13 years ago today, I had my first painful and blunt lesson as a Vancouver Canuck fan when the NY Rangers managed to get one more goal in regulation and down them in seven games to get their first Stanley Cup since man learned to walk upright. At the time I didn't realize, sadly, that it was the closest I would see the Canucks get to the Cup. Like any sound and rational fan, I then planted the seeds of hatred for the Rangers and it felt genuinely great watching them morph into one of the worst teams in hockey in the latter half of the 90's and earlier this decade.
The hatred for Mark Messier in particular grew the second he became a Canuck and I had to stomach watching him wear that uniform and make his silly "guarantees" again. Then Keenan showed up. I could stomach Keenan as a coach since you know what you get with him. His time in Vancouver was interesting to say the least, but getting Bertuzzi and McCabe had a huge payoff since they eventually became Luongo and Henrik Sedin respectively (and Linden was brought back in afterwards thanks to Brian Burke). Nevertheless, watching Keenan dismantle the team and Messier captain it at the same time was about as dark a days as they come.
Fast forward to now: personally, it’s tough to hate the Rangers in the salary cap era since they can’t go on extended shopping sprees anymore (plus having the same guy as coach who was run out during the Messier/Keenan era has a cosmically pleasing element to it all). So this fan has turned his hatred on divisional opponents and, in specific, the Flames.
Messier is gone after a 15 day ceremony at MSG last year and now gives, easily, the biggest BS award short of the MTV movie awards. Last year he all but asked Sather to move his ass out of the GM chair of the Rangers so he could do something between fishing trips. He occasionally still shows up on TV to scare small children.
And Keenan? After being run out of Florida (and trading their franchise goalie to quench his blood lust of having bruising forwards), it would all but appear that Mike is about to take the reigns in Calgary. Kipper getting screamed at? Iginla sulking after one of many tirades? Keenan trading Tanguay away to make room for Brian Noonan?
Who says history is boring?