Sunday, June 14, 2009

A word about those "classless" Red Wing fans

So by now you've no doubt heard about the NHL's latest scandal.

On Friday night, during the most important game in recent league history, Detroit Red Wings fans actually cheered when Penguins' captain Sidney Crosby suffered a knee injury in the second period.

For that sin, Wings fans are taking heat today from the media, blogs, and just about everywhere else.

They stand accused of the one apparently unforgivable sin among hockey fans these days: not being "classy".

Yes, it's time to break out the top hats and monocles. Because while the NHL can forgive fans for being fickle, apathetic, and even just plain non-existent, the one thing we simply can not tolerate is a lack of class.

What happened to us?

Years ago, Ranger fans would throw sugar packets at Bobby Clarke because he was diabetic. But today, fans are expected to treat NHL contest like a peewee house league game: lots of encouragement, hearty cheers for trying hard, and all the players get taken out for ice cream at the end of the game.

Wings fans are only the latest ones to be branded with the scarlet "C". Remember when Leafs fans were classless for cheering when Mark Bell crushed Daniel Alfredsson? Apparently any injury must be met with bowed heads, reverent silence, and perhaps some ceremonial candle lighting.

This should be the rule when it comes to injuries: Unless the player is laying motionless or squirting blood into the stands or otherwise showing sign of a career-threatening injury (i.e. the Michael Irvin Exception), there's nothing wrong with cheering a big hit. Nobody likes to see an injury, but hockey is a contact sport and a few bumps and bruises are part of the deal.

But what about Crosby? "When somebody's injured, I don't think that's something to cheer about," Crosby told reporters. Shouldn't Wings fans have taken his feelings into account?

Please. A 21-year-old multi-millionaire tweaks his knee, and some laid off auto-worker in the stands is supposed to worry about making him feel bad?

The bottom line is that Crosby's injury made it more likely that the Wings would win the game -- which, as you may recall, was game seven of the Stanley Cup finals. Does anybody really expect Wings fans to be upset when Pittsburgh's best player leaves the game?

Of course not. Because after all, this isn't about the fans actually doing anything wrong.

It's about the hockey world's most annoying new trend: fake outrage. And it doesn't take much these days to get hockey fans up on their soap boxes.

Every bad call is a conspiracy. Every bloodied nose should be a suspension. And if any crowd makes the slightest bit of noise in support of someone other than your personal favorite team, go online and start calling them classless.

Mike Milbury made headlines this year when he talked about the "pansification" of hockey. Maybe he should have been talking about the fans.

So enough with talk of being "classy". It's become a cliche. We need a one-year moratorium on the term. If you really feel the need to take aim at another team's fanbase, at least work in the tiniest shred of originality.

And besides, all these fans whimpering about "class" should be careful what they wish for.

After all, do you know which fans are indisputably classy? The ones in the lower bowl of the ACC in Toronto. Those fine folks can always be counted on to applaud politely, never raises their voices, and drink their mineral water with their pinky fingers extended.

Yep, they're classy through and through. They're also the worst fans in the entire league, an absolute embarrassment to real hockey fans everywhere.

And it will be a sad day if Detroit fans ever start taking lessons from them.


  1. This blog tempters my murderous hatred towards the world.

  2. Admit it, you just tried to find another reason to re-remind viewers of Mark Bell crushing Daniel Alfredsson, right?

  3. It sounds like you've been hanging around HF Boards, where everything is deemed classless.

  4. I think bkblades is correct- just to be sure what it is we're talking about here-
    Post under "things I could watch all day".

  5. I wanted Pittsburgh to win and I STILL cheered when Crosby got hurt. Im pretty sure the rest of the village cheered while that boy was really getting eaten by the wolf too.

  6. I love this blog.

    Although Dan kind of scares me, I think I get what he's saying.

    You're a man amongst boys in this here blogosphere, DGB. Cheers.

  7. blindfolded tank driverJune 15, 2009 at 7:42 AM

    Schadenfreude is great. That is all! Great Blog, DGB!!

  8. Beautiful...could not agree with you more DGB. As a Caps fan, few things made me angrier this year than the fake "outrage" at Alexander Ovechkin's stick celebration after he scored his 50th.

  9. As a classless fan I support this message

  10. If you call the Wings fans classless, what do you call Crosby not shaking hands at the end of the game, but he was fine to accept the Stanley Cup afterwards.

  11. I call Crosby not shaking Lidstrom's hand a manufactured conflict.

    First, Draper comes off like the prissiest bitch by complaining about this. Too bad, cupcake. Now your kid will have to find somewhere else to drop a deuce this summer.

