Anyone who has a clue about the history of the NHL is well aware of the intra-rivalries between the Original Six clubs. In some way, shape, or form, one teams fan base hates the other 5. It’s something that makes the NHL unique compared to the other professional sports leagues. The rivalry between Toronto and Boston goes as far back as electric scoreboards and chain-link fencing being placed around the rink instead of glass.
The two teams last met in the playoffs in 1974, when the Bruins swept the Leafs in the quarterfinal round before losing to the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Final. They have only met in the Final once, in 1939 when Art Ross coached the Bruins to a 4-1 victory.
The Toronto fan base is one of the most passionate and hardcore in the entire league. No matter what time of the year it is, talk radio is centered around the team and if they can ever become a contender. They were the last team to win the Stanley Cup in the Original Six era in 1967, and has yet to return to the Final in the modern era of the NHL.
Toronto snapped a seven-year playoff drought and have made the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 lockout. Apparently they aren’t used to being at Air Canada Centre this time of the year and one fan attending Game 3 forgot to bring his class with them Monday night.
After the bombing that marred the Boston Marathon last month, Boston Strong has been a rallying cry and chant felt throughout Boston and the New England region. It’s been seen everywhere from highway billboards, to uniforms on the Red Sox and on the boards at TD Garden.
Fans in Boston were outraged when a Toronto fan holding a blue and white TORONTO STRONGER sign was shown on television and on the Air Canada Centre video board. He went further to include a blue and white ribbon that is similar to the one used to remember the victims of the April 15 attack. This article posted on Boston.com shows how outraged fans are. And as a fan of neither team, I believe it is in poor taste. If you want to make fun of Zdeno Chara’s head being in a different stratosphere, or how Tim Thomas quit on them to take a sabbatical this season feel free. But don’t make a joke on a tragic day in the history of the city, especially how it is still fresh in our memory. Can you imagine if an opposing fan of a New York team made airplane signs and gestures in 2001 after 9/11? That person would be castrated by everyone in the country. The Toronto fan has yet to be identified.
The players for the Bruins must have seen the sign and used that as inspiration because they won Game 3 by a 5-2 score. Game 4 is Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.