Bruins and Canadiens: Rivals Forever

The 2014 Stanley Cup game looks to be yet another meeting between long time NHL rivals, the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. The rivalry between these two teams has a long history, and makes for one of the most intense and fascinating stories in all of sports talk. What makes it even better is that neither team, in all of the years the rivalry has existed, has yet managed to gain the upper hand in the conflict. Chances are that this is one rivalry that will continue long into the 21st century, with no clear resolution in sight – not that fans of either team would have it any other way.

As it is, the rivalry between the Bruins and Canadiens is already nearly a century old. The first meeting between these two legendary NHL power house teams occurred on December 8, 1924. Since that historic date, the two teams have met each other over 900 times. When both regular season games and playoff appearances are combined, these two teams have appeared on the rink in combat more than any other two teams in the entire history of the NHL. While it is obvious that no one in the 1920’s sat down and decided to purposely create the NHL’s longest standing rivalry, it is clear that the course of events has truly taken on a will of its own.

In the years since 1924, the Canadiens have won slightly more games than the Bruins, although the total number of wins is hardly enough to secure a comfortable and dominant margin of victory. If the Bruins take the 2014 Stanley Cup, they will have done more than their share to redress the balance of total wins. Fans on both sides of the aisle will be rooting heartily for their teams, and the tension is expected to be thick enough for a puck to cut through.

Indeed, some of the most historic meetings between these two long time rivals have ended quite literally in riot and bloodshed. One of the worst incidents was the legendary (or infamous) 1955 Richard Riot. This sordid incident involved Canadiens player Rocket Richard and Bruins team member Hal Laycoe. Apparently, the trouble began when Laycoe high sticked Richard in the head during a power play. This resulted in Richard receiving a nasty gash that required five surgical stitches to close up.

But the damage was far from being over. Laycoe and Richard proceeded to engage in bloody combat which, in turn, ramped up fans on both sides to a riotous lather. The fallout from the incident involved plenty of broken chairs and broken heads, and the entire affair is still remembered as one of the nastiest hockey fights and resultant riots that the game has ever endured.

Since that time, the rivalry between these two legendary NHL championship teams has continued as strongly as ever. Between the years 1984 and 1992, the two teams managed to meet each other in the playoffs a record making 9 consecutive times. No other pair of teams has since managed to replicate this amazingly consistent feat. And, in the 21st century, the rivalry is alive and well. No matter which team manages to take home the 2014 Stanley Cup, one thing is certain: The other team will be waiting to revenge their wounded pride. The rivalry between the Bruins and Canadiens is one that will not end any time soon, if it ever truly does.

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Stacey Palmers
Stacey Palmers

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