MADISON, WI. _ Internet troll Brian Buzzi knows that the NHL playoffs are a grueling test of wills that brings out an equal amount of emotion from fans.
And with the Conference Finals beginning this weekend, Buzzi will need to continually improve the personal attacks, stereotypes and outrageous insults that got him to this point if he expects to make it to the Stanley Cup.
"I'm doing my work now," said Buzzi, better known to his 37 Twitter followers as HokkeyBadAzz. "I've picked some different teams to watch and tried to find some easy digs about the team and its city that I can use. You know, to keep it simple."
That simplicity has worked well for Buzzi so far. He's managed to antagonize Islanders, Canadiens and Blues fans on message boards during the first round, and pushed several Canucks fans to the brink of quitting social media following Vancouver's four-game meltdown against San Jose. The community college freshman from suburban Madison is only in his second full season of being an internet troll and is trying to stay focused on the fundamentals.
"My game is cursing, homophobic comments and empty threats of physical violence. As long as I remember that and not get rattled, I have confidence that I can get under the skin of anybody."
After a steady regular season, Buzzi started the playoffs on solid note by employing a stream of emasculating ignorance meant to raise the ire of anyone who read them. Buzzi, who has never met a gay person or had a local girlfriend (he does attest to having one who lives in Canada), has been able to successfully sustain offensive discriminatory remarks throughout each game of the opening round.
"'Fags' was really big for me in the first round. I thought the Pussy-Gash-Twat combo was also very effective in all situations which really helped take the pressure off," Buzzi said.
"My riot and dirty hippie pothead remarks had a good series against Vancouver and I was happy with how the big haired whores and guido jokes worked during the Islanders series. I really had to dig deep for some stuff on Ottawa, but once I saw Senators fans backed down easily when threatened with my dad's Glock 37, I was able to make some adjustments that really turned that series around."
STILL HASN'T PEAKED
Buzzi knows the truly great trolls need to find a higher gear to progress in the playoffs, and feels his insults and scorn haven't peaked yet despite his strong play so far.
"I really want to use some Boston Marathon bombing material and maybe some stuff about kidnapped little girls or sex slaves in the Conference Finals," he said. "I'm also not satisfied with the amount of straight racism in my game. I'm working on adding stuff about how blacks are all crack addicts and everybody in California is an illegal Mexican."
In the post-season, it's not enough to just tell a fan his team sucks. You need to be relentless but calm in the face of mounting pressure to make people mad for no reason whatsoever.
"The playoffs are all about pushing yourself to achieve more, and I have a belief in myself that I can make anyone around this league miserable and uncomfortable with some really sick shit. I'm just grateful for the opportunity."
Seriously, get a life.