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Which players from the Metropolitan Division do you hate to love or love to hate?

Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Four Getty Images

Sports rivalries bring with them an immense hatred of your divisional rivals. Yet, for as much as Penguins fans rag on Alex Ovechkin or Claude Giroux, for example, sometimes you have to sit back and admire a certain players’s ability to play the game ... or hate a certain player with every fiber of your being because they get under your skin so much.

And that’s what we’re going to look at today.

Two players from the same team immediately come to mind when talking about players I love to hate: Tom Wilson and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Tom Wilson

If you have watched the NHL for a while there’s a good chance you have heard the name Tom Wilson followed by the controversy of a big hit he laid on an opposing player.

If you’re not a Capitals fan, it’s easy to hate Tom Wilson and label him as a dirty player. Where there’s smoke, I tend to see fire, based on the amount of times he’s been suspended since 2017.

Let’s take a look at some of his suspensions.

On September 22, 2017, Wilson nailed forward Robert Thomas with a late hit, resulting in a two pre-season game ban. The league then suspended Wilson for the first four games of the 2017 regular season for boarding St. Louis forward Sammy Blais during the 2017 pre-season finale.

As Penguins fans know all too well by now, on May 2, 2018, Wilson was suspended for three playoff games due to an illegal check to the head of Zach Aston-Reese. Aston-Reese suffered a concussion and a broken jaw.

On October 3, 2018, Wilson was suspended for 20 regular season games due to an illegal hit to the head of Oskar Sundqvist during a pre-season game. Wilson appealed his suspension at a hearing on October 18, but Gary Bettman upheld it. Following Bettman’s decision, Wilson filed for a third appeal from a neutral arbitrator, and on November 13, 2018, his 20-game suspension was reduced to 14.

What is it with Wilson targeting the St. Louis Blues?

Nevertheless, Wilson’s dirty antics have rightfully earned him his sour reputation with some fans.

Evgeny Kuznetsov

Carolina Hurricanes v Washington Capitals - Game Seven Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game 3: Washington Capitals vs Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Need I say more? I don’t know what it is about Kuznetsov’s “bird celebration,” but I absolutely cannot stand him when he does it. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Flipping the switch, we turn our focus to a few players that I actually don’t mind watching throughout the division.

Artemi Panarin

The “Breadman” certainly got his bread when he signed a seven-year, $81.5 million contract with the New York Rangers one year ago. And while the Rangers have been down in the dumps focusing on a rebuild, Panarin gives the Rangers a boost of star power while the likes of Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil come into their own as youngsters.

Panarin is not a physical player, but I admire his quickness and silky mitts in addition to his pure goalscoring ability.

I could go for some Panera right now.

Andrei Svechnikov

I don’t have much hatred for the Carolina Hurricanes. There isn’t a big time rivalry feel with the club in its current state. After all, those Hurricanes are just a lovable bunch of jerks.

But at just 20-years-old and only in his second NHL season, Svechnikov has already made a pretty nice highlight reel.

I wish more players played with the flare that Svechnikov has. It would make for a much more entertaining game.


This list is quite brief and I’m sure there are other names that you would be interested in sharing your opinions of. Let me know down below who you hate to love or love to hate!