Monday, March 18, 2024

Weekend rankings: Wings fade, Caps keep pushing, and a new villain emerges

Who are the most hated teams in the NHL?

I feel like if you’d asked that question at most points during the last few seasons, you’d get three main answers. The Blackhawks, both due to their off-ice issues and their continuing overexposure. The Maple Leafs, because they’re the Leafs. And the Golden Knights, due to the perception that they’ve had too much success too soon, much of it due to alleged salary cap shenanigans.

At various points, you’d have probably put the Penguins in there somewhere, but based on their second half implosion it feels like their own fans have that covered. And yes, of course there’s your favorite team’s rival, who are dirty and mean, even though nobody sees it but you. But mostly, it's the big three.

But is there room for a new contender? After all, the Hawks are in year four of being terrible. The Leafs keep flopping in the playoffs, and as much fun as that is for some of you, you can’t be Thanos if your pants fall down during everytime you try to snap. As for Vegas, well, it’s possible that resistance is futile.

I think we have room for a new NHL villain, one that can unite us all in white-hot hatred, or at least mild annoyance. And as we discussed a few weeks ago on the new pod (now featuring 100% more Seans), there’s a strong candidate emerging: The Florida Panthers.

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