Before the Stanley Cup Finals started, I knew more about Aaron Burr than Adam Burish. That remains the case, though I'm learning new information about Burish every day. I think I like Burr more - and he shot a guy.
Sports is about picking sides, about small skirmishes and big battles waged on the field or the court or, in hockey's case, on a frozen patch of water. It's about our guys against theirs. It's about good vs. evil. It's about heroes and villains. It's about white hats and, at the moment, Blackhawks.
You can see where this is going. For every hometown player you love, there's an out-of-towner you loathe.
Half the equation is rooting for your team; the other half is actively rooting against specific guys on the other side. When it comes to sports in Philly, the calculus is simple. In this particular equation, Burish serves as what math geeks might refer to as the negative exponent . . . er, opponent.
Chicago's chief agitator has spent a lot of time during the series complaining about Chris Pronger - which might explain why he didn't play in Game 4 and has been too busy to help his teammates in their dogged and annoying pursuit of the Cup. (The heart-stopping, not-quite comeback in Game 4 was completely unnecessary.) Whenever prompted, which happens almost daily thanks to the Chicago media, Burish has taken umbrage with Pronger picking up pucks after the game.
"I don't know what he wants pucks for," Burish told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Maybe he gives them to his kids or something."
No wonder Burish can't stand him. What a creep Pronger is for thinking about his children.
My favorite part of the quote was when Burish said that if Pronger wants a puck so bad, "I'll sign one."
In the tough-guy world of hockey, where pride still matters, that was the duel equivalent of Burr poppin' a cap in Alexander Hamilton. (For you history hawks out there, please note that "poppin' a cap" is what all the cool politicians said in the early 1800s. You can look it up. Check Wikipedia.)
Page 2 would like to congratulate Burish on currently being one of the most hated people in the area. The following is a list of company for him - Philly's favorite villains at the moment. As in right now. Today. It's not an all-time roster. Remember that before dashing off an angry e-mail about how I forgot some baseball player you hated back when everyone liked Ike.
10. Jonathan Toews. This is a hockey heavy list for obvious reasons (the bosses threatened to let Ian Laperriere do my dental checkup if I went another way). The beef with Toews? No one knows how to pronounce his last name. It's not toes, tow-ez, or even, sadly, toe-ooze. According to a chat he did on ESPN.com, it's pronounced taves.
Remember when Prince turned his name into a symbol? Toews/Taves/
Toe-ooze should do that. I even have something in mind. It involves one finger.
9. Patrick Kane. I know it's hockey, but come on - a mullet? Really? I don't care what he's heard; that's not a party on the back of his head.
8. Jeremy Roenick. He told the Canadian Press that Chicago has better-looking women than Philly. I don't know how he got pictures of my ex-girlfriends, but he still shouldn't have said it out loud. Ugly women have the Internet now.
7. Jim Joyce. Is there anyone who isn't down on the umpire who blew the last out of what should have been a perfect game? Page 2 doesn't actually care. We're simply following with the rest of the lemmings.
6. Mets & Rockies. Ever since the two clubs complained about the Phils stealing signs, the Fightin's have been in an offensive slump. Is it possible to brush back an entire organization? Or two? Where's Mitch Williams when you want to throw a few purpose pitches?
5. Kobe. ESPN's E:60 recently did an entire package on why Philly hates Kobe. It was the first time I've watched an E:60 piece from beginning to end. That's another reason to hate Kobe right there.
4. Kendra. She was sitting on a sex tape all this time and she only now got around to releasing/leaking it? That's just selfish. It's always "me, me, me" with these Playboy Playmates turned amateur smut peddlers.
3. New York fans. Ascribe your own reasons. They're all valid.
2. Burish. First Burish said he didn't care what Pronger does with those pucks. Then, in the very next sentence, he told the Sun-Times "[Pronger] wanted the puck at the end of the game, so we went to try to fight for it." Burish is like a child who doesn't care about a toy until he sees one of the other preschoolers grab for it. Someone needs to put him down for a nap.
1. Jerry Jones. The past, present, and future king.