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Hitch your wagon to a star

Who is the most hated team in the NHL today?

Thu Jul 29 08:22am PDT: By Sean Leahy: There's a lot of animosity in the NHL these days. Between fans. Between teams. And sometimes between executives.

Whether it's Max Talbot calling Alex Oveckin a "douche", or the Brian Burke/Kevin Lowe feud from a few seasons back or Sean Avery(notes), well, against anyone, the hate around the NHL is something that helps promote it.

Hatred between the fanbases of franchises has existed forever in the NHL. Toronto and Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary, New York and New York, and Detroit and San Jose are just some of the rivalries that pique interest around the league, and not just among those fans that are living and dying on the two points up for grabs..

Outside of rivalries, there are certain teams that, no matter the circumstance, don't feel the love by majority of fans around the NHL. Of course, in this age of the Internet and social media, fan outrage can be expressed everywhere and just do a Google search of "[Insert team here] sucks" and that will keep you busy for hours.

Yesterday, Sports Illustrated posted their "25 Most Hated Teams of All Time" list yesterday with the 1974-75 Philadelphia Flyers coming in at No. 4 behind the '92 Dallas Cowboys, 1988-89 Detroit Pistons and the 1986 University of Miami football team.

But who would be candidates for the most hated teams in the NHL today?

Our choices are after the jump.

Pittsburgh Penguins.When you've won a recent Stanley Cup and are the center of various conspiracy theories ranging from the rigging of the 2005 NHL Draft to referees turning a blind eye every chance they can to Gary Bettman somehow being Sidney Crosby's(notes) father, you're not going to be very popular by fans around the league. This business of them being involved in yet another Winter Classic ain't helping things either.

Detroit Red Wings. Like the Penguins, the Red Wings have won a Stanley Cup in the past few seasons to go along with their three rings since 1997. With success comes jealousy from others and Detroit's consistent reign atop the NHL's hierarchy, along with playoff battles with the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks, has bred much contempt towards the organization.

Washington Capitals. They have one of the league's biggest stars in Alex Ovechkin(notes), whose on and off the ice incidents this past season garnered some negative press and turned fans and some media against him. The Caps also have an owner who isn't afraid to say what he feels. Combine that with a fan base accused of hopping on the bandwagon post-2005 and you're going to have some fans that were overjoyed when the Montreal Canadiens eliminated them in the first round this past postseason..

Toronto Maple Leafs. The 2001-02 team was dubbed "The Most Hated Team in Hockey" by SI's Michael Farber (and ranked No. 22 on their list) because of former players like Darcy Tucker(notes), Shane Corson and Tie Domi, the Leafs are reviled by many because of their brash general manager Brian Burke; their extremely passionate fan base and because of the magnitude of their exposure, especially on Hockey Night in Canada telecasts.

Philadelphia Flyers. The blueprint of the team hasn't changed since the Broad Street Bullies days of the 70's and having the likes of Scott Hartnell(notes), Dan Carcillo and uber villain Chris Pronger(notes) is really the perfect recipe for not receiving the warmest of welcomes when entering arenas on the road.

Those are our five choices of team's that draw the most hate in today's NHL.

Who would you say is currently the most hated team in the NHL?

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