September 02, 2009
It happens at every game. You're in your seat and someone in an opposing jersey is making his or her way up the aisle. A few fans behind you boo loudly at the offending jersey on the enemy's back and, depending on where the offending jersey is seated, that person could get harassed the entire game.
Hockey supporters of every team are all over North America. In every arena on any given night you'll see a variety of jerseys. Some supporting one of the two teams involved and others just being worn out of love of the game.
There is a line that is sometimes crossed when sporting an opposing jersey in an enemy building. A line that can sometimes incite serious harassment or, depending on the amount of alcohol involved, some fisticuffs.
After the jump, we take a team-by-team look at jerseys that a fan wouldn't be caught dead wearing in an opposing arena. Some are based on recent events, others on painful history. Each one is a reminder that, sometimes, the name on the back can mean more than the logo on the front.
His goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils a short time after Scott Stevens laid him out was an uplifting moment for the team that forced a seventh game in the series. That summer, Kariya vowed to bring the Cup to Anaheim the next season but reneged on a verbal agreement with GM Bryan Murray and was later not qualified by the team. He would take an $8.5 million pay cut, ensuring unrestricted free agency the next summer, and signed a one-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche.
Heatley forced his way out of town after the tragic accident that killed teammate Dan Snyder and that didn't go so well with the locals. Hossa had no interest in remaining with the Atlanta Thrashers after his contract was up after the 2007-08 and GM Don Waddell's hand was forced. In a city that's growing hockey, anyone who doesn't want to be there will be no friend of the fans.
In Boston: Ulf Samuelsson
The postseason battles with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early 1990's were legendary and no one Penguin was more hated than Samuelsson. His vicious hit on Cam Neely was the beginning of a series of leg problems for the future Hockey Hall of Famer that would eventually end his career.
In Buffalo: Brett Hull
His skate in the crease goal in overtime of Game 5 clinched the 1999 Stanley Cup. A decade later, the city of Buffalo is still bitter and hasn't forgotten.
The young, brash defenseman was a member of the Montreal Canadiens team that defeated the Flames for the 1986 Stanley Cup. Three years later, the Calgary Flames exacted revenge defeating the Habs in six games for the Cup.
Mr. Chelios' mouth is one the reasons we'll see his name a few more times on this list.
In Carolina: Scott Stevens
For years, Stevens and his vicious body checks terrorized the NHL and his blows to Shane Willis and Ron Francis were not forgotten in Raleigh.
His hit on Martin Havlat during the Western Conference Finals was one of controversy and one of the more memorable moments of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This one is pretty cut and dry. The man who attacked former Avalanche forward Steve Moore hasn't been the same since that fateful night in March during the 2003-04 season. Wearing Big Bert's jersey inside of Pepsi Center probably also borders on extreme bad taste.
After contract negotiations with the Blue Jackets weren't going the way he wanted them to, Foote reportedly threatened to be a bad presence in the locker room for the remainder of the 2007-08 season if he wasn't re-signed to his desired terms or dealt to the Colorado Avalanche. It was certainly a creative ploy to force the hand of GM Scott Howson.
In Dallas: Bryan Marchment
In one season, Marchment burned his bridge with Stars fans by injuring three players. During the regular season he took out Greg Adams and Mike Modano(notes) before derailing Dallas' Stanley Cup run after riding Joe Nieuwendyk(notes) into the boards, tearing his ACL.
Time hasn't healed all wounds (except those on Kris Draper's(notes) face) between the Red Wings fans and Lemieux. It's almost as if 1996 was yesterday and the image of Draper being checked face first into the McNichols Sports Arena boards is still a fresh memory. The hit was the catalyst for one of the NHL's most memorable rivalries during the late-‘90's.
Dany Heatley(notes) is another possibility for the Oilers because who knows how that things going to end. Pronger most famously spent a year in Edmonton, led the team to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and then quickly demanded a trade out of town in a divorce uglier than when Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone broke up. As he left town, nasty allegations and rumors were tossed around effectively ending the relationship between Pronger and the city.
In Florida: Uwe Krupp
The former Colorado Avalanche defenseman ended the Cats Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996 with his goal in the fourth overtime. Since that game, the Panthers have only reached the playoffs twice and won a grand total of one playoff game.
The former captain was a fan favorite until he was traded to a contending team in 2001, which turned out to be the Colorado Avalanche. He'd win a Stanley Cup with the Avs that year and enter greener pastures later that summer.
Burrows and Pierre-Marc Bouchard(notes) had a little tiff last season in which he received a match-penalty for spearing the Wild forward. After the game, Burrows admitted that his hatred of Bouchard goes back to their days in junior hockey
In Montreal: Dale Hunter
He was front and center during the infamous Good Friday Brawl between the Canadiens and Quebec Nordiques during the 1983-84 playoffs. Hunter eventually wound up brawling with his brother Mark in a game that also saw Louis Sleigher punch on Jean Hamel, knocking him out cold.
