Saturday’s with Sully: Hockeysense

Don’t look now! The Detroit Red Wings are leading the Central Division.

We’re winning, Jimmy’s saving, Circus is scoring, Gary’s crying. And why? Because they are playing Detroit Red Wings hockey. I don’t think swagger or confidence or arrogance or elitism quite sums it up, perfectly. Neither does a new compound word of all of these, like Swagfiddogancism. Not doing it for me. What is doing it for me? Red Wings. Winning. And yes, all the fans are happy too.

Tyler: “I’m almost scared to feel this good about a hockey team on November 6th

Chief: “The Wings are winning, just as baby Jesus intended”

I’m happy too, for what it’s worth. At least as happy as a kid can be who lives in the remains of a nuclear holocaust, or however this place was formed. The hockey universe is in order and I think everyone is happy.

Well, maybe not everyone.

“I hate the Wings. Always have, always will. Screw you, yoata.”

Alright, I don’t think I’ll be getting into the dumbdom that is yoata, but I will say this:

I can never take anyone seriously who hates the Red Wings. Hates on the Red Wings? Sure, that’s banter, that’s part of the game and being a guy, I guess. But Hate the Red Wings? You are telling me you are almost an intelligent fan of hockey, but not really. Sure, you have your loyalties and you follow your team and all, but the only reason you hate the Detroit Red Wings is because they win, and win better than anyone else.

My point is this: if you are actually an intelligent person who knows the game, you don’t hate the Detroit Red Wings. You don’t hate a team that built itself around skill players with heart and determination, a style Brian Burke once meant to try but blacked out shortly thereafter from hitting the Black Velvet too hard and woke up remembering only how to build a franchise around goons and power forwards.

You don’t hate a team that rewards loyalty with loyalty. Offering a management job to the Greatest Captain in all of hockey and Detroit’s favourite adopted son (pre-Sully) is great, sure. But to give jobs to players who gave their all on a third or fourth line their entire career? Players whose careers were cut short due to heart complications in their twenties? Yeah, that sure does warrant hate, doesn’t it? Does your team acknowledge fans flying in from around the world and help the event be warmly remembered by allowing him into the locker room to meet his favourite player? Of course not.

How about our coach? Does he whine about the officiating when it’s bad? When was the last series in which he said, in a press conference, that the other team gets away with interference or playing dirty or that calls simply are being made in the opposition’s favour too often? Does our coach condone pugilism?

And all the way down the line, let’s take a look at our players. When was the last time our Captain punched a guy in the jewels from behind when the victim was tied up in another fight? When was the last time our players told the media “they hate playing in” a certain city for the sake of their hatred for that city? When was the last time one of our players cried, no actually cried, about the officiating? And goalies? Do you see the way Tomas Holmstrom gets treated by the rest of the league’s goalies and defensemen? Yeah, we don’t do that either when players are standing in front of our net. And somehow, we still win.

Look, it’s not that I hate the Vancouver Canucks. It’s that I don’t accept anyone who fancies his/her self as an “intelligent” hockey fan when I hear the words “I hate the Red Wings.” Of course you do, because you don’t know anything. Do a little research, you won’t be able to help yourself from falling in love with this Organ-I-zation. I couldn’t.