Tuesday, March 08, 2011
The Bruins. Tonight. 7:30 on RDS, TSN-Habs and NESN. The first meeting since the black and gold went with their usual modus operandi bullshit 70's throwback tactics in front of their baying, loutish fans in that cheap-ass rink they own. Both teams remember the last meeting, but only the Habs remember that they've won 8 of 9 versus the their ancient rivals. Canadiens have won four straight, Bruins six. Revenge? Maybe. Hatred? Definitely. The Pretty Hate Machine starts now.
Hatred comes from the heart; contempt from the head; and neither feeling is quite within our control. - Alfred Schopenauer
The Bruins stir feelings of hatred more than any other. The Leafs? A hate born of national pride, but tempered by years apart. The Bruins and Canadiens have played more games against each other than any two franchises in NHL history and not one of them has been pleasant. Grown men froth at the mouth at the sight of a Bruins toque on the Metro or a Habs jersey in their local Southie pub. Familiarity breeds contempt; contempt begets hatred, hatred gets out of control quickly. Richard/Laycoe. Lafleur/Milbury. Nilan/Byers. Jonathan/Bouchard. Canadiens/Bruins always teeters right on the edge and it is the hate that does it.
To enjoy the things we ought, and to hate the thing we ought, has the greatest bearing on excellence of character. - Aristotle
Why do we hate the Bruins so? We hate because Eddie Shore was a dirty cheap-shot artist, because Jonathan, Wensink, O'Reilly and Milbury brawled their way through the 70's, because Esposito, Orr, Bourque and Neely were stars, because Neely always broke Montreal's back with a shot over Roy's glove, because Lucic demolished Komisarek, because Cheevers and Moog and Thomas and Frankie Brimsek gave the Canadiens fits. Because Bruins fans piss on visitors to their rink. Because the Boston Garden was a cramped, rat infested cesspool and the TD Banknorth visitors dressing room is the size of a closet. Because B's fans are proud of their team's lunchbucket, beat em in the alley ethos. Because for 100 years the Canadiens have emphasised Gallic flair, speed, skill and firewagon hockey and the Bruins have spent almost as long trying to choke the life out of it. We hate because Zdeno Chara is still among the league's best, because Tim Thomas is having an otherworldly season, because for all our taunts about Lucic being a talentless thug, he's on pace for almost 40 goals and we would kill to have someone like him. We hate because being a Bruins fan shows a deficiency of character that can not be redeemed. Because cheering for the Canadiens is a virtue, a guiding light, a truth.
Let them hate, so long as they fear. - Lucius Accius Telephus
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not. - Andre Gide
Why do the Bruins hate us so? Hatred is often born of fear - and the Canadiens as a franchise have often been something to fear. Many a Bruins team has been swept aside by a Canadiens team that was more talented, but it is the shared history of talented Bruins teams being upset by heavy underdogs (1971, 2002, 2004) or being beaten by the slimmest of margins when the talent equation was nearly identical (1977, 1979, 1989) due to bad breaks, boneheaded mistakes, or Forum ghosts that tears a seam in the Bruins heart. They hate because they cannot win. They hate because Montreal's light continues to shine against their dark. They hate because Montreal stands up to bullying and triumphs more often than they lose. They hate, because as Lord Byron noted, "He who surpasses or subdues mankind, must look down on the hate of those below. " For most of their existence, the Bruins have been subdued. Their hatred is for what the Canadiens were then, and are now. The Canadiens are not the Bruins.
We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. - Johnathan Swift
If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us. - Hermann Hesses
Both franchises hate because deep down, despite their divergent philosophies, there remains a part of the other in each. Montreal harbours a dark side that the Bruins bring out. Montreal fans revel in the memories of John Ferguson, tough-as-nails Dickie Moore, Larry Robinson's mystique as a fighter, Chris Nilan and John Kordic. The solution to Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic was supposed to Georges Laraque. Shouts for Gauthier to call up muscle from Hamilton for tonight's game were deafening in some quarters. The Canadiens darkness is ever-present; nowhere does it manifest itself more clearly than in the days leading to a Boston game. In contrast, Boston's darkness has always needed the light to guide it. The Big Bad Bruins would have been no more than an afterthought without Orr and Esposito's offensive fireworks. Gentleman Jean Ratelle, Rick Middleton, Brad Park? All lauded for their exemplary play and conduct, despite their allegiance to black and gold. All the Lyndon Byers, Keith Crowders and Don Sweeney's of the world wouldn't have lifted the Bruins to Cup finals in the late 80's and early 90's without the talents of Ray Bourque. Even patron saint of overrated power forwards Cam Neely needed soft-as-tissue Craig Janney or passer extraordinaire Adam Oates. The current Bruins go nowhere without all everything centre Patrice Bergeron, smart vet Mark Recchi and Chara. Boston hates because no amount of bullying, brawling and thuggery wins without skill to guide it. Both clubs share parts of each other's religion, but never fully embrace the aspects they need from the other. They hate that part of themselves almost as much as they hate the image on the other side of the divide.
I hate victims who respect their executioners. - Jean-Paul Sartre
There is no honour in Milan Lucic fighting Mike Komisarek after Komisarek's shoulder was injured. Or in his engaging players already involved with others. Or his refusal to answer when called. There is no honour in Greg Campbell using a weapon on Tom Pyatt, or John Boychuk continuing to hit Jaro Spacek as he lay on the ice. There is no reason to respect Zdeno Chara's cheapshots, or Claude Julien's complaints or bush-league move of putting out goons to end a game. The Bruins have spent the better part of a century trying to smother the Canadiens in their sleep. There is no respect on their part, and as such, they deserve no respect in return. It's possible that the Bruins will win handily tonight; that they will bully and beat the Canadiens in scrums and on the scoreboard. That won't garner respect. Better Bruins teams than this one have fallen at the final hurdle. The Bruins have tried to be executioners to the Canadiens for their entire sorry existence and HAVE NEVER FINISHED THE JOB. One should not respect an executioner. One must refuse to be a victim. Montreal time and again has refused. They do so again tonight.
My hate will die with you. - Robert the Bruce, Braveheart
Tonight, our hate lives again. Win or lose. First or second. Our hate sustains us until the next. Montreal has its weapons of choice. Boston has its own. Fuel for the Pretty Hate Machine is never in short supply.