P.K. Subban was always going to be public enemy No. 1 in Boston. He's the Canadiens' best player -- a frustratingly and noticeably skilled presence whenever he's on the ice, which is downright annoying when he plays for the other guys. He's also an agitator and a chirper. When guys like that are on your team, they're awesome. When they play for the other team, they're everything that's wrong with hockey.
So yeah, the hate was coming either way. But after Subban scored the double-overtime winner to give the Canadiens Game 1, it got kicked up a notch.
Someone threw a water bottle at him!
Impressive aim. But still. None of that.
And, of course, because every fanbase is sprinkled with a handful of terrible people, some Bruins fans took that hatred too far. Subban being black, and racism still being a thing people hide in their hearts (and occasionally let out in an oafish manner), I think you know where we're going with this.
One tweet, which has since been deleted, was a picture of a noose accompanied by the caption "tied something for Subban".
On Friday morning, Bruins president Cam Neely had seen enough -- or maybe he just saw that insane noose thing -- and he issued a statement:
"The racist, classless views expressed by an ignorant group of individuals following Thursday's game via digital media are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization."
It echoes the statement the Bruins were compelled to make after Joel Ward's overtime goal eliminated them from the postseason in 2012, kickstarting a barrage of racial slurs from Boston fans on social media.
In fact, it's almost a CTRL+C, CTRL+V type thing: "These classless, ignorant views are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization," Neely said then.
The problem, of course, is that Neely's partially incorrect. These fans are associated with the Bruins organization. They may not work for it, but they cheer for it, and they contribute to its reputation outside of Boston, fairly or unfairly in much the same way the follks behind Vancouver's second Stanley Cup riot gave Vancouver a reputation for rioting. A pattern is emerging.
Neely's statements are an attempt to counteract that, but it will go a great deal further if the rest of the fanbase is willing to join him in speaking out about it when they see it.