Sports, and to a certain extent life, are always more fun and more exciting when there's a rival involved. Whether it's the Flyers and the Penguins, the Yankees and Red Sox, Batman and The Joker, or hockey fans and Gary Bettman, life is more entertaining when there's someone who gets the blood boiling a bit more than usual - in essence, someone to root against. The Buffalo Sabres, however, seem to flit from rival to rival every ten years or so, never truly settling on one team to truly and eternally hate.
In the 70's it was the Flyers. In the '80's and early '90's it was the Bruins. In the late '90's and early 2000's it was the Senators. The Leafs have always been there, and are the Sabres best geographical rival, but with neither team being consistently competitive over the past decade or so, Buffalo/Toronto games these days are more of an excuse for Sabres fans to make a big profit by selling their tickets than anything else.
While it's always fun to root against the Leafs, my hockey hatred right now is focused on the Boston Bruins, and here's why yours should be too.
It's more than just Lucic. If I had less time on my hands, I could just insert a video of Milan Lucic running Ryan Miller into next Sunday and call it a day, but my hatred of Boston goes beyond Lucic and his incredibly weak "I didn't see him" excuse. Boston's roster is full of players that are oh-so-hateable. Zdeno Chara and his incredible courage that came from playing with a full cage two years ago. Brad Marchand nibbling at heels after every play like a starving puppy. Everything about Tim Thomas. The hatred flows so easily I even hate getting the letters "KREJCI" in Scrabble.
Claude Julien. As easy as it is to hate the Bruin players, it's even easier to dislike their coach. The esteemed Claude Julien is a Stanley Cup winning coach (thanks to doing nothing but riding the hottest playoff goalie of the past decade) who brings out the best in his players (by encouraging them to mug, slash, and cheap shot the opposition as much as possible.) He's ushered in a renaissance of sorts for goonish behavior that's much less "sending a message" than "sending a player to the hospital." For examples, see: Lucic/Miller, Chara/Pacioretty, and the multiple 5-on-5 brawls that the Bruins have been involved in over the past few seasons. As a result we're now trending once again toward an era where size trumps skill, because everyone loved hockey so much in the pre-lockout years. Also, to borrow a joke from The Soup, he looks like a human thumb.
Boston fans are the most annoying in sports. Turns out when all your teams win (multiple) championships in a 10-year span, other cities tend to start hating you. The phrase "act like you've been there before" apparently does not apply to what are ostensibly the loudest, most obnoxiously-accented fans in any city in America.
They always beat us. Oh, right.