In Nashville: Chris Chelios
His style of play and yapping with referees made him the furthest thing from a fan favorite with Predators supporters. Now, it seems as if the two could be a match with each other and Nashville fans are convincing themselves that the 47-year old would mentor their young defense corps.
In New Jersey: Tie Domi
Domi's elbow on Devils captain Scott Niedermayer(notes) during the 2001 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was a flashpoint moment in the series that saw Domi suspended for the remainder of the series. The incident occurred during the same season when Domi and a Philadelphia Flyers can brawled inside a penalty box.
In New York Islanders: Dale Hunter
His crosscheck on Pierre Turgeon earned him, at the time, the longest suspension in NHL history, 21 games. Turgeon missed most of the Islanders next series against the Penguins. Even without their leading scorer, the Isles reached the Prince of Wales Conference finals against the eventual Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens.
In New York Rangers: Denis Potvin
It's the chant that reaches saturation after the eighth time in a period; Denis Potvin is not a welcomed guest inside Madison Square Garden. His hit on Rangers forward Ulf Nilsson during the 1978-79 season was the beginning of the hatred for the former Islanders defenseman. Nilsson would break his ankle on the play and miss the rest of the season. The fact that Potvin was a member of the hated Islanders made the hit even more unforgivable.
While his play on the ice with the Senators earned him the captaincy, off the ice, the relationship between Yashin and the team was rocky. Constantly feeling underappreciated by the Senators brass, Yashin demanded a raise three times and eventually refused to report and was suspended for the 1999-20 season. The Yashin era ended on Draft Day 2001 when he was dealt to the Islanders as part of a deal for Zdeno Chara(notes).
In Phoenix: Any Red Wings jersey
Detroit is one of the few teams in the NHL that travel well. Fans pack arenas all over the League and when the Red Wings come to town in Phoenix, the memories of an intense playoff series from 1998 still resonate.
As far as individual players go ... well, there's always the name on the back of this jersey.
Since Sid the Kid entered the league, no fan base has spewed more hate in his direction than the Philly faithful. From the signs to the Wachovia Center organist accompanying the crowd in their "Crosby Sucks" chants, outside of any jersey that isn't orange and black, Crosby's is one that would really cause you to not be able to enjoy yourself. But, basically, if you're not wearing orange and black, you're not going to have a very good time inside Wachovia Center.
In Pittsburgh: Alex Ovechkin
After their recent seven game playoff series which saw Ovechkin injure Sergei Gonchar(notes) with a hit, The Great 8 is slowly making Penguins fans forget about Marian Hossa, especially after raising the Cup in front of him two months ago. The Pittsburgh-Washington rivalry is at an all-time high at the moment and the two-time Hart Trophy winner will always be in the firing line from Penguins fans.
Perry and Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov(notes) aren't the best of friends. The Anaheim forward accused Nabokov of kicking him after a whistle in March. Then Nabby called Perry a "crybaby" a short time later. Perry's actions have made him a target whenever the Battle of California is renewed.
In St. Louis: Chris Chelios
Old Norris Division rivalries never die and Chelios is a player who hasn't made many friends with opposing fans in his time in the NHL.
In Toronto: Larry Murphy
Won Stanley Cup's in Pittsburgh and Detroit, but when he became the Leafs highest paid player in his hometown, he became the target of the team's failures. Even worse, when he won the Cup with the Red Wings, Murphy brought it back to Toronto, giving fans a chance to see something they hadn't won in several decades.
In Tampa Bay: Alex Ovechkin
A Southeast Divisional rival since entering the League in 2005, Ovechkin didn't improve his relationship with the Lightning faithful after he scored his 50th goal this past March and celebrated "hot stick" style. The celebration set off a fierce debate that almost every media member chimed in on climaxing to Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry to add his two cents and spark another controversy.
In Vancouver: Mark Messier
Trevor Linden(notes) owns the city of Vancouver. But when Messier came to town in 1998, head coach Tom Renney stripped Linden of the captaincy and gave it to "The Captain". Linden was traded to the Islanders a short time later. Right there, the seeds of hatred towards Messier were planted. His three years with the Canucks were underwhelming and the fans couldn't wait until he returned to the Rangers in 2000.
If Jagr felt that he was "dying alive" during his final days in Pittsburgh, how would one describe his tenure with the Capitals? His two and a half seasons in Washington saw some of Jagr's lowest point totals in his career. Jagr was signed to a long-term deal worth $77 million and after two failed seasons was promptly dumped to the New York Rangers.
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Many of these names may not incite violence, but are enough to cause some harassment if worn behind enemy lines. There are also plenty of jerseys that could be given honorable mention.
Feel free to add your own jersey in the comments that would cause your blood pressure to boil if seen inside your home arena ...