I hate the Red Wings, like Mrs. White hated Yvette. Sometimes I don't talk to people when I find out they are Red Wings fans. My hate is that irrational. I love my hate. Of course, the Red Wings aren't the only people I hate, but they are the only NHL team I hate. I dislike the Penguins, but only because of Sidney Crosby. He gets treated like the Red Wings get treated. See, it all goes back to Detroit.
Hating other teams doesn't make sense to me. The Sharks are still chasing the Ducks. The Kings and Ducks don't have a real rivalry. People in Orange County just hate people from L.A for coming from a vastly superior part of Southern California. There isn't a playoff history and there's only been one or two real brawls. The Oilers only delayed the inevitable Cup victory, and Modano can cry about Jiggy's pads all he wants but his only Cup will be forever linked to Brett Hull's skate. So who is there to hate? The Red Wings.
When this blog first started, the occasional Detroit fan would drop by to tell us how insignificant the Anaheim-Detroit rivalry was to him. Now that the admission is finally out there, I feel it's important to explain my hatred.
It really comes down to entitlement. Detroit has been an entitled team for as long as I've been watching hockey, some two decades now. It never fails that Super Fly Nikky Kronwall is going to go elbow first into someone's head, and it's going to be called a clean hit by almost every talking head out there. Why? Because players from Detroit don't do that. It's a classy organization. That's my sarcasm font. Kronwall leaves his skates to throw an elbow at Ryan Carter's face, and it's just a missed penalty. Brown is a little late on Jiri Hudler but catches him with a clean check, and everyone freaks out about how dirty the Ducks are. That's really the source of my hate.
The double standard is staggering. Everything the Ducks do is because they are dirty. Everything the Red Wings do is because they are playing the game the way it is supposed to be. Tomas Holmstrom's work in front of a goalie belongs in a Juvenile video; yet, he is somehow a cleaner player than Corey Perry. I understand Perry owes more than a few goalies dinner for the uncomfortable positions he's put them in, but so does Holmstrom. There just isn't a rational reason that they are different; except that Detroit is apparently hockey Mecca right now, and Anaheim is this place that doesn't have real winter.
To me, the Detroit-Anaheim series is an example of a deeper seeded hate. It is the epitome of a conflict that has been brewing in hockey since 1967, when hockey came to L.A. - the non-traditional market. As I articulated in my comment on the original Detroit post, this rivalry is cultural. It's about an Original 6 franchise versus a sun-belt expansion franchise. It pits traditionalists versus those who benefited from the Gary Bettman orchestrated expansion to non-traditional hockey markets. Which conveniently brings me to my second hate.
Traditional Hockey Market Whiners:
Every time I see somebody comment on a board somewhere that abandoning non-traditional markets would solve the financial problems of the league, I want to gouge out their eyes with chopsticks.
I don't understand why people rag on non-traditional markets so much. It's not our fault that our teams play in an area where performance trumps all. We have other things to do with our time and money if the organization decides it doesn't want to do the work to ice a good team. I don't know if people in Detroit, Vancouver, and Edmonton know this, but Disneyland is awesome!
It takes time for a sports team to dig cultural; the influx of alternative forms of entertainment makes it difficult when poor management ruins any headway and goodwill a community has. It's harder being a hockey fan in a non-traditional market. We CHOOSE to follow our hockey teams despite plenty of other options. You know why? Because we LOVE hockey.
The way the media and other fans ostracize these teams and their fans only perpetuates the problem. By refusing to embrace non-traditional markets, traditionalists force the NHL to keep the non-traditional markets out of big events. This in turn limits the ability of those markets to develop deeper roots and it perpetuates economic issues.
Let's get real for a second. Nobody wants to go back to a 6 team league. Nobody wants to watch a 12 team league. Traditionalists might say they want to because they're twits. Having a lot of teams creates good variety. More importantly it adds drama to free agency, the draft, and the trade deadline. More teams, means more moves. It means sad superstars who want to be traded from their dead-end franchises to contenders, which leads to trade rumor heaven.
Long story short: shut up about non-traditional markets. You don't need snow for hockey. In fact, the lack of snow makes the hockey better because I don't have to travel to the arena through a series of tunnels that would impress a badger-mole.
Your posturing is infuriating. You remind me of those people at town hall meetings who refuse to believe that the world has changed. Listen, women can be in control of their bodies, dudes can kiss dudes, chicks can kiss chicks, and hockey can be played in warm climates. Technology is amazing. So don't tell me I don't understand/value hockey because I grew up in a place where the sun doesn't go into hibernation.