Welcome to a new feature on Cup o' Chowdah: The Chowder Panel. If those fuckers at TSN can do one, so can we, right? Sure, we don't have Aaron Ward, but we make do. The idea is that we ask a general question and each writer on staff writes something about it. Enjoy today's question:
Who's your Second-Favorite NHL Team?
I like the Blues. I used to like the Hawks, but then they won the Cup and became boring to me (in my second team, I want some adversity. The Bruins could win every game and I'd never stop caring about them, but in my second team I want to watch them struggle dramatically for some reason.) The Hawks winning the Cup correlated with Vladimir Sobotka and Jaroslav Halak getting traded to the Blues, so it wasn't too hard for me to bandwagon them instead. And then I lived in St. Louis for a year, which made loving them as a second team even easier. Also they have great fans who love when you jump on their bandwagon.
If I could add a player from their team to the Bruins it would be either David Backes (AMERICA) or Kevin Shattenkirk (AMERICA and also Boston University). Awesomely enough, my first Blues game at Scottrade was Shatty's first game as a Blue after he was traded for Erik Johnson.
Second favorite team is Sidney Crosby. I guess that makes it the Penguins, but that makes me feel dirty, so it's Sidney Crosby's current team which happens to be the Penguins. I know Crosby's overhyped, but I vividly remember the first time I saw him play and being like yep, that. Hockey, how awesome. Plus the Penguins are always a guaranteed fun watch - it's either going to be Crosby/Malkin/Neal putting on a show, or it's going to be the defense/MAF imploding and allowing a billion goals. Always a good time! Plus, they were named by a lady, and I have a historical interest in that.
They're the team I will always sure to watch if they're playing (if the Bruins aren't), and while sometimes it's to jeer, it means I watch an awful lot of Pens games. Second favorite might be overstating it, but maybe they qualify as my hate-sex bit on the side.
My second favorite team is the (all together now) Minnesota Wild. I've been a fan ever since I got into watching hockey, from before Gaborik left and when Brian Rolston was still a legitimate NHL player. I became a fan because my family is from Minnesota, and the North Stars left. I generally gravitate towards Minnesota teams, they usually don't compete directly with Boston teams and the Twin Cities are pretty swell. Doesn't hurt that I'm a big fan of the Hockey Wilderness staff and community, to boot.
If the Bruins could take one player from that team, I'd say either Mikko Koivu or Zach Parise. Of course, rookie defenseman Jonas Brodin has been making Calder waves this year and having him and Dougie doing big things for the next 10-15 years together makes me very interested. Either way, the Wild are on the up and up and I couldn't be happier about it.
Since I presume we're limiting this to currently extant teams, so I'm going with the Hawks. Having grown up nearest to Minneapolis in terms of NHL cities with the next closest Chicago, I was by geography a default North Stars fan. The moment my original fandom was betrayed I might have wound up rocking the Indian head if Bill Wirtz hadn't been so hung up on gate revenue that he allowed anyone outside his arena to see his damn team play. Thanks to video games, I was clearly aware of the legend that was Jeremy Roenick, but beyond the odd occasional road game the Blackhawks were just a logo to me. A sweetass logo. I opted for Neely, Bourque and another, sweeter logo.
As for the current team? I loves me the downright Marchand-ian off-ice antics of Patrick 20-Cent Kane and on-ice trollery of Bolland. The mesmerizing Hossa-ness of Hossa. The so-serious play of the league's second best two way center Toews, perv face and all. The handsomeness of Patrick Sharp. The Paille-ness of Viktor Stalberg's breakaways. The prevention of a Philadelphia cup championship. The ownership of the Canucks. The sonic, psychological torture of their goal song on opponents. And I dig that they play a more open, uptempo game than the Bruins - a little variety in my side dalliance is welcome.
I'm married to Boston, but I've had a sweet hot love affair with Chicago. So first and foremost it's the city that attracts me to the Blackhawks. They are also well dressed. Also they beat the Flyers after I had a weird blackout in 2010 for a couple weeks. Patrick Kane is hella fun to watch play hockey and americaaaaa. Jonathan Toews reminds me of Patrice Bergeron.
Also had a blast on my trip to United Center. The fans were amazing and the anthem is top notch and you should have this on your to do list of arenas as a hockey fan if you haven't done it.
The easy answer, and I suppose the technically correct one, is "whoever's playing Montreal". But that's kind of a cop out. So for me, my second favorite team would be the New York Islanders. When I was a kid, the Islanders had just come off their phenomenal run of four straight Cups, and still had Mike Bossy, though not for much longer, alas, a gracefully aging Denis Potvin and Bryan Trottier, and an up-and-comer named Pat LaFontaine. Bossy and LaFontaine held a place in my heart not too far below Ray Bourque and Cam Neely. Of course, after LaFontaine was traded, and a brief period of a Pierre Turgeon-led resurgence (eat shit, Dale Hunter), they sucked for most of the next 22 years. Writing on a Bruins blog, it's easy to forget that, aside from the B's, I'm a lot more plugged in to the New York sports scene than the Boston one: I love the Mets and Syracuse hoops (they're NYC's de facto team since St. John's has been awful since Lou Carnesecca retired), and will happily pull for the Knicks and Giants most of the time. The Yankees and Jets, of course, can piss up a rope. Anyway, I'm happy to see the Islanders relevant once agai
2nd favorite NHL team: growing up it was always the Detroit Red Wings. My moms side of the family is from Michigan and they were a powerhouse team when I really started to embrace hockey in the mid-to-late 90s when the Bruins were the worst and I needed a mistress in the Western Conference to get me through the season into the playoffs. And also because Sergei Fedorov.
These days I don't have a solid second favorite anymore now that Fedorov and the other remnants of that Wings team are gone and I don't need a mistress because the Bruins are good. It was the Avalanche for a while. Right now I'd say the Kings just because I also follow the Manchester Monarchs so closely. I DON'T KNOW THIS QUESTION IS TOO HARD
Hard for me, but I watch the Senators with a lot of respect. They do things the right way. The underdog Islanders have been fun this season, but I come back to the Senators.
Dennis Wideman. That counts, right?
So, what do y'all think? Who's your second favorite team?