No, I didn’t actually go to jail, but there was good banter exchanged from Row J just above the net in which Toddzilla thunderstruck Jobing.com arena. You already got a pretty good recap, so I won’t bore you with “what I saw” out there because we’re all intelligent Wings fans and typically see mostly the same things. And there’s no wrong way to play Red Wings Hockey which, for intermittent periods of time, we played.
I will say that on the frontlines in Phoenix it is so much different than Joe Louis Arena it barely makes hockey worth watching. And if it weren’t for the Red Wings coming to town, or Steve Yzerman, or good ticket deals, I wouldn’t cross the deserts in Gunslinger like fashion to come join in on the fun. But I did, and had an actual difficult journey in the process.
There’s much more to this story:
Somewhere between the towns of Globe and Superior, AZ, just over an hour east of Phoenix I was 4 cars behind a single vehicle accident on US-Highway 60. The car rolled and came to a stop upside down and taking up the only 2 lanes of the narrow canyon pass. I came to stop and instantly thought of dialing 911, but this is Arizona (T.I.A. we say, stealing it from Blood Diamond) and there was no service. I told the man who was the second person on the scene that I’d move forward and call for help as soon as I could. The second man on the scene waved me onward.
The first man on the scene was busting a window to get access to the trapped passenger(s). The windows were a very dark tint, still mostly intact except for the windshield but as the car was upside down and crushed there was no access through it. There was also no activity, no doors opening or windows being rolled down, so no one knew if there were injuries, shock, or just mechanical/electrical failures preventing the doors/windows from opening. The first man was still trying to get access as I drove on to find service. The first man was also wearing a Jimmy Howard jersey.
Not sure of the significance, and I don’t know if he’s a certified First Responder or not as I never made it back to the scene of the accident after the police responded and headed that direction. But I was very proud of the risk and urgency this man showed when the other 2 cars ahead of us just drove on. I have no idea if the occupants of that vehicle were harmed or not, but I’m thinking about them and hope they are okay. A search through Arizona traffic news doesn’t show up with anything related to the crash, and that’s usually a good indicator no one was seriously hurt.
I also wanted to share this in hope that people realize what incredible human beings hockey fans really are, despite the reputations they may be given due to a few drunk and rowdy incidents (some of which are even perpetrated by yours truly). I’ve always felt like part of a family being a Wings fan, and though these fans never owe anything to anyone, they’re some of the most caring and helpful people I know.
Anyway, back to the game. Coyotes fans were at an unusual level of angst and hate, not just in my section two rows above me but also according to friends sitting in other sections. And not just hateful, but stupid. They lack a certain understanding of certain rules, and when I’d call out a penalty I could hear their attempts to talk smack about how I didn’t know what I was talking about, only to have the officials make the right call and prove the scumbags of their ignorance. I know 12 years isn’t a long time to have a hockey team, but it’s long enough to learn the rules. Just glance over them once or twice guys, you really are an embarrassment to the game when you don’t know why your player is being escorted to the box after firing the puck into the crowd from behind his own blue line.
And lastly, the hot, bitter tears we all, as Wings fans, bathed in after Todd Bertuzzi buried the winner. Phoenix fans were booing him when he skated in, they were angry with him all game. Can’t say I blame them, he did walk by us as we were pre-game drinking and curb-stomped some Phoenix fan’s puppy, then spat on it and said “Mike Vick got nothin’ on me!” flipped him the bird, and carried on towards the Coyotes’ cheerleaders dressing rooms, escorted by a scantily-clad rat faced girl in maroon and black. So yeah, they were upset. But after that spin-o-rama, they were quiet with disappointment and tortured, shattered hopes that turn into dark, depressing reality as it is then rubbed in their face with Todd’s smelly bloodstained hockey gloves. I wish you could have seen their faces. I don’t think they could have looked more disgusted if I’d tossed a dirty diaper and hit them square in the mouth. Pure brilliance, courtesy Toddberculosis. And to cap off the evening, the Coyotes media showed how much respect and intellect they show for the game and their opponents by listing the 3 stars as such:
1 – Jimmy Howard
2 – Mike Smith
3 – Gilbert Brule
I mean, of course Jimmy is star number one, dude hangs dong, but wow. Thanks Phoenix, I needed the laugh after seeing that gruesome car crash in which a Wings fan was first on the scene. And thank you guys for reading this rant, hope you all enjoyed the game. And I hope you all ate well this morning, I didn’t touch my breakfast…I mean, how could I when the toast came out looking like this?