According to a recent Angus Reid poll that surveyed Canadians, the Vancouver Canucks are not the most hated NHL team in Canada. The Toronto Maple Leafs are with 33% of self-described hockey fans saying that they hate the Leafs more than any other Canadian NHL franchise.
Which is the most beloved NHL franchise in Canada? That would be the Montreal Canadiens.
Undeterred by their losing season, nearly a quarter of hockey fans named the Montreal Canadiens as their favorite Canadian NHL franchise. If you include all people surveyed, that number drops to 19%.
That’s not too surprising. Fans might get angry with their favorite squad when they’re struggling and make their feelings known, but it’s less common for people to throw their hands up in the air and start rooting for a different team.
What’s interesting is that the Toronto Maple Leafs captured the hearts of 20% of hockey fans to come in second place. Yes, Toronto is both the second most loved franchise and the most hated. So the one thing you can say about the Leafs is, based on that poll, they bring out strong emotions in most Canadian hockey fans.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: