Before we get started, I hate to be Debbie Downer about this, but its been eating at me all day. I think we all might have a different outlook on last night’s game if Kyle Wellwood finished his golden opportunity. Just before the ten minute mark of the third period, Steve Bernier completely undressed Matt Walker at center ice and came down on a 3-on-1. Wellwood hit the post on the ensuing rush. Five minutes later, Dave Bolland finished off his chance and that was that.
That was the turning point in the game. Even though Ryan Kesler had a 2-on-1 on the Hawks clinching power play, Campbell and Khabibulin played it so perfectly that there really was nowhere for him to go with the puck.
Just for the record, Walker had one more shift after that and didn’t touch the ice in the final six minutes.
Ok, now that we’re done with that, the following was in Thursday’s edition of ‘The Committed Indian’.
Well, here we are in May, watching Blackhawks hockey. For the Hawks fans who saw Lyle Odelein and Boris Mironov on the same blue line, this is far overdue. For the newbie fans, welcome. We at the Feather appreciate your help filling out the UC, and Hawks management appreciates that your money is just as green as everyone else’s.
There’s been a lot of hand-wringing this year by Hawk fans of yore over the newbies, but really, everyone has to start somewhere. You have every right to appreciate and learn this game just like the older fans once had to do. In the meantime, though, the last thing you want to do is make it painfully obvious to everyone in your section that you are, in fact, a newbie douche nozzle.
Here’s a list of things to remember to keep yourself from becoming that guy…
But before we start, let’s make sure we’re all clear here: This is NOT a couple of crotchety Hawk fans complaining about ALL the newbies. 95% of the newbies are fine; we love you for the mere fact that you help fill up the United Center on a nightly basis. We couldn’t have done this without you, and we hope you decide to stay for good.
No, this is to the minority of fans who are giving us all a bad name with their douche-like behavior. And, finally, all of the behavior mentioned below has been witnessed by one of us at some point during this season at the UC.
Don’t even think about flying a ‘W’ flag or buying a ‘W’ t-shirt. This was cute before the Winter Classic, but it’s been five months since the New Year’s Day clash at Wrigley Field, and few probably even remember who won the game. So, why are we still subjected to this garbage? The Cubs have their own traditions; the Sox have their own traditions; the Bears have their own traditions; the Bulls have their own traditions. Let’s leave them all at their respective stadiums. We’re not going to show up to the Cell in July and applaud through the national anthem, and we’re not going to go to a Bulls game and scream, “SHOOT!” every time the ball crosses half court.
Don’t attempt to leave your seat during play. Just trust us on this one. The beer can wait; the beating you’re likely to receive won’t.
Don’t substitute the word ‘Blackhawks’ into the songs, “Go Cubs Go” or “Go-Go White Sox”. There’s nothing wrong with the song, “Here Come the Hawks”. It’s just as cheesy as the aforementioned songs. The Blackhawks have been around just as long as though two teams, so let’s let them have their own lame song from a generation ago.
Don’t question why the Blackhawks aren’t wearing their Winter Classic jersey more often. In case you hadn’t noticed, the Blackhawks’ jerseys are some of the best in all of sports. While the Winter Classic jerseys were sweet, they still can’t compete with the beauties the Hawks wear on a nightly basis. Besides, the newbie douche nozzles will have plenty of chances next year to wear their authentic Classic jerseys when the Hawks use them as their third jersey (assuming the newbies are still around at that point).
Don’t ask why the players are wearing shorts. Those aren’t shorts; they’re called pants, and they contain enough padding to stop a bullet from the barrel of a Civil War era musket. If players didn’t wear those, the entire NHL would be on the injured list with the dreaded ‘lower-body injury’.
Don’t ask why they sing “O Canada” before games involving a Canadian opponent. We’ll give the benefit doubt on this one because really, other than the Blue Jays and Raptors coming to town a few times a year, no other opponents north of the border visit Chicago. So maybe some people don’t know better. With that being said, you would have had to have been cranked over the head with a sledge hammer too many times to ask a question like that in public.
Don’t leave a playoff game early unless the Hawks are trailing by 2 goals or more and there is less than 15 seconds left. While the playoffs are new to all of us, let’s not forget the Hawks have already rallied from deficits of two and three goals just in the past week. That’s not to mention that Boston University scored two goals in 35 seconds to force overtime in this year’s NCAA Championship. So, when you exit early like that, you’re admitting to everyone you really don’t like hockey and that you’re just there because it’s the cool new thing to do.
But, beware: newbie Hawk fans can’t necessarily count on the more seasoned Blackhawk fans to guide the way. Newbie fans should immediately attempt to identify the uniquely drunken man in the sweat-stained polyester jersey procured from Gunzo’s in the early ‘80s. While he looks like he has attended a large number of games in his life, as evinced by the cigarette behind his ear, he probably can’t recall any of them.
Do not emulate this man. And, if you can’t find him, just look harder.
As you begin to study his behavior like a sociology PhD candidate in Central Park, you’ll notice he commits the three deadly sins of Hawk fandom, all of which involve yelling overly simplistic, uninformed instructions to Blackhawk players.
First, the man will yell, “SHOOT!” on the power play. Listen, Cam Barker was the third overall pick in the 2004 NHL Draft; he’s twice won gold with Canada in World Junior Championships; he played parts of five seasons of major junior hockey in the WHL; and, he’s currently an NHL defensemen. He’s been the power play quarterback at each of his career stops, and he knows – I promise you – his team needs to “shoot” to score goals on the power play. No one needs to tell him – even if the screamer plays “rat time” at Franklin Park twice a week.
Next, if you listen closely, he’ll attempt to begin a “Detroit sucks” chant. Nevermind you’re at a December game versus Anaheim with your newbie friends and the hated Wings have won nine of the last ten Central Division crowns; this guy doesn’t care.
Finally, the man will yell “Hit somebody” repeatedly. He doesn’t care the Hawks are killing a penalty or that the Blackhawk defensemen have been caught on the ice for 80 seconds. ‘Tell someone who cares,’ he’ll say.
We hope this helps.
And, remember: we’re not doing this because of a selfish desire to ridicule or discourage new fans. Quite the opposite, we’re doing this for your own well being. Other grizzled veteran Hawk fans aren’t so nice, and we’d like to make sure your newbie season isn’t your first and last.
So, for all you newbies, follow these few, simple suggestions and you too can avoid becoming a douche nozzle. The last thing the United Center needs to become is a safe haven for guys wearing two polo shirts with their collars popped. The mere sight of that will kill the grizzled old meatballs.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s not such a bad idea….