The new sports trend on social media is maps that detail which teams are most hated in certain states, countries and even continents. In news that should shock absolutely no one, the Boston Bruins are the most universally-hated NHL team outside the New England area. While people in “Bruins Country” are up in arms and getting defensive over this, the team should do the opposite and embrace the hate going into the 2014.
The offseason hasn’t been kind to the team that won the President’s Trophy before bowing out in the second round to the Montreal Canadiens. Losing beloved veteran 30-goal scorer Jarome Iginla to the Colorado Avalanche stings. So does the fact 20-goal breakout star Reilly Smith isn’t under contract yet, and the star defenseman Torey Krug is entertaining offers to play in Russia’s KHL.
As teams around the East improved, the Bruins have regressed and surely won’t be the no. 1 seed in the East next season.
The team needs a spark to compensate for the lingering questions, and taking on the “us against the world” mentality is just the way to do it. With players such as Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic who are universally hated around the league, the energy is there and the Bruins need to embrace it. This team won’t score as easily as it did last year, but increased physical play to an already tenacious team will help offset that.
Great coaches need to find ways to elevate their teams, and Claude Julien needs to press those buttons to get the best out of his team on a nightly basis. Embracing the negative energy will surely make the bonds between teammates stronger, and those bonds will show on the ice.
Intangibles are often overrated, but it could be the difference for the Bruins in this case. This is still a talented team that can and will make noise, but going out there and embracing a “Bad Boys” mentality could give them an even bigger edge. The first day of camp should include Julien telling the team, “Someone has to wear the black hat, and it might as well be us.”