    Second, do the Wings not realize that last year when the situation was the EXACT FUCKIN OPPOSITE that the Pens waited for the Wings to celebrate before going to the handshake line? For most of that Pens team, this was their first Cup. They're allowed to celebrate, and they're certainly not obligated to celebrate on your fucking timetable.

    Third, I propose that from now on the media is not allowed on the ice until after the Cup has been presented. Crosby couldn't get away to shake hands because eighty people wanted to interview him. Crosby should have known better, but so should the media twerps that are fanning all the flames right now. It was downright embarassing that the CBC missed Malkin getting presented the Conn Smythe because they were interviewing somebody.

    In summary, there's a lot of people at fault for something that is a total non-issue. Classless fans make hockey fun. And Detroit fans (and Kris Draper) should go cry a river, build a bridge, and get the fuck over it. Don't choke away the Cup if you don't want someone else raising it in your barn.

    (God, it feels God to hate the Wings again.)

    1. Where is Crosby now? Last time I checked, being the same pussy bitch he has been. Big contract with no loyaty. Any Penguins fan should see that, while he puts up monsterous points, he will never be a Lemeux!! Lemeux had heart! Go Wings, and God bless Draper.

  12. You sir, yet again, cut right through the bullshit and tell it the way the real hockey fan sees it.

  13. Thanks for the comments everyone, keep them coming.

    Also, I'd just like to point out that The Michael Irvin Exception would be a great name for a band.

  14. Anonymous 9:02am is showing off that wonderful Detroit educational system.

    These people want classless? I can't imagine how tight their panties would bunch if they went to a TFC game and heard the crowd chanting "Dig a hole and bury him" while a player is getting medical attention.

    Why can't people hate anymore? In sports it's at least (relatively) safe in North America. What's next? Not keeping score because someone's feelings will get hurt?

    In summary, there's a lot of people at fault for something that is a total non-issue. Classless fans make hockey fun. And Detroit fans (and Kris Draper) should go cry a river, build a bridge, and get the fuck over it. Don't choke away the Cup if you don't want someone else raising it in your barn.


  15. Pension Plan Puppet doesn't know he/she/it is talking about. Who says I'm from Detroit. I'm 100% Canadian eh!

  16. Down Goes Brown - Can I ask a question? What's the big deal about the Detroit fans cheering when Crosby got hurt. It's not the first time any fans have done it and I can guarantee it won't be the last. Thanks, Kathy

  17. Any self-respecting hockey fan cheers if an opposing star gets injured. As a Sabres fan, I cheer whenever Danny Briere gets injured (twice a day, usually.)

    But seriously, there is a big difference between a serious injury and Cindy's hurt knee. I was at the Sabres game where Zednik skated the length of the ice spurting blood. Not a peep in the building, until it was announced that he was going to be OK. Then there were cheers. Totally different.

  18. I don't think "fake outrage" existed in this league until Ottawa and its media entered it.

  19. @ Kathy.
    I think you misread the post. DGB was defending the right of the fans to cheer the injury.

  20. This is EXACTLY what I've been thinking all year. I'll be letting every hockey fan I know about this post.

  21. Pension Plan Puppet doesn't know he/she/it is talking about. Who says I'm from Detroit. I'm 100% Canadian eh!

    Ah, so a Windsorite? Same shit, different pile ;)

  22. I'd like to make an amendment to the cheering rule: If it was a stupid act that majorly injured a player (a la Bertuzzi, McSorley, etc.), then cheering is not cool.

  23. I visited the Igloo this winter to watch the Leafs dummy the Penguins in December (if you don't remember this game, Therrien does.)

    I think it's safe to say that all of Pittsburgh thinks I am classless.

    Thank God.

  24. @ Clark

    Your memories of the missed handshake are foggy at best. It wasn't media obligations preventing Crosby from doing his duty as a Captain.

    He was celebrating.

    And not even with his teammates either because they were already shaking Wings' hands. He was celebrating with a bunch of guys in suits. Agents? Lawyers? Who knows.

    Last year the handshakes were over 1 1/2 minutes after the final whistle. This year they weren't even started until almost 2 1/2 minutes after the whistle...and then Crosby joined in 2 minutes after that. Not the same thing at all.

  25. I still can't believe that Hal Gill has a Stanley Cup ring.

  26. Well said, mon ami! And as a Habs fan, I know all about both being classy, and being a fan. Although never at the same time.

  27. I don't think many laid off auto-workers are going to NHL games.... could be wrong, but that literary flourish doesn't ring true to me. Otherwise, good stuff...

  28. Haven't watched a single minute of hockey since Don Sanderson died and certainly can't see myself ever cheering for a moment of violence again

    Never Forget