Every fanbase has an opposing player that they love to hate. In recent years, few players have been as maligned by fans of the Carolina Hurricanes as Erik Haula.
As Hurricanes fans, there has been an evolution of hatred for certain players. In the early 2000s, New Jersey’s Scott Stevens was easy to hate. Brooks Orpik was read the riot act every time he played at the RBC Center after his hit on Erik Cole.
Over time, players like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov, and Brad Marchand are examples of players that have terrorized the Carolina Hurricanes, making them easy targets for our disdain.
Over the last 24 hours, the discourse across social media, at least in certain circles, has surrounded a photo of Erik Haula playing golf wearing a “Canes Suck” bracelet. It has brought out the brain trust of opposing fans laughing at our expense, namely Devils fans.
For those unaware of the history, Erik Haula was acquired by the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2019 offseason for Nicolas Roy and a draft pick. He recorded 12 goals and 22 points in an injury-shortened 41 games before being packaged with three other players and sent to the Florida Panthers for Vincent Trocheck.
Since then, Erik Haula has become a menace to the Carolina Hurricanes and the fans. Aside from drawing the ire of my younger brother every time he’s on the screen, Haula’s history with the Canes goes even deeper.
Erik Haula has played for three teams in three years, Nashville during the shortened 2021 season, Boston in 2021-22, and New Jersey this past season. Ironically, he’s been eliminated from the postseason by the Carolina Hurricanes with each subsequent stop.
So, why should we care about this bracelet?
Honestly, we shouldn’t.
I’ll be the first to admit that I love seeing him get his comeuppance when he does something to the Hurricanes on the ice. However, this is starting to get way too childish for my liking from all involved parties.
Seeing him as a villain on the ice is one thing, but obsessing over a bracelet worn on a golf course feels like we’re out of things to discuss.
If we want to be technical, Haula doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on in this argument. While he played relatively well with the Predators and Bruins in the first-round losses, Haula was held pointless in five games in the second round against the Hurricanes this spring. He also was a -7 for those that think plus/minus is a good stat. This year’s loss made him the first player in NHL history to be eliminated by the same team in three consecutive postseasons while playing on three different teams.
I know that even writing about this will fuel a fire created by the other fanbases. I can already hear the comments saying that Erik Haula lives rent-free in my head and the heads of every Caniac ever. While that might be true for some Canes fans, I can assure you that most of us genuinely don’t care.
My plea for Canes fans is to quit buying into all of the hype of this “story,” if you can even call it that. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s a bracelet, and even if he genuinely does hate the Hurricanes and everyone associated with them, that’s his problem. It’s not that important and needs to be settled on the ice.
If you do feel so inclined to engage in a civil discussion with a Devils fan or a Bruins fan, or any fan for that matter, do so at your own risk.