A case for class

With all of the hoopla going on in the aftermath Boston-Montreal series, I wanted take a moment and discuss the whole idea of class.  There are plenty of places on the web where you can see Brad Marchand punching Patches in the head before a faceoff. There are even more stories and videos depicting Milan Lucic spearing guys in the taint and then threatening the entire province of Quebec with noogies in the handshake line.

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Really… you are just now realizing the type of player I am?

After this incident, the entire hockey world was aghast at the complete and utter lack of sportsmanship on behalf of the storied Bruins.  How dare someone not simply say “Good Game” and move along with their life?  By gosh that has never happened in the entire history of sports!  Except it has.  Not 10 minutes later, Keith Jones on NBCSN shared a story of how a Maple Leaf player threatened to kill him next time they faced each other, and sure enough, first game next season, fisticuffs ensued.  Everyone remembers the name of that horrible, classless Maple Leaf right?  Yeah, me neither.

Look, I’m not saying that what Milan Lucic did was right, or even socially acceptable.  What I am saying is that in this day of instant news and 2 hour news cycles, we have a lot more info today than we ever did.  Milan Lucic and Marchand are hockey rats.  No one wants to play against them, and you are only a fan if they play on your team.  Kinda like, I don’t know, say Matt Cooke.  I mean, the completely classless Minnesota Wild organization is an abomination, right?

In that matter, lets look at some of the most classless teams of all time:

  • 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins w/ aforementioned Cooke and head hunter Brooks Orpik
  • 2007 Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks w/ noted dirty player Chris Pronger and pugilist George Parros
  • 1996 Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche w/ self-proclaimed bad boy Claude Lemieux and dirty as can be Chris Simon
  • 1991 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins w/ dirtiest player ever Ulf Samuelsson and drug kingpin Kevin Stevens
  • 1987 Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers w/ renowned gambler and overall bad dude Marty McSorely
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See, even gap teeth bastards can be Champions!

Ok… you get my drift.  Even some of the most beloved teams of all time had so-called “bad guys” on their team.  While hockey in the view of our rose-colored glasses is a gentlemen’s sport, the real history of the sport is littered with guys who on the ice would rather give you a butt end than a handshake.  In looking through the history of recent Stanley Cup winners, almost everyone had at minimum a “sandpaper guy” and at max had, well, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand.  Looking back at that year, who did the classless label fall upon?  Not the hated Bruins, but the fair city of Vancouver for having a riot that Montreal can only hope to recreate a month from now.  So I ask you this fair and simple question:

Which would you prefer:  Having a player or two labeled as mean, dirty, or even classless OR spending an evening October watching your favorite team raise a Stanley Cup banner to the rafters?

I, for one, can’t wait to see that banner raised and the tears of 1000 players wiped up by the one guy no one wants to play against.  So, I beg of you GMRF, go find that guy.  Add that mean, dirty classless player to this franchise, once again.  Because while it’s not the type of thing we talk about at parties, we want that guy on that wall.  We need that guy on that wall.  Matt Cooke, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic:  Raleigh doesn’t want you, but we sure as hell need you.

Did I just suggest adding a dirty player this offseason to our beloved Canes?…

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