Let's get this fact out of the way: I am a female. With that very obvious fact comes another well known piece of information: I am emotional.
Great, now that we are all on the same page, let's get going with this therapy session...er.. hate article.. right. That.
Allow me to backtrack a touch. When first hearing that my beloved Anaheim Calling family and I were to write a piece about our most hated teams, my mind started racing and dare I say it hasn't stopped?
Again, I'm a girl. You want to know what that's like? Try imagining having a web browser in your brain with about 1,100 tabs simultaneously loading and refreshing.
So excuse my scatterbrained-ness but when hatred gets going there's no stopping or harnessing that monster. I may be small but I am a little ball of hate.
Now let's make one thing clear, I tend to hate specific players or detailed aspects of a franchise which then expands to make me despise the team as a whole. I'm a detail-first kind of person so keep that in mind.
For example, I have so many loathsome feelings toward the New Jersey Devils to this day thanks largely to one individual demon: Scott Stevens. We all know the "Off the Floor, On the Board" story, and he was the villain who chose to prey on Anaheim's small-statured superstar Paul Kariya. Seeing the captain laid out cold makes my blood boil so badly because I just want to scream about picking on people his own size, and all those other playground cliches we all know.
Then again, maybe a girl who is still the same size as she was on said playground isn't the best spokesperson when facing the 6'2, 215-pound Stevens.
Excuse me while I continue to hide behind my keyboard and vent out this accumulated hatred.
5. Chicago Blackhawks: Too many reasons to hate this team.
Oh Chicago. The entire NHL has become all too familiar with the talent on your roster, especially when it comes to their shutdown defense that has led to me pulling out my own hair on multiple occasions.
Now as much as I can't really hate on the Hawks for being dirty players, I can hate on them for the absolute hell they have put the Ducks through so many damn times. In the 2014-15 season alone Chicago stomped Anaheim twice in the regular season with 4-1 victories while Anaheim's only win was courtesy of a John Gibson shutout that allowed Anaheim to score all of one goal, but still finagle out a win.
Two of three contests between these squads left Duck fans frustrated, aggravated, and clinging to Ben & Jerrys for some comfort.
For the Duck fans who were actually in the building each time Chicago came to town, you can back me up on the arrogance and disrespect from those who flooded Honda Center with red. Following the final horn the Hawk fans made their presence even more infuriating by trash-talking, heckling, and chanting during their entire walk out of the building and through the parking lot.
I cannot stand when visiting fans are sore losers. But when they're entitled and cocky winners, it is ten times worse. Need I include the fact that one of their poster boys is currently being investigated for some shady happenings in New York, and this is all of six years after he was arrested for assaulting a cab driver?
Real classy role model there. At least the fans come by their enraging hubris honestly, I suppose?
4. Detroit Red Wings: As expected, like many (or all?) other Duck fans, I loathe the Detroit Red Wings.
Too many times the dreams of the Stanley Cup in Orange County were dashed by these heathens (if you want the elongated statistics check out Kyle Nicolas' Ode of Hatred). So many nightmares of the Pavel Datsyuk dekes, the Johan Franzen finesse, and the Nicklas Lidstrom lockdowns. So many memories of Chris Osgood flopping around like a dead fish but making impossible saves and Henrik Zetterberg being an immovable and relentless threat.
Believe it or not, I think there's one player's antics that still irks me more than all of the others: Chris Chelios' chirping. Even when he wasn't playing in Detroit there were rumors of Chelios threatening players, like when he was seen on tv saying "I'll get you, Paul" to long-time Duck, Paul Kariya.
I'll never forget one random game between Anaheim and Detroit when I was yelling at the TV screen because Chelios had gotten under the entire team's skin, leading to emotionally rash decisions and impulsive mistakes. I remember my brother turning to me and saying that Chelios was doing his job, and after my inquisitive look he explained that "at his age" (I think he must have been 45 or so at the time) all he could contribute was riling up the other team.
That was his job. To be that aggravating pest who somehow got under your skin to the point that you wanted to physically punch their dumb face. He had that job, he played that role, and he did it well. All too well. (Is this what people feel toward Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler? I understand it now...)
When I remember back to the days of the Red Wings in the Western Conference I cannot help but remember how much I hate them for them eliminating the Ducks from the playoffs so many times, and for Chris Chelios.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins: Have you ever had one player who you hate so much it overshadows tolerance, respect, appreciation, even adoration, that you have toward his teammates? That's my mentality toward one Sidney Crosby.
My hate for this one player runs so deep in my veins that one time I got up and walked out of a date with a guy because he was a Crosby fan. I don't trust people who praise NHL's ultimate crybaby. Not down. Deuces.
No matter how much respect Ihave for Evgeni Malkin's talent or how deeply I adore baby-faced former Duck Chris Kunitz, their teammate ruins all that.
Now don't get me wrong, I've never liked Marc-Andre Fleury either, but he definitely does not ruffle my feathers as much as Crosby. My dislike of Fleury's luck-based goaltending style is honestly nothing more than a drop in the bucket, nay, the barrel of hatred I hold for this team.
I can trace my extreme hatred of this team to #87. And I hate Crosby because of two very vivid memories.
