“That Drew Doughty!”, declares my mom. “I just can’t stand him, unless he’s playing for us in the Olympics.” Indeed, the scruffy, pudgy, impudent, and covetous Doughty isn’t a particularly easy guy to like, unless he’s improbably rear-guarding your national team to a gold medal at your hometown Olympic Games. Of course, Team Canada’s roster was full of players that Canucks fans spend most of their time cursing, headlined by the Blackhawks troika of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Jonathan Toews that we lustily cheered on in the red, white and black, only to vigorously jeer in the red, white, black, yellow, green and orange. And while you can pick hated opponents from throughout the lineup, it’s the 2010 Canadian blueline that seems to have a particular grudge against the Canucks—strange considering that 4 of the 7 grew up west of the Rockies. After the jump, check out the rogue’s gallery.
1. Duncan Keith: BCHL product Duncan Keith was hard enough to like before he showed Daniel Sedin more elbow than a macaroni dinner on March 21st. Three playoff series and some vicious regular season games have made the toothless wonder and his eminently pullable hair a pariah in these parts.
2. Brent Seabrook: The animosity toward the Tsawwassen-born Seabrook isn’t as intense as the hatred of his frequent defense partner Keith, but if you’re a Blackhawk, you’ll be hated by Canucks fans. To make matters worse, we’re all hoping for the hockey gods to strike down the Hawks as payback for, well, striking down D. Sedin, and Seabrook has this nasty habit of sending games to overtime with under 20 seconds left. What an A-hole. Can’t you just get swept and shuffle off to Stockholm, where we’ll cheer you on like an emotionally damaged hostage?
3. Drew Doughty: Here’s a list of words I’ve used to describe Drew Doughty in the last week: prissy, bitchy, entitled, portly, mangy, overpaid, bleeding, dangerous. Let’s just say he’s not well-liked in Smug Nation right about now. At least he kept Dustin Brown off the score sheet in Canada Hockey Place.
4. Shea Weber: Canucks fans tend to spend more time fantasizing about Sicamous-native Weber joining the team than bemoaning his antics against the blue and green, despite last year’s playoff showdown. And truth be told, that one time he slapped the puck right through the net will stick with me as one of the coolest hockey plays I’ve seen. I mean, that clapper was clappier than a Da Nang barracks in ’68. But in light of our own experience with the head-slamming of talented Swedes at the side-boards, I think it’s fair to say that Shea Weber is currently in Canucks fans’ bad books, after he Alas-Poor-Yorick-ed Henrik Zetterberg into the glass and escaped with a paltry $2,500 fine.
5. Dan Boyle: We’re almost all the way through Canada’s lineup, and we have yet to meet a player that hasn’t matched up against the Canucks in recent post-seasons. Boyle was a key antagonist in last year’s Western Conference finals, notching the game-winning goal and adding an assist in the only Sharks win of that series. He also heaped some logs and heretics onto the already blazing fire of Canucks criticism, claiming that the ol’ head-snap was as much a part of Vancouver’s arsenal as the powerplay drop-pass. Canucks fans probably go a bit easy on Boyle since they got the last laugh: Boyle’s late clear in game 5 was controversially called icing, setting up Ryan Kesler’s game-tying goal. The stanchion took care of the rest.
6. Scott Niedermayer: Oh hey, highly-coveted BC-born playoff nemesis blueliner. Welcome to the party! Scott Niedermayer probably isn’t actually hated by Canucks fans—the guy’s pretty likeable—but he was instrumental in knocking out the 2006-07 version of the team in the second round of the playoffs. And by instrumental, I mean he scored the series winning “I-throw-my-hands-up-in-the-air-sometimes” double-overtime goal: more instrumental than an arena organist’s rendition of Taio Cruz.
7. Chris Pronger: What has the most hated defenseman in the NHL done to the Canucks? Compared to the others on this list, his sins are minor. What can the Canucks hate Chris Pronger for? 2008′s stomping-on-Ryan-Kesler-gate?
So there you have it. What kind of world do we live in when the most hated defenseman in the league is arguably your fan-base’s least-hated rearguard? Fear not, though, Canucks fans. If the team’s first round matchup against the LA Kings goes the way it looks it might, you’ll have a full new slate of Team Canada defensemen to fixate on. And who knows, maybe there will be some familiar faces. Just what you wanted this spring, right? A World Championship roster that even a Canucks fan could love!