It's Stanley Cup final time once again, and by now you've probably read about one million or so articles on the intricacies and differences of the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, as we all wait for the puck to drop on Game 1 Wednesday.
So, in the spirit of hockey friendship (and as we wait a bit longer), here are a number of traits that both teams share.
This list may come in very handy when you find yourself sitting between these two groups of fans at a sports pub. If you feel that you will find yourself in this scenario, CBCSports.ca suggests that you print this sheet out, roll it up, and swing it in an arc-like motion around either side of you to fend them off when the game starts.
Being better when losing big
We might see our first Stanley Cup final where both teams are actively trying to let the other get ahead by a wide margin. Because entering the final, both Chicago and Boston have shown that it's a proven strategy for success!
Think about it. Boston was all but eliminated in Game 7 against the Leafs, down 4-1, until...
(Warning: the following passage may be traumatizing for fans of the Maple Leafs)
...sparking a historic comeback nine minutes into the third period, winning 5-4 in overtime.
Chicago was also dead to rights, down 3-1 in the series against Detroit, before pulling off two gutsy wins in Games 5 and 6 to force a seventh and deciding game. There...
(Warning: the following passage may be traumatizing for fans of the Red Wings)
...the Blackhawks overcame a dubious disallowed game-winner in the final minutes of play to eliminate the Wings in overtime.
We might also spot another first in the summer: Red Wings and Leaf fans consoling each other through extreme psychological distress.
Being business in the front, party in the back
In 2013, we will finally get to answer the question that absolutely nobody was asking, "What happens when past and future mullets collide?"
We don't know, but the answer is probably something like "Flavour Patch."
Either way, just take a look at this side-by-side shot of present-day Patrick Kane and 90's Jaromir Jagr. Nothing else needs to be said.
Both the Bruins and Blackhawks employ the time-tested strategy of "Making-Everyone-On-The-Other-Team-Hate-You-So-They-Are-Distracted-And-Yelling-Instead-Of-Backchecking," with a lot of success.
Boston employed this tactic against the heavily-favoured Penguins, which had the surprising effect of seeing Evgeni Malkin have more fights in the series (one) than points (guess what number this is).
Chicago pulled a similar trick to the usually-unflappable Wings, which seemed to help wear Detroit down in the later stages of the series.
But there's also a specific hate that both teams equally share, in droves...
Being hated, specifically by Vancouver
This Stanley Cup final can also be called "The Worst Thing Ever For Canucks Fans. (Ever.)"
Where do we start with this? If you have been following hockey with at least a tertiary interest in the past few years, you know all about how mentioning either Chicago or Boston in the presence of Canucks fans is akin to jumping into a tiger pit and screaming "Come at me, BRAH!"
Both teams infuriated this set of fans in a very special, rage-inducing way. First, Chicago, with their swagger-y ways and Byfuglien-y crashing, took out Vancouver in two straight seasons, winning a Cup in the latter, and stopping a Canuck team in its prime from a serious run at the title.
Then, when Vancouver finally, barely gets past the Hawks, and makes its much-awaited run to the final, who gets in their way but a team that the Canucks will learn to hate even more. Which they will lose the Cup to. In Game 7. On home ice. Sparking one of the darkest nights in the city's history.
Yeah. Not fun. Either way, it might be a good idea to follow @strombone1. He may have some things to say.
These two teams have the distinction of being part of the Original Six, the founding members of the NHL!
...if you forget that time the league had 10 teams.
...and that time the Ottawa Senators won four Stanley Cups.
...or when Brooklyn was a team and it wasn't partly-owned by Jay Z.
...or anything before the Second World War.
Just take our word for it! Stop reading books. Those are bad.
Now let's play a quick game of "would you rather."
Would you rather face a team whose top defenceman is capable of this when he gets mad:
...or playing against a 6-foot-million man who looks like this...
...when he's extremely happy?
Is running an option? That should be an option.
Being American ratings bonanzas
In the U.S., the two highest-rated NHL games in nearly four decades involved one of the Bruins or Blackhawks. Chicago's series-clincher in 2010 against Philadelphia was the seventh most-watched NHL game in the U.S. in history, while Boston-Vancouver's Game 7 sits No. 4.
So what do you get when you cross the two teams together in the Stanley Cup final?
We don't know, but we're pretty sure NBC is staking out an area for their new swimming pool filled with piles of money.
Being teams that don't fire their coaches over Skype
Come on, you didn't think we'd let this go by without mentioning it, did you? We're not above that.
But seriously, Edmonton. You couldn't at least spring for a phone card?