As I write this diatribe, I am sitting in the dark, drinking warm Coors Light, watching Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Kings and Sharks. While this is already hard to watch, the gnawing fact that this game could have been played at
Honda Center the Pond tonight is the most painful part of all. Since we have some extra time before the start of the new season, I want to reflect as we approach the 20th anniversary of the Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club. There have been many great highs: the high scoring Kariya-Selanne line, the Cinderella 2003 Cup run, and of course the championship in 2007. However, the lows have been just as great. While Kariya leaving and Ruslan Salei dying so unexpectedly were very hard, probably the darkest hour in this franchise's history has been this streak of inconsistency post Stanley Cup.
I say this because this franchise has squandered the respect and success of that 2007 team and I for one am sick of it. This team is now but a fading shadow of what it used to be and sadly, from what I witnessed in the series against Detroit, looks to continue down this path of mediocrity. While the main reason for this continuing slump has been ownership who is clueless on how to run a hockey team, it has been the fans who are fickle at best and won't do anything about this asinine management and worse validate, their decisions by coming out in droves when the team does find success.
Now, we live in the bandwagon fan capital of the world, which was widely seen during the Kings Cup run last year, and granted, there are exceptions to every rule because the Ducks have a small but very passionate and loyal core fan base. However I feel an absolute contempt for most of my fellow Ducks fans. I would read hockey discussions on the internet or talk to people at games and a lot of people I talk to have an almost juvenile attitude and outlook on not only the Ducks but towards other teams and the sport in general. For instance, many so called fans would say things such as "Oh the refs are so biased towards Detroit, the Ducks are wayyy better and should have won if it wasn't for the refs that were paid off." That is such an ignorant and childish statement. Many people wonder why the Ducks aren't taken seriously by fans of the rest of the league and statements like that are exactly why. I see grown men blowing duck calls and booing obvious penalties because they don't know the rules and it makes me sick to my stomach. It frustrates me because when I talk to fans of other teams, this is the stereotype of the typical Ducks fan.
I have been a Ducks fan since I was 4 years old. I have skipped social events for playoff games, sat in particular positions because the Ducks scored when I was sitting that way, not washed my old school Mighty Ducks sweater for weeks, and broken things when they have been eliminated from the playoffs. Granted, I'm not some crazy fan living in my mom's basement, I have a job, girlfriend, and a social life. However, the point I'm trying to make is that hockey and the Ducks are a big part of my life and it sickens me to my core when I see Ducks "fans" still bragging about a Cup win that happened 6 years ago. Yeah it was phenomenal when they won, but since then the Ducks have gone 1 for 4 in playoff series and watched rivals Detroit and LA win it as well so that Cup win doesn't hold as much validation in today's what-have-you-done-for-me-lately sports world.
Maybe I'm bitter or maybe its the beer talking but I'm just tired. I'm tired of going to Ducks games against the Kings at Staples and seeing maybe 15 Ducks fans and then when the Kings come to the Pond the "Go Kings Go" chant is louder than anything. I'm tired of the endless worship of Perry when he gets 2 points in a playoff series that sees player like Etem and Bonino double his point total even though both those players combined make less than half of his salary. I'm tired that most people don't know who Bob Murray is or that he has been slowly killing this franchise through horrible trades and outrageous contracts. I guess in the end it doesn't really matter because while some crazy like minded individuals such as myself still want to believe, most of the "fans" who were at those four games at Honda Center this past week are too busy putting their Kings jerseys on to give a rat's ass.