There are many great rivalries in sports; they’re what make sports so great. There’s always an extra buzz when your favorite team’s most hated rival is in town. Rivalries are what fuels fans’ love for the game, and the love for their favorite team.
For fans of the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, this could not be truer. For the third time in six seasons, and the 34th time in league history, these longtime rivals will meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This time a birth in the Eastern Conference Finals is at stake.
But rivalries also bring out a ton of nonsense, especially with Bruins and Canadiens fans.
Ask a Bruins fan about the Canadiens and they will tell you the Canadiens are a bunch of babies. They dive left and right, and oh man, the calls they get at the Bell Centre are insane.
Ask a Canadians fan about the Bruins and they will tell you the Bruins are a bunch of goons. Thanks to Jeremey Jacobs’ relationship with the NHL, the Bruins get away with murder.
Believe what you want, but all of the above is just nonsense.
The Bruins/Canadiens rivalry is great, arguably the best in all of sports. After a few years of dull moments, the spark is back.
When it comes to hatred of your rivals, “hate” is a word mostly thrown around by the fans, but when it comes to the Black and Gold and Bleu, blanc et rouge, the “h-word” gets thrown around, too.
Current Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien has seen this historic rivalry from both sides of the fence as Julien coached the Canadiens from 2002 to 2006. Claude admits he feels differently about the Bruins now than he did was he was behind the Canadiens’ bench.
“I hated Boston when I was in Montreal, and now I hate Montreal because I’m in Boston,” said a smiling Julien.
The hatred for each other goes beyond the fans and coaches; it’s become a personal thing between players. I think it’s safe to say you’ll never see Milan Lucic and Alexei Emelin getting together for lunch. I mean why would Lucic want to spend time with someone he sees as a “chicken?”
With Lucic being a left-winger and Emelin right-d, Lucic and Emelin will get to see a lot of each other this series. For two guys who enjoy physical hockey, the hatred for each other will certainly grow.
“You don’t expect that to change in the playoffs and that’s what makes a rivalry into an actual rivalry” said Lucic
For Lucic, he says it’s simple: the hate for the Canadiens is something that just develops.
“You just naturally learn to hate the Montreal Canadiens, and the battles that we’ve had with them over the last couple years, it’s definitely made you hate them. And I think this being the first time meeting them outside the first round; I think it’s definitely going to go up another level.”
Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price has seen plenty of this historic rivalry, but for Price, he doesn’t like the word “hate.”
“That’s not very nice” Price said. “I don’t think hate is a good word, competitive, maybe.”
Anytime the Bruins and Canadiens meet, it’s intense and very competitive. Add the Stanley Cup Playoffs into the mix, and you will find yourself witnessing hockey at its best.
For the players, fans and media, everyone wins when the Bruins and Habs battle it out.
“It’s a longstanding rivalry and it goes back so far, so many years. The fans love it, the media loves it and obviously we love being out against them, but we can’t let that get in our way of the real goal and we need to make sure we have a really good game every time we step on the ice” said Bruins forward Brad Marchand.
Based on history, I’m willing to bet seven intense Bruins/Habs playoff games are on tap. Buckle up folks; it’s going to be fun.