Following up a bit on the always quality Kent Basky in today's Brunch, and with the latest contrived or not #embracethehate narrative with Jesse Winchester and "Gategate", I thought it time for a follow up on how teams keep the dream alive.
Of course, a lot of it is that, like Kesler said on the subject here, they play them hard, and that includes everyone on the team. Playing teams hard and finishing your checks is going to piss some off. For the life of me as a lifelong hockey fan, I don't get it. The level of whining is ridiculous.
Its not that teams and players did not communicate disdain and hate in the NHL's past. From Maurice Richard swinging a stick and starting a riot, to Dale Hunter really, really hating Pierre Turgeon's goal celebration, and on through to such standards as Claude Lemeiux making Kris Draper's face break, there is no lack of hate and hateful acts in the NHL.
So why is it that every team lately needs to make the narrative so prominent? I guess a big part could be the internet and sports being a great union for the proliferation of any opinion. Is it just because the team we cheer for deserves to be hated for being a great hockey team? Or that some of our own fans share your disbelief? Our fans are still steadfast in the bipolar belief that the team will ; A/ Win a Cup in glorious fashion or B/ Be robbed of same in some devious and horrible fashion. And injuries...and Gary Bettman hates us.
Exploring the thought after the break...we've got some time before puck drop right?
This is not some excuse blog either. Alexandre Burrows did have a little nosh, and while I am sure Maxim Lapierre was only having some fun with a fellow QMJHL alum and not taunting him as the Boston media made a "fact" of, the die was set on that particular slant on the story for a great number of media. Fine. But like this guy, it is a contrived and almost preset narrative for unimaginative writers.
From this Canuck side, I don't get that with Alexandre Burrows. His story is one the NHL should make known as a treatise on hard work and will to believe your talent is good enough when everyone is telling you otherwise. Instead of a reputation that may be deserved for some of the acts on the ice, but not the player off of it. One of the best stories in the NHL, and it never gets told. I get that his 100% effort style on the ice can rub a few the wrong way. But he is still always going to be one of my favorite players on the team. Hair pulling, biting, faking son of a bitch that he is. Because every hockey team in the NHL has at least one of them. Maybe not as notorious, but he does always try to be the best at what he does right?!
Maxim Lapierre plays the same all out style as AMFB, but he cannot be that hated here already can he? they have only had him through half of last year and this one. Maybe he is just that good. Again. I have no doubt that it hurt when Zdeno Chara gave him a poke, but is he the first player to try and draw a penalty in the NHL? Give it a rest Jack.
Ryan Kesler is an interesting subject in this regard as well. His talk and style of play when he first came into the league drew that kind of critique. From being a Terror Twin to becoming one of the top American stars in the game, it is interesting to see him thrown into that articles about "Canuck Hate and Why It's a Good Thing" sometimes, because while he still might try to draw a call now and again ( again, watch all the teams play. People are doing the same in every game, and its usually stars as big and bigger ), but so what? By all accounts, he has made a pretty good effort at keeping the talk and post whistle scrums to a minimum. Yet he plays on this team, so %$&# him right?
Honestly though, I get why some fans of other teams hate Kevin Bieksa though. His style of play and his wonderful "quote machine" enjoyment of the vocal aspects of the game that has developed as his game has progressed is a favorite part of looking for any new Bieksa interviews. The animal nickname trio of judges admitted to is hilarious. I love that the triumvirate is all defensemen as well. But really, to the fans of any team in the NHL, you would love him as much as we do here if he was in the room, and your media would flock around him with the intensity that ours does every damn day.
The same thing, every team wanting them on their team, applies to the Sedins as well. I get that you can hate a player(s) on another team for how they always seem to destroy your team. The Flames fans are at the resigned to it, "they are going to kill us" fatalism that I remember feeling as a fan when Wayne Gretzky would come into Pacific Coliseum and toy with the Canuck teams back then. Its part of the game. I can even understand the Hawks fans and their dire hatred of Henrik over his words after the 1st round last year, but again, so what? He did not say anything that had not been said the other way, and he was just being the captain of his team. It is actually the aspect of Canuck Hate that peeves me the most, to be honest. There is no other player in the NHL like these two in regards to community involvement, sincere charity, and for fans of the game, the very admirable trait of facing the cameras win or lose, after every game. These two have never ducked the media in any city like athletes on every team ( including ours) do regularly.
The Thing One and Two thing is fun, the "Sisters" thing very passe`, but the inclusion in the "diving" narrative is a bit weak. I am not saying that they have not tried to draw a call in the past. Like I said, it happens in every damn game in the league. Hell, in any sport. We all saw this right? But both of them are the primary focus of defenders on any team, they take a hell of a lot of physical punishment with out getting the call sometimes, and they never complain about it. yeah, real bastards. Back to Back Adams and Hart Trophy finalist ( and did not Daniel win the Pearson Lindsay Trophy that year anyway ) bastards.
So, I get the hate for the way that they play. It is normal in this sport anyway. Its not new, and it is no big real in a sport with no out of bounds, a weapon in your hands, and where violence is encouraged and rewarded. I get having a reputation for certain events and whatnot.
But honestly, even though I am a fan of the team in question, I don't get it. The team I see, and that any fan of the game that can set aside what the media has insisted they see, is, one of the most talented, jaw dropping teams in the league. They play with speed. They finish their checks and play a 200' game. The Sedins are worth the ticket in any arena just for watching them on the power play. ( did you hear the ooohs and aaaahs from the Bell Centre crowd last game?) Ryan Kesler, young Cody Hodgson, Burrows and others all play a game that is every bit the antidote to the trapping teams. Get past the Canuck Hate if you can folks. Its a fun team to watch.
It is funny though when it is now a contrived attack from writers in San Fransisco, when they ignore that their captain did this...
It gets to be a bit much. #EmbraceTheHate.