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The most despised teams in the NHL

Love to hate or flat out loathe, we look at all sides.

Stanley Cup Finals - Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings - Game Seven Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Following up on the best NHL rivalries, today we look at which teams you just hate. Once again we turned to the experts, team sites and NHL fans, and asked: rivalries aside, which teams do you loathe?

The fans spoke and the answers were fairly predictable, three Original Six teams and two recent Stanley Cup winners top the list.

Playoff rivals breed contempt

The Islanders and Penguins have been playoff opponents dating all the way back to 1975. New York has almost always come out the winner, but there’s a real hatred there that goes beyond Chico Resch, John Tonelli and David Volek. It used to be the rising Islanders pushing past the plucky Penguins. Then it was the Penguins, one of the NHL’s crown jewel franchises (despite a couple of bankruptcies deep in their closet) versus the often-forgotten bastard child Islanders. Neither side likes the other very much, yet they can’t ever escape the other’s orbit. The Penguins even have a statue of two Islanders (and some other guy) in front of their home arena!

Rivalries with the Flyers and Capitals have popped up from time to time, and one with the Devils never really got off the ground. Anyone asserting that an Islanders-Maple Leafs rivalry began in 2018 must have been too young to remember 2002 (or 1978).

- Dan Saraceni, Lighthouse Hockey

Just hate everyone

It’s so great being a fan of an Original Six franchise that has also switched conferences in the last decade because it would be easier to share which teams I don’t hate. The history in the West makes me actively root against the Ducks and Blackhawks. The rekindled history back east has the Bruins, Penguins, Leafs, and Lightning as the teams that I’d root for any of their competitors over them. Especially fun is that the Blues would have been on this list as recently as last year except they faced the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final and my heart easily told me that I could indeed hate Boston enough to actually root for a Blues victory rather than a meteor.

- J.J. from Kansas, Winging it in Motown

Buffalo Sabres v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

You play hockey, not soccer

The Florida Panthers. And literally the only reason why I hate them is because of their stupid, ugly, ridiculous uniforms. They suck. The Panthers used to have the best logo and uniforms. They were original and fun. Now? Their logo looks like something out of the MLS. It’s like they’re trying to one-up Montreal with that horizontal stripe across the torso, and it’s not working. I know hating a team for its uniforms is a bit ridiculous, but I am the king of ridiculous. So sue me.

- Ryan Quigley, Hockey Wilderness

Stop living in the past

The Carolina Hurricanes. And like Ryan, it’s a uniform thing. I live in Massachusetts. I grew up being able to watch Hartford Whalers hockey. The Whalers died when they moved the franchise to Carolina. Therefore, the Carolina Hurricanes shouldn’t be able to wear the Hartford Whalers uniforms. Plain and simple. I have this nonsensical hatred of every time Carolina throws on the green and blue. Just stop. You don’t deserve to wear those jerseys. I know, it’s so childish.

- Mark Parkinson, Matchsticks & Gasoline

Let’s get a little more granular

Other than the Non-Islanders of New York and Philadelphia, no one. Sure, some teams rise in terms of tension in certain situations, but no long term rivalry comes about. Especially if it is based around a certain player more so than a team. The hate is limited to just that one player, be it Tom Wilson, Brad Marchand, or Ilya Kovalchuk. Like all good Devils fans, my hate is focused on the Orange and Black and the Blueshirts from the World’s Most Overrated Arena.

- John Fischer, All About the Jersey

You don’t matter

I absolutely can’t stand the New Jersey Devils. Childhood trauma aside, they insist they are relevant in the grand scheme of the NHL and that just drives me nuts. I am New Jersey born and bred and the Devils do not matter.

- Steph Driver, Broad Street Hockey


As a former Atlanta Thrashers fan I should hate the Winnipeg Jets, but I don’t other than when they’re running our goalie to “get in his head” or whatever. I used to hate the Detroit Red Wings until they went East and got awful, and now I just really feel for them and their fans. It’s hard for me to get ginned up about a team that isn’t the Hawks, so I’ll just say that I don’t hate anyone else, but there are teams whose games I avoid because I just think they’re boring. *insert Minnesota Wild joke here*

- Laura Astorian, St. Louis Game Time

At least Gritty is cool

If I had to choose one, I guess it would be the Flyers (Gritty excepted). It’s a combination of them beating the snot out of the Lightning early in Tampa Bay’s existence, the bloodbath that was the 1996 playoffs, and the amount of fair-weather Philly fans that used to flood the Ice Palace/Tampa Bay Times Forum/Amalie Arena. Spending a year in Pittsburgh did nothing to alleviate my strong dislike for almost all thing Flyers.

- Justin G., Raw Charge