The more recent of the two is from the 2010 Olympics, where this stupid stupid man scored the gold medal winning, game winning goal over Team USA in overtime. Yes. I am still very salty about this. If Canada was going to win, why..why..WHY did it have to be a goal from Crosby's stick?
Before I explain the memory prior to the Olympic goal, allow me to say that there is nothing worse than a professional athlete who complains and pouts when things don't go their way. Each of these athletes works hard and leads pretty glamorous (or glamorized) lifestyles, so when players become pansy ass complainers I am ready to strangle them.
2009. The Capitals hosted the Penguins in a contest that my father, brother and I had purchased tickets and flights for. Unfortunately, extraneous circumstances intervened and we were unable to make it to DC for the matchup. With less than five minutes remaining in the third period hometown hero Alexander Ovechkin scored his third goal of the night, second in under three minutes, polishing off a hat trick in front of an electrified crowd. As per tradition, fans began throwing hats. Lots of hats. It was a raw celebration for Ovie's accomplishment in a game between rival teams.
Then Crosby does what Crosby does best. He complains. In a post-game interview, he explained to reporters that he spoke with the refs and requested they make an announcement for fans to stop throwing hats.
Are you kidding me?!
Crosby then proceeded to show absolutely no respect for Washington's netminder on the night, Semyon Varlamov. Crosby was pouty and thought the Pens' offense was lackluster. Did I forget to mention that Crosby ended the night with a hat trick as well? This ungrateful worm. For what respect I might have had? That's gone.
The amount of hostility I hold for one player is overwhelming, it is legitimate blinding hatred so as much as people say that he is one of the most talented players in the world, my subconscious tends to blur out any and all accomplishments strictly to guard what is left of my sanity. This blindspot allows me to eventually return to a happy place.
Though I may be too far down the rabbit hole now. Today has officially been sacrificed to the Hockey Anti-Gods...
The Hades of hockey if you will.
2. San Jose Sharks: Anaheim's rivalry with their NorCal nemesis has evolved into contests characterized by lots of penalty minutes, and plenty of tempers flaring.
For those who need an example, let's turn the clocks back to October 26, 2014. The Ducks opened the season strong, sitting on top of NHL standings, while the Sharks were scrambling from four consecutive losses. However when Anaheim hosted the Sharks on that Sunday evening, all hell would break loose.
A grand total of 165 penalty minutes would be dished out between the two clubs, including 32 in the last five minutes of regulation. Eight players were given game misconducts, nine fighting majors, one penalty (and later fine) for a player leaving the bench to instigate a fight, and too many minor penalties to recap here.
Need another testament to why this team disgusts me? Jump to December 22, 2014 when, again, Anaheim played host to the Sharks. One event came to define this matchup, and it was the moment after the play was blown dead when Shark enforcer John Scott swung his hand back, connecting the butt of his stick to the side of Tim Jackman's neck, knocking Jackman out cold. A four-game suspension was assessed against Scott, however that was unsportsmanlike and downright uncalled for.
Now not only are the Sharks pretty loathsome beings on the ice with their low-blows, cheapshots, and shady questionable playstyle, but their fans follow suit. Even in Honda Center there seem to be more atrocious teal jerseys than home sweaters which is pretty disappointing. Still worse is the fact that most Shark fans are mouthy, loud, condescending, and absolutely repulsive creatures.
All in all, I am not looking forward to playing San Jose this year simply because it usually ends with some injuries and emotions running high.
1. Los Angeles Kings: Now that I'm in full-fledge rage mode, let's get to the downright unbearable resentment for the LA Kings.
I hate this team. I hate the fans, I hate the venue, I hate the mascot, I hate the announcers, I hate every aspect of this franchise.
Obviously familiarity breeds contempt and when two teams are separated by a single freeway, you know you're plenty close to get some blood boiling tension. That is all too true for the Ducks and Kings.
I could go for hours on how I hate so many different players, how Dustin Brown is a toxic underhanded player, how vocal and disrespectful Jonathan Quick is when he screams at refs, or even how Jarett Stoll and Slava Voynov shouldn't even play in the NHL after their individual run-ins with the law. Any team that chooses to continue to employ a man who was in prison for abusing his wife does not deserve any respect.
Now let's turn the focus onto the people in the stands. From my perspective, the King fanbase is the most downright painful collective group to deal with in the NHL.
I took one trip to a Ducks-Kings game at STAPLES Center and not only were people mispronouncing Teemu Selanne's name, who was on the back of my jersey, but some even had the audacity to throw cups of beer toward me clearly trying to damage the jersey. Disgraceful.
These fans have gone from rude to flat out diabolical by getting hordes of fans to not only invade Honda Center on any given game night, but also try to surround the press box in order to influence the broadcast. Surround the press box, chant loudly and it sounds like they are an even bigger infiltrating army than they already are.
When a franchise doesn't see any problem in using a hospital gown-clad mascot to make fun of the mumps outbreak in the NHL, you are classless. When I can name more players off your roster than you can, you are a bandwagoner, and need to shut your mouth.
So please, go, away, go. Far, far away. Then keep going because you are everything that is wrong with fanbases anywhere.