The first game of the Eastern Conference Semi-Final was absolutely brilliant, and set another case for the argument that Bruins vs. Habs has usurped Red Sox vs. Yankees as the most compelling rivalry among all sports. Because of their storied history - they've now met 34 times in postseason history - and the fact that they are two of the original NHL franchises, the game would surely have been hailed today as the most compelling of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs thus far.
Instead Boston is left once again to defend itself as the world clamors to discuss whether one of America's original beacons of freedom is still one of it's most racist, after an outburst of racist tweets directed at Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban.
Any well-adjusted fan in Boston was not on Twitter last night spouting off the N-word. We all know this. These small people with a sad inability to recognize their own insignificance on the social media landscape are not representatives of the majority. They are what all communities fear; the ignorant yet loud minority.
Unfortunately, Boston has struggled for a long time to emerge from it's checkered relationship with racism in past decades; and these loudmouth attention-seekers are a painful reminder to many who suffered truly horrifying racism at the hands of elitist Bostonians in years past. Sports "fans" everywhere resort to this type of hate verbiage in the aftermath of losses all the time. Yet the sports culture in Boston is one that is more ubiquitous than in any other market, and therefore so also is the concentration of morons that feel they have the right to say anything they want to in reaction.
What the morons don't seem to understand is that it is perfectly okay to hate P.K. Subban. He should be despised by Boston Bruins fans, and invoking ethnic slurs diminishes their ability to do so.
Subban is everything that makes a perfect sports villain for Bostonians. He's a member of a rival team, one the B's have faced many times. He's good. Really good. In just five seasons in the NHL he is 16th all-time for the Canadiens in points by a defenseman, with 167. And he makes just enough of a case for himself as an accomplished "embellish-er" that there is something to nitpick.
Oh, and he scored the impressive goal in Thursday night's epic battle that left the President's Trophy-winning Bruins on the wrong end of a 4-3 loss after they'd outshout the Habs 51-33.
The beautiful thing about sports is that at any point in time you can find an enemy to your team; an adversary on which to project your frustrations in the name of athletics. It's handed to you on a silver platter. You can hate them for the colors they wear, their mascot, the stupid way they hold the ball, their lame attention-grabbing haircut, their gross beards, how often they flop, their loudmouth coach, their gross arena and the unfunny commercials that their superstars are in.
Sports lay out a buffet of irrational reasons to dislike people, and P.K. Subban and the Canadiens certainly gave Bruins fans plenty of things to be pissy about.
Subban's race is not one of them, and it never should be.