According to the extensive research of one more "professional" reporter, the Canucks are the NHL's most hated team. The evidence as it stacks up (3 NHL players, if you can call Krys Barch that, and one team exec) is irrefutable enough to make the national newspaper -- but they're no tabloid, right?
The interest of the article is clear for Canadiens fans. yet again a dirty team is using the press to make their opponents at a particular time seem the villains. Boston has their lines all written out from the Canadiens series. Diving = despicable. Breaking necks = unfortunate part of the game. Of course it also helps that no one even asks them to show the discrepancies in diving between their team and the other.
So let's take the thesis that the Canucks are hated (never crossed my mind before, but let's). Is it possible that this position they are in is actually enviable?
Dave Bolland (hero) dislikes the Canucks. As he should, because they just eliminated his team. Dave Bolland plays hard hockey and talks and scores important goals. He is admired around the league. Sounds like a certain reporters description of a Canuck. Wonder if Dave Bolland had many fans on the Canucks team he eliminated last season. Of course, this reporter wasn't interested in "Blackhawks most hated" back then.
Then there's the hits. I hate the hits too. But let's not pretend this is something confined to the Canucks. The Bruins are some of the dirtiest hitters around, and don't get off the hook from me just because they claim Halpern dived and Pacioretty was acting so he could get time off to watch a movie. The Blackhawks are no angels either. Nor any NHL team. The hitting situation has to be weeded out of the game, but it won't end with Aaron Rome and Raffi Torres.
Finally the rats. Alex Burrows and Maxim Lapierre. These guys are despised across the league. Whether they are mocking, diving, declining a fight or biting, it's unanimous from the multitude of sources interviewed for this premier piece of reporting that they are viewed with disdain.
But consider for a minute that both players are two games away from winning a Stanley Cup. Consider Burrows has 9 playoff goals, 7 at even strength, 2 game winners, including a very important one in this series.
Perhaps Krys Barch, who had this to say of Max Lapierre “I don’t know if he has an ounce of man in him, I’d be embarrassed to be his father.” should reflect on his own abysmal playoff record (AHL and NHL) when he criticises a player that has been a factor for teams going to Conference final and Stanley Cup final in consecutive years.
Envy and hatred aren't far apart. And in my experience hatred wanes when indifference starts to enter the equation (see Maple Leafs, Toronto). In my opinion, to be the most hated team in the NHL, with a maximum of 4 games left till summer is probably the precise position you would want to be in.
I just can't wait until Ryan Whitney, Mike Richards and the two-faced Boston media pipe up about the Habs and PK Subban in this way.