Sunday, February 27, 2011

NHL Teams I Don't Hate

As a rabid Sabres fan, my happiness is tied into my hockey team.  Thus the opponents of my hockey team are actively trying to make me unhappy.  Thusthus hate is justified.  But there are a few teams that I can find a soft spot for, either out of respect, or genuine affection.  Make no mistake though, when they play the Sabres, I hate them with every fiber of my moral being.

Philadelphia Flyers - This one probably has a lot of people shaking their heads.  Philadelphia fans are known for being loud obnoxious assholes who cheer at injuries.  That having been said, as a kid my favorite player was Ron Hextall, and Philadelphia is a town not unlike Buffalo in its passion.  I know that they were huge rivals in the 70s, and beat us for a cup, but I wasn't alive then so I don't harbor those feelings of ill will.  There has to be somebody in the east that is a decent team and at least palatable when they win.  The Flyers are that team for me.  Which brings me to...

New York Islanders - Honestly the Islanders are so pathetic I find it hard to hate them.  The dynasty years are long gone and it seems like they've been bottom dwellers since the beginning of time.  Plus their fan base is awful and their arena is a garbage heap.  Still, I admire the lack of quit in their team this year and how they seem hell bent on playing spoiler for those teams looking to make the playoffs.  Plus they have Michael Grabner, an Austrian who is to put it simply, very exciting.

St. Louis Blues - The St. Louis Blues are my "other" team.  I don't beleve in sports bigamy, but if I had to pick one team that I'd like to see win a cup that isn't Buffalo, St. Louis would be my pick.  I call them Buffalo-South.  They have the same colors, a similar passion for hockey and are also an oft misunderstood city.

Vancouver Canucks - The Canucks are the Sabres' sister team, also coming into the league in 1970.  While it would probably piss me off to see them win a cup before Buffalo (and they are likely to this year), I can at least appreciate them, and the wonderful fans in Western Canada who are, in my opinion, the best hockey fans there are.  Plus they have the green men.

Nashville Predators - Phil over at BBG's "other" team.  While I don't really like southern hockey teams, I have to respect what the Preds have been able to put together over the past few years.  Plus they have a cast of extremely likable and talented players like Pekka Rinne.  And Taylor Swift likes them...kinda...

Edmonton Oilers - The Oilers are another one of those teams that is so pathetic it's hard to hate them.  Man 2005-2006 seems so long ago.  I have a soft spot for the much maligned city of Edmonton which gets even more flak than Buffalo does for being a terrible city.  The team has been awful, and still their plucky fans show up to cheer them on.  See what I'm saying about Western Canadian hockey fans?

Minnesota Wild - Last but not least, the Minnesota Wild.  I respect their fanbase more than probably any fanbase in the NHL.  They didn't deserve to lose their team and subsequently see it win a Stanley cup (neither did Hartford, and fuck Quebec), and their sellout streak speaks for itself.  Plus the State of Minnesota is a golden area for hockey right around some of the best (and my favorite) college hockey teams like the Golden Gophers, Badgers, and Fighting Sioux.

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