The best part of this Stanley Cup Final is that I get to trash-talk one of the most esteemed members of The Royal Half family, Jersey Brian. Brian is responsible for some of the best posts here at TRH... including his co-writing credit on the smash hit, Rick Nash's "These Teams are on My List." But Brian has a bit of a dilemma... as a born and raised New Jerseyian who has become a pretty passionate LA Kings fan the past few years... who is he rooting for? Take it away, Brian.
I was born and raised in New Jersey, where we pride ourselves on being haters. We take a spoonful of vitriol with breakfast every morning. Flipping the bird is more convenient than waving because there’s far less fingers involved. The first things I was taught to say were my exit number, the lyrics to “Born To Run,” ******* Boston,” and “Rangers Suck!”
These playoffs have been so fun this year because between the Semis against the Flyers and the Eastern Finals against the Rangers, it’s been a feast of hate for Devils fans.
What pisses me off about the Flyers is, well, they’re the Flyers. To say that I’m still giddy when I think about Scott Stevens barreling over Eric Lindros in ’00 would be an understatement. (That play may be 12-years-old, but I think Shanahan’s reviewing it now.) In the Semis, I was ready and prepared for an all-out, seven game battle like old days. But the series was over before I could finish my taunting “Bryzgalov” chant.
The rivalry between the Devils and Rangers consumes tri-state area fans in the winter and spring months (and Islander fans are consumed with telling Charles Wang to go **** himself). It’s easy to get your Irish up when the Blueshirts invade the Garden State because the Devils, despite far greater success in the last 17 years, are still treated like a second-class citizen.
When the Devils beat down those ************* from across the river in game six, I felt a high that you can only get when you see the big hulk of a bully get beat down on the schoolyard. We wanted blue bloodshed and we got it.
But that brings me to the Cup. And I’m feeling like my hate tank is on empty. Where do I go to find the hate that we were able to conjure up so easily against the Flyers and Rangers?
Mike Richards and Jeff Carter are easy targets for me because of their association with the Flyers. But the fact that both got booted from that asshole of a franchise means they were doing something good (and I’m guessing they were doing it/her hard, too).
Kings fans boo Kovalchuk for spurning them last year, but Devils fans booed him last year when he was struggling. Let’s face it, if the shoe was on the other foot and Kovalchuk left NJ for LA, the reaction would be exactly the same.
Cuba Gooding, Jr. used to be the franchise’s go-to celebrity at the games, and he’s pretty much a douche, but I think someone took away his SAG card and his season tickets, so kudos to Hollywood for that one.
Were there historic games between the two over the years? (looking through the records…) None.
Is there a once-great, now elderly veteran that I like to root against who’s looking for one last shot at the Cup, so he forced a trade to a team he has no real ties to? Nope, Ray Borque’s not here.
What’s the rallying cry? Win this one for Ponikarovsky? Hell, that’s not landing for anyone - not even Poni himself.
My real lack of hatred is coming from a sense of personal conflict. Because I’ve lived in LA for 14 years and due to the time difference, have spent far more time watching and following the Kings than the Devils. I may bleed red and black and white (and green on retro days), but I’ve got a soft spot for the Kings.
What’s happening to me? If 1995 Jersey Brian was reading this, he’d build a time machine, travel to May 30, 2012, come to my house and kick my ass. (Also, he’d be amazed at how easy it is to get porn on the internet now.)
What’s a conflicted guy to do? Simple. I’m not going to watch this series. I’m pulling out my 1995, 2000 and 2003 Stanley Cup game VHS tapes and watching those games instead of this series.
Oh and one final thing: Rangers Suck!
You can hear more about Jersey Brian's internal struggle over who to root for in this series over at All The Kings Men Podcast. Or you can just pump your fist as you listen below.