty was not given to Burrows.

    The worst part, however, was the aftermath of the incident. After Game 1, the NHL announced it would not discipline Burrows for his actions and that he was allowed to play in the second game of the series. 

    Burrows took advantage of being in the lineup for Game 2 and scored two goals, including the overtime winner just 11 seconds into the extra session to give the Canucks a 2-1 win and a 2-0 series lead.

    The bite itself, his denial of it and his two goals in Game 2 made Burrows a villain for the rest of the series. When the series shifted to Boston, other Bruins came to Bergeron's defense by sticking their gloves into the faces of Canucks players attempting mock Burrows and goad Vancouver into penalties. Boston coach Claude Julien eventually told his team to cut it out.

    In addition to a sweaty glove, Burrows was left with the taste of Boston holding the Stanley Cup on his home ice.

     

Scott Walker

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    Carolina Hurricanes winger Scott Walker cemented his place among Boston's most hated sports figures back in 2009. He didn't just screw the Bruins once. He did it twice.

    Near the end of a 4-0 Bruins victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Walker sucker punched defenseman Aaron Ward and sent him crumpling to the ice.

    Walker was not suspended by the league after pleading his case to disciplinarian Colin Campbell. In a statement released by the Hurricanes, Walker said, "Based on what was said on the ice as I was dropping my gloves, it was my understanding that I was engaged in an altercation." He was fined $2,500.

    Ward told reporters that Walker's claim was "a convenient story that the NHL accepted."

    But the drama wasn't over yet.

    Like Alex Burrows in 2011, the villain took advantage of staying in the lineup. Game 7 went to overtime, and Walker scored the game-winning goal to send the Canes to the Eastern Conference Finals and end Boston's season.

    If the cheap shot wasn't egregious enough to get Bruins fans riled up, they certainly were after the conclusion of the series. It's understandable for Bruins fans to still hold a grudge against Walker.

     

Matt Cooke

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    In 2010, Matt Cooke already had the reputation as a dirty player. He only added to his legacy with a blindside hit on fan favorite Marc Savard that sent the Bruin off the ice on a stretcher.

    Cooke wasn't suspended for his actions, and yet his hit was the catalyst for the NHL to amends its rules to have harsher penalties for hits to the head and more clearly define the criteria for such a penalty. The hypocrisy shown by the NHL in that case is still something that bewilders fans.

    Savard returned to the lineup two months later for the second round of the playoffs but hasn't played since early 2011 after suffering another concussion. 

    Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton defended Savard by fighting Cooke in the teams' next matchup, and Cooke hears it from the TD Garden crowd whenever he has the puck in Boston.

    Savard had 88 points in the season before getting injured, and he showed no signs of slowing down. For such a great player to be injured so badly by a player with Cooke's history will never be forgotten by Bruins fans.

Ulf Samuelsson

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    Cam Neely was one of the most beloved figured in Bruins history. After being traded from Vancouver to Boston, he established himself as one of the top goal scorers in the league and teamed up with Ray Bourque to lead the B's to two Stanley Cup Final appearances in 1988 and 1990.

    But his career changed forever in the 1991 Wales Conference Finals when he was dealt a nasty knee-on-knee check by Ulf Samuelsson. Neely missed most of the next two seasons and eventually developed a condition called myositis ossificans, which is calcification of injured muscle. 

    He managed to score 50 goals in a rejuvenated 1993-94 season despite only playing 49 games due to lingering injuries resulting from Samuelsson's hit. He would play in less than 50 games in each of the next two seasons and ultimately retired in 1996 at the age of 31.

    After hitting Neely, Samuelsson went on to win the Stanley Cup a couple of weeks later and scored the Cup-winning goal in a 8-0 victory against the Minnesota North Stars. He followed that up with another championship the very next season. He played until 2000, racking up almost 2,500 penalty minutes in 1,080 games.

    The nature of the hit, the reputation of Samuelsson and the love of Neely makes Samuelsson the biggest villain in Bruins history. Add the fact that Samuelsson won two Cups and and Neely's career was cut short makes it that much harder to accept.