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Hate: Pittsburgh, Boston, New York | June
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Shortly before a craggily, decrepit woman used a box of plants to battery ram me into a group of people that had about as much give as the boards in the movie Slapshot, I stood on the subway platform waiting for the 2 train the take me into the belly of the beast this morning. While waiting, in the periphery of my solitaire-focused eyes, I saw a tubby gentleman who, without turning this into a geometry class, was just standing too close to me. For no real reason. The platform was only moderately crowded and where I was, because I'm good like this, there was no one except for me. Well, and now this tubby, shadowy figure. I went as far as to notice him, but rarely look at anyone on my commute, so that's where it ended.

Until he started getting closer. Very slowly. Very creepily.

"Oh cool dude. Why don't we go away to summer camp and argue over who gets the top bunk and then build a canoe out of a tree and ride it over a bitchin' waterfall together." Thats how I think when someone gets too close to me. There's nothing I hate more.

He finally stops inching, pulls up right in front of me and hocks a fucking loogie onto the tracks. This is a deep underground subway station with the acoustics of Carnegie Fucking Hall, and he keeps hocking loogies.

So I look up a bit and he has jeans on, a sign that is not of our ilk. "Our" being the standard shit sandwich-eating commuter. And then I look all the way and what's sitting on top of his blimp head but a fucking backwards Bruins cap. Motherrrrr fuckerrrrrr.

Before we even got swept by the Bruins I had a certain distaste for them. Before the comeback, before the Winter Classic. It's a personal thing when most of your friends are from a region. They have their favorite teams and you, being from somewhere else, are expected get into disagreements over white wine spritzers at events where you both don't know anyone else. Eventually the lines between the act and the truth blur and you do hate them, in earnest.

Flyers fans have historically talked about the Devils and Rangers as our biggest rival. I've never felt that. To tell you the truth, as a kid I hated the Canadiens for some reason. I think it was because of Lyle Odelein. Maybe one of the reasons I loved Lindros so much too. But as I've gotten older the goal horns that produce the most bile in my gullet can easily be ranked.

Picture this, a no-name defenseman runs Mike Richards from the Hurricanes. You get fired up as you sip your beer, hoping that revenge will be extolled, but you don't stand up gesticulating wildly to the tv. But if a Bruins defenseman does it you want his head. It has to be a major and 40 game suspension at least.

So, enough foreplay, here is the final ranking of the teams I hate the most. These are the away games I can hardly stand to watch because I'm terrified to see what these fans actually look like, with their fucking Mens Express sweaters rolled up to their elbows and Fossil watches in the first row. And the home games I all hope end like the Flyers-Penguins, Carter-Whitney ass whomping of the past.

1. Pittsburgh

2. Boston

3. New York

And that's it.

Not just because of last season, but it's always been difficult for me to hate the Devils because they don't have any fans. The Sabres fans have enough to worry about without me throwing more negative energy at them. I have too much respect for Canadian franchises. The Caps blow but they're not on my radar, same with the rest of the Southeast or whatever they're called. I'm not even sure the Islanders exist.

As much as I hate the Penguins I want to see Sidney Crosby come back healthy and play out his career. It's great for hockey. It's great for us. Losing to them when they don't have him is shameful and beating them when they do is the real thing.

We've covered the Bruins, and the Rangers...well I'm not sure if I'd even hate them if I didn't live here. But people like the old woman with the plant box this morning, the woman who has me picking hydrangea leaves out of my ass, she keeps that fire burning. Her and the other 10 million people just like her.