POLL — Who is the Islanders’ Most Hated Opponent?
Kevin Schultz , Islanders Point Blank:
In this month’s issue of the Hockey News, the publication tackled the question of what current player each NHL fanbase dislikes the most. For the Islanders, THN decided that Islander fans hate Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist the most.
THN writes: “Maybe fans hate Henrik Lundqvist because they look in their own team’s net and see the oft-injured Rick DiPetro taking up valuable cap space. Maybe it’s because Lundqvist had a 2007 run-in with an Isles ice girl trying to clear the snow around his net. Regardless, the suave goalie always will get a rough reception at Nassau-and, soon enough, at Barclays.”
In all actuality, I don’t think there’s much distaste for Lundqvist other than the color jersey he wears. If anything, there might even be a bit of respect from Islanders fans for a player who is a world class goaltender. Heck, if we’re talking about New York area netminders Islander fans hate, isn’t Marty Brodeur on the top of that list?
Yesterday, I took to Twitter to get some suggestions from Islanders fans as to who they hate the most. The one rule: it must be an active player (so, Sean Avery doesn’t count, although he might be up there if he did).
Here are the results of the informal survey:
4 votes each: Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky
2 votes: Max Talbot, Scott Hartnell, Daniel Briere, Matt Cooke
1 vote: Tomas Holstrom, Marian Gaborik, Chris Pronger, Steve Mason, Zdeno Chara, Dan Boyle, Carl Hagelin, Marty St. Louis, Alex Ovechkin, Dion Phaneuf
As you can see, the hate is pretty divided. Sidney Crosby gets a lot of ire for, well, being Sidney Crosby. I imagine a lot of fanbases in the eastern conference woud have a few votes for him as well. Brandon Dubinsky was a Rangers pest, but he’s now playing for the Blue Jackets. Dubinksy also averages .54 points per game over his career but that number jumps to .79 against the Islanders, with 26 points in 33 games, possibly another reason he draws some ire.
Max Talbot and Matt Cooke make the list for their roles in the Islanders/Penguins brawls from two seasons ago. Daniel Briere earned himself a three-game suspension a while back for swinging his stick at Frans Nielsen and Scott Hartnell is the resident Flyers pest, who also amazingly manages to have 31 points and 17 goals in 38 career games against the Islanders. Defenders Dion Phaneuf and Chris Pronger only showed up once each. Pronger is a notorious dirty player and has elbowed John Tavares a couple times, while Phaneuf is famous for destroying Kyle Okposo a few seasons back.
Not on this list of Twitter votes? Lundqvist or Brodeur.
Overall, there’s not one player that Islanders fans seem to focus their hate on. It’s interesting and sort of speaks to the state of the rivalries with the team. The rivalry with the Rangers has been fairly heated the last few seasons but now with Avery and Dubinsky gone, there won’t be one player who is a lightning rod. And even after everything that happened with the Penguins a while back, that was more of an ‘Us vs. Them’ situation and it shows, as Talbot, Crosby, and Cooke all made the list.
But let’s do another experiment. Who’s your most hated Islanders opponent? Tell us in the following poll or in the comments below.