The playoffs are an odd time. Would you have believed several years ago Blackhawks fans would hate the Canucks as much or perhaps more than their arch-rivals, the Red Wings? And on the flipside, you find yourself rooting for teams this time of year that normally you wish that the whole lot of them would have gotten Montezuma’s Revenge just prior to game time. For example, you won’t find me crying if the Wings and Flyers end up winning their first round series. I’ll probably do a little dance if either happens and then proceed to call them every expletive on Twitter, for old time’s sake. Then there are teams like the Phoenix Coyotes. An organization the Hawks don’t have a ton of history with, postseason or otherwise, and no recent acts of douchebaggery to hang your hat on. But trust me, it’s hockey, it’s the playoffs and you can always find something to hate about a team you’re about to go to war with. Here’s seven reasons that you should detest the Blackhawks’ first round opponent.
1. Raffi Torres
You tell ‘em Pat!
Hard to believe it was just a year ago that this dirty diaper put Seabs out of commission for several games with an elbow. And of course, according to
Brendan Shanahan Colin Campbell (can YOU tell the difference now?), this was a “hockey play” and Torres got nary a game for his best Randy Savage impression. But we’re not playing the ‘Nucks in the first round, we’re playing the Coyotes right? Well guess who happens to be on the Phoenix roster? Mr. Torres. The Yotes actually pursued and signed this douchenozzle for two years last offseason – at $3.5 million! So while I hope the Blackhawks focus on winning and not revenge, I would not be opposed to someone punting this dirtbag right into the Grand Canyon. Boo him loud and long United Center crowd!
Nearly every NHL team has at least one player that wore the Indian Head at some point in their careers. The ex-Hawks on teams like the
Atlanta Thrashers Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers we have fond memories of lifting up Lord Stanley just two years prior. Then there’s the Coyotes. The Yotes’ roster sports two former Blackhawks, Radim Vrbata and Adrian Aucoin, who played in Chicago during several of the team’s most craptastic of seasons. Namely those dark days before Mr. Toews and Mr. Kane took the ice. Vrbata played for Chicago for a season and a half from 2005-2007. During his tenure, he played 122 games, with a total of 27G, 48A and an even +/-. In this season alone for Phoenix, Vrbata has scored 35G, 27A and has a +24 in 77 games. I mean, did he even try while in Chicago? Additionally, in the 12 games he’s played against the Hawks since leaving, he’s scored 5 goals, and they always seem to be at the most inopportune times, like tying the game or something. How dare he.
Then there’s Adrian Aucoin, the defenseman who played for the Blackhawks from 2005-2007. He served as Captain for part of those two seasons, and was dubbed “Captain Healthy Scratch” for his propensity to sit in the UC press box. During his oft-injured tenure in Chicago, Aucoin scored a mere 5G & 17A with a sparkling -35 in 92 games for the Hawks. To add insult to injury, when we finally got rid of his carcass in 2007 in a trade with the Flames, we got back something called Andrei Zyuzin. A bag of pucks and a case of Natty Lite would have been a better deal.
Of course these two players’ stats are somewhat skewed by the fact they played on teams that would have probably lost handily to the Chicago Wolves. But this is a hate post and we’re not using logic, are we?
3. Jeremy Roenick
On August 16, 1996, the heart of many a Blackhawks fan (including yours truly) was broken when fan favorite Jeremy Roenick was traded to the Coyotes for Alexei Zhamnov and Craig Mills (who?). Yes, we all know it was the late Bill Wirtz’s propensity to not give a player a contract that paid more than the UC beer vendors that drove JR to the desert. And yes, Zhamnov was decent in his seven plus seasons in Chicago, even serving as captain for a couple years. But in my mind, this was the event that signaled the start of a rapid decline for the Hawks that just recovered in the last five years. Every time I saw Roenick in that fugly (more on that later) Phoenix sweater, I wanted to vomit in Bobby Hull’s hairpiece. Just think if JR had finished his career in Chicago – we could have witnessed more moments like this:
4. Ugliest Jerseys Ever
While this jersey holds the distinction for being the ugliest jersey ever, it thankfully never hit the ice. I think that was the best decision Mike Keenan ever made when he was with the Blues. Therefore, by default, these gems the Yotes wore from 1996-2003 earn my official gold star as fugliest NHL sweaters ever. They needed to put the peyote or whatever it is they smoke in the desert down when they designed these. I swear I think I saw that same motif on the green third jersey at a Days Inn in Ohio.
Full disclosure: I actually quite like the sweaters that the Coyotes wear today. I guess they sent the designers to rehab.
5. What Winter?
While this past winter could be considered “mild” by anyone who’s lived in Chicago more than a few years, do keep in mind the average high temperature from Dec-Feb in the Windy City is right around freezing. The citizens of Phoenix have to endure a woeful average high temperature of 66F. In January. My heart bleeds for them. Wusses.
Love him or hate him, Paul Bissonnette sure does talk a lot for someone who has a total of five goals in 135 NHL games played. But then again, he does have a lot of time in the pressbox seeing as he was scratched for 51 games this season alone. I do actually follow him on Twitter, for the LOLZ mostly. But then he says something like this that makes my mouse pointer creep ever so closer to the “unfollow” button:
7. They Were Once the Winnipeg Jets