This is my favorite part of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The National Hockey League's 7 game series format may make for one of the most grueling tournaments anywhere in the sports world but it also has some major benefits that come along with it as well. For one the fact that it is so grueling makes the Stanley Cup Championship one of the most difficult titles to secure in all of sport, making it all that much moire prestigious in the process. Perhaps my greatest love of the 7 game series however is the ability that it has to take two relatively neutral teams and turn them into bitter rivals.
Game 1 between the Boston Bruins and the Columbus Blue Jackets perfectly set the stage for a budding rivalry when Columbus Blue Jackets forwward Riley Nash absolutely crushed Boston Bruins forward David Krejci, knocking him out of the game in the process. Nash is himself a former member of the Bruins organization and it was absolutely no surprise that some of his old Bruins teammates had been rubbed the wrong way by the way he hammered Krejci, who is also a former teammate of Nash.
That hit was answered in kind by Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara in the opening minutes of Game 2. Chara absolutely destroyed Nash at center ice and after Nash left the game following the hit I fully expected he would miss the remainder of the game. That did not turn out to be the case but things were considerably rougher between both teams after that. There was a ton of clutching, grabbing, and hacking in Game 2 and several times after the whistle had gone there were punches thrown after the play.
Well after Game 2 Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky tossed some gasoline onto that fire when he decided that a rivalry between the players alone simply was not enough. Dubsinky was speaking to the media following the big win for the Blue Jackets and when he was asked about what he expected from his home crowd in Game 3 he threw a not so veiled shot at the crowd in Boston.
“I can tell you that it’s going to be a hell of a lot louder than it was in Boston,” said Dubinsky while staring directly into the camera, as if attempting to speak directly to Bruins fans.
The great part about this is while we will get to see if the Columbus crowd can back that up in Game 3 and Game 4, we will also get the chance to see how the Bruins fans respond to Dubinsky in Game 6.