Chris Note: This is a guest post from friend of the blog, and frequent reader, Twig.
I remember what it was like to live in Michigan. Comfortable summers. Superman ice cream. Lakes and rivers that are free of man-eating reptiles. Mostly I miss talking about hockey with my fellow Red Wings fan. That just doesn’t happen enough down here in Texas. I was home recently and saw a guy in a Wings jersey pumping gas. I waved at him as if he was my best friend then thought, “Oh yeah, they actually have Wings fans up here.” It’s sad being down here. Not just because most people think hockey sucks, but because those who do like hockey tend to think Detroit sucks.
So how do you deal with these people? How do you respond to their taunts and leave them wishing they had kept their mouths shut? Know thy enemy, friends. Know their weakness. Know their flaws. To give you a helping hand, I’ve put together a series of arguments you could make if encountered by such a fan. (I’ll be skipping most (L)eastern conference teams since they’ve never been much of a threat.)
Anaheim Ducks: Pavel pummeling Perry is a great thing to bring up right away since they probably tried to insist that their team is so tough. Also mention the 2009 game 7 and Cleary’s game winner since they think it shouldn’t have counted.
Buffalo Sabres: You’ll probably never have a Sabres fan try talking smack about hockey, but if you do, just say “It was a good goal” and stand back.
Chicago Blackhawks: Don’t be intimidated just because they won a cup more recently than us. Stand your ground! This is where we fight! This is where they die! Bandwagon fans talk the most trash, but since they’re bandwagon fans, this will be easy. I believe it was Chris who suggested bringing up Eric Daze as a test of their bandwagonity. It works. Last December, the wife invited some friends from her chemistry class over for beer. One of the girls saw my Red Wings shirt, smirked and said, “I like the Blackhawks.” As if she was better than me simply for liking that team. So the conversation went like this:
Me: Congratz on ending that ridiculously long cup drought. You gotta admit you guys wouldn’t have had a chance without that young scrappy Eric Daze. Such a small guy but he sure likes to throw his weight around. Good old number 99 Eric Daze.
Girl: Yeah! He kicks the Red Wings’ ass!
Conversation over. See how easy that is? If I had to do it over again I’d ask her if Eric Daze is the Blackhawks first ever African-American goalie.
Pittsburgh Penguins: This one can get hairy at times because 2009 still stings. Just remember, their greatest claim to fame so far is simply evening the score. 2008 didn’t just unhappen because they like 2009 better. A Crosby joke or two helps if you have any on hand.
San Jose Sharks: Banners. Got em? You can use that argument against anyone who hasn’t won the cup yet. Vancouver, San Jose, Washington, etc. I just prefer to use it against San Jose Sharks fans since they erupt in celebration whenever they make it past the second round.
Dallas Stars: This one is near and dear to me because of my location. Assuming there are no Sabres fans around, you can easily repackage the “It was a good goal” and make it into “No goal!” If you have room, use your arms to wave it off for effect. The more emphatic the waving, the more likely they are to bring up the Dallas Cowboys in their next breath. But try to also get in a shot or two about 2008 and how Marty Turco is your favorite goalie. Also not a bad idea to mention how wonderful it was to see Brett Hull finally honestly win a Stanley Cup in 2002.
Phoenix Coyotes: Just laugh and move on.
Colorado Avalanche: I rarely see these tools. When I moved from Seattle to Houston, I specifically took a detour around the entire state of Colorado to avoid contributing to their economy. I did find a gas station attendant in Wyoming who claimed to be an Avs fan. While my first reaction to hearing that someone is an Avs fan is to want to spit on them, I can’t promote or condone violence. Besides, we have:
March 26, 1997. 1997 Conference Finals. April 1, 1998. 7-0. 2008 curb stomping. Franzen. Them being bottom feeders and us being contenders. 4 cups to 2. Roy getting beat up by Vernon. Roy getting beat up by Osgood. Roy getting beat up by his wife. Roy’s son being a disgrace. Forsberg’s broken foot. Foote’s broken Forsberg. It’s better now! No it isn’t. I’m coming back! No I’m not. Time to retire. I’m back! Never mind. Basically, they’ve become a joke and it’s your job to make sure they know it. Make me proud.
That’s it for now. Have any trash talking encounters to share or tips on what to do if a fan of a rival team attempts to engage us? Comment below.