Emily Kaplan, national NHL reporter: With full disrespect to the other 30 teams, my answer is the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Which team will go further in the playoffs, the Capitals or Jets? The grave-dancing over their horrendous season and fall from elite status — the franchise is enduring its worst season of the Jonathan Toews/Patrick Kane era, which began in 2007-08 — has been rampant among fans outside of Chicago.
The Blackhawks’ success is relatively recent and, compared with Duke’s scale of success, somewhat short-lived.
Like Duke, Blackhawks teams featuring Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have attracted a bevy of bandwagon fans each spring.
Chicago went from feel-good story of a franchise rising from the ashes — years of mismanagement and a tenuous relationship between the team’s owner and fans — to an oversaturation that left opposing fans nauseated.
To be fair, even Blackhawks fans are getting a little sick of the outdoor games; they’ll have played in six since 2009 by next year’s Winter Classic.
For the past decade, no team has run hotter in terms of popularity, but that level of success and popularity always comes with a healthy dose of detractors.
Fans of opposing teams tend not to love the good people of Chicago.
Louis Blues have tried to make tickets harder to buy for opposing fans when the Blackhawks visit their buildings.