New note: If you are reading this and are a Canadiens fan, I know how you’re feeling. If a Habs captain took out one of my players, I’d be really pissed. But I wouldn’t want to press criminal charges against him. Even though he’s a lot shorter, Gionta plays just as tough as Chara. They are both great leaders, and neither player has ever been suspended. Chara’s hit on Pacioretty was definitely interference, but to think that it was a crime is just ridiculous. I honestly thought Chara would be suspended after I saw it, but I thought Cooke would be suspended after taking out Savard last year too. I’ve played hockey my whole life and gotten into my share of scuffles on the rink. If you’ve played hockey, you know that hurting other players isn’t part of the game and if you do injure someone, you feel horrible about it. If Gionta did the same to a Bruins player and said he didn’t mean it, I’d believe him. I’m hoping you can do the same for Chara. Hating Chara is not going to make Pacioretty heal any more quickly, is it? I wish the best for Pacioretty and his speedy recovery. Let’s not have the best rivalry in hockey get too ugly…
That said, here's why I love Gionta, but will always root against The Habs!
I’ve been rooting for him for over 13 years, but now he’s the captain of the NHL team I root against the most…
Listed at 5’7”, Brian Gionta is the first American-born player to be the sole captain of the Montreal Canadiens (US Native Chris Chelios was co-captain with Guy Carbonneau). However, he wasn’t always on the “Hated Habs”.
Gionta was a major part of the revival of the Boston College hockey program. He made it to the Frozen Four in each of his four years at BC, finally winning an NCAA championship in 2001 – another team he captained (This, by the way, was the first time one of my favorite teams won a championship).
As you can see, like many NHLers and BCers, Gionta started playing when he was young.
I believe this card was a stocking stuffer one year for Christmas, and my parents got it autographed for me after a Bruins-Devils game. I wonder how many people watching “Littler Gionta” play as a North Star thought he would be playing in the NHL someday. In this feature I found on YouTube, Gionta says he used all the naysayers comments as motivation. It seems to have worked out pretty well for him.
Tonight, the Bruins will face the Canadiens and continue one of the biggest rivalries in sports. Although Gionta isn’t the shortest current NHL player (that distinction goes to another former BC Eagle, Nate Gerbe), he will be playing against the tallest NHL player, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
I will never, ever, ever, ever root for the Canadiens - I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be allowed back in my parents' house if I did. But I find it just as difficult to root against Brian Gionta. So, I hope he plays well tonight, but the Bruins win easily and remain first in the division. In the meantime, here are some Gionta Gems I found, including a fight! GO BRUINS!