So, Saturday, Stars won against Tampa Bay 5-1. It was a good game. In two days time, the Stars managed to swiftly turn it around. Thursday’s game against Phoenix was a mess. Even Zubov looked like he was having an off day. Everyone just looked…befuddled. Things looked a lot tighter for TB. Not regular season tight, but tight nonetheless. Offense looked better, defense looked good (although I am sorely, sorely missing Philippe Boucher right now – Bouche, come back to me!)
Chris Conner was the #1 star of the game, which makes it all the sadder that he got shipped back to our development team in Iowa. Next year, Midget, I promise. I am so ready for you to be on our team that it’s not even funny. Someone had to go – and it was going to be a tough decision, but it came down to Conner. I choose to be positive about it and I’m going to think that this means Conner gets another year of becoming even more rockin’ and then he comes back to play in the NHL. Go, Midget, go!
I think the main thing that sticks out in my mind about the TB game was not the actual game itself, but something Cat already touched upon: the fans themselves. Five guys sitting next to us were Tampa Bay fans.
Make no mistake about it: I respect everyone. You have to be good at hockey to play in the NHL. LeCavalier is a good, solid player, in my opinion, and I have nothing but respect for Tampa Bay. While they’re struggling, they did pull off a Cup win recently, and I’ll say this: LeCavalier had a funny All-Star commercial. Just because I want my team to beat yours doesn’t mean I don’t have a healthy dose of respect for you.
I know I sound like a high school guidance counselor, but the blatant disrespect people show towards each other these days is appalling. I am willing to afford any visiting fan the same respect I would expect that I would be shown should I go see the Stars on the road. Want to cheer for your team? Rock on, man. Want to cheer for your favorite player or get sad that your team is catching penalties right and left? Be my guest.
See, when I go to hockey games, I lapse into a condition that scientists have named ‘hockey-coma’. Essentially, hockey-coma is where you become so intently focused on the game that nothing else matters. Not the beer guy, not the Ice Girls, just the game. I like hockey-coma. For three periods, I temporarily lapse into a parallel universe, one where hockey rules the world, everyone stops for the Stanley Cup, and Slap Shot is mandatory viewing for everyone, or you have to sit in the penalty box for a five minute life misconduct.
Needless to say, I do not like people harshing my mellow. Especially when I am trying to watch the Russian of Awesome, a/k/a one Mr. Sergei Zubov.
If you’re a Tampa Bay fan, and you know these five guys, then you will know how hard they suck. And I’m not hating on TB; no, I firmly believe in not judging an entire city/team by the spectators I randomly sit by at sporting events. Five jerks do not a whole city make. Or something like that.
First of all, I would never, ever go to any game and wish ill will on any player. Sure, I might be a little happy when an opposing player gets a penalty and has to crash in the box for five minutes. (Or that could be the fact that I like that we stick big, sweaty men in little plastic boxes and tell them to feel ashamed of themselves for hooking, holding, whatever). Yelling for your players to “take Modano out”, “give him a concussion!”, “break his arm!” is uncalled for and rude. You don’t see me wishing Boucher would break your player into little pieces along the boards. No, dude, just you.
Also, please be respectful of the fact that yes, there are small children at hockey games; especially up in the cheap seats where we sat. It’s a Saturday night and lots of parents bring their kids to games. Now, more than ever, we all want to enjoy the greatest game ever and mainline, er, show hockey to them at it’s finest. And people want to share that with their children. The looks on kids’ faces as you five sat there cracking jokes at Modano’s expense was just about the most ridiculous thing. Between you wishing death upon Modano (“Cut his head off and shoot it into the goal, Vincent!” is not funny, no matter how many times you try) and mocking him endlessly, “You suck, Mike!” or “Greatest American hockey player ever, huh? Yeah right,” made the small children around us look like someone had told them Santa Claus didn’t exist. SHAME. ON. YOU.
Screaming profanity at our defenders is old. Making fun of Sergei Zubov for being old is grasping at straws. And all it does is ruin everyone’s experience around you. No one would’ve begrudged you clapping, cheering, shouting, positive things; but mocking the home crowd on the Jumbotrons in front of OTHER members of the home crowd is not a good idea. Making small children cry is also usually ill advised, especially when one of them had a daddy who was built like a Frigidaire. Throwing things, making fun of our players and talking about how great your team is and how much the Stars suck when we’re up four points on you is downright pathetic.
All I’m asking for is a little respect. You know, like Aretha sang about. It’s not much. If I were going to….oh, say a Red Wings game. I dislike the Red Wings with a fiery passion. I think it’s genetically ingrained. However, I would cheer my team on with dignity and respect, without having to mock or be disrespectful towards the other team.
In these tough-er times of hockey, when viewership and ticket sales are down, when Bettman and the league screw us all over hardcore, we should all kinda stick together, not rip each other apart.