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Exploring the anger of the Detroit Red Wings fan

Image (1) RedWingsFan-thumb-250x260-10355.jpg for post 1274

As someone who covers the whole of the NHL, I do my best to remain as objective as possible. I have no rooting interests either for or against Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, or any other team or player. While I have been a Dallas Stars fan my entire life and started off in this line of work writing about them, I’ve yet to come across a time when being a Stars fan has interfered with my take on any other team or player.

That being said, I completely understand when fans get protective of their team. I have championed Steve Ott for years, and will continue to do so, even though 95% of the hockey world can’t stand the guy. Anytime I see someone bashing Ott, I have to fight off the desire to rush to his aid and to defend his honor; " dare someone attack him like that?”

Still, I’m not irrational in my thinking process. I know that Steve Ott has flaws, and there are times I just want to put my head through the wall he does dumb things. So while I may have the desire to defend him at all costs, I’m not going to blindly defend Ott through any and all criticism, no matter what the attack may be. Heck, they may be right about him. Sometimes.

Which is why I don’t understand the blind defenses you see from certain fanbases. I realize that calling out fans right now is a bit en vogue, and I really don’t want to get into all that. But I guess I am, just by writing this. So here goes.....

It is absolutely amazing to me the speed and the ferocity that Red Wings will defend their team against any and all criticism. We all know about the ‘tin foil hat’ conspiracy theories that gain steam any goal is called into question, but it’s not just the Red Wings consprieacy crazies that I’m referring to. It’s the pack attack method in which they descend upon any form of criticism directed at their team.

This afternoon, I was reading an article on by Detroit radio host Art Regner. Now, I’m not all too familiar with Art’s work, but it seemed like a perfectly reasonable article to me. He wrote that the hockey world is just waiting for a Game 7 loss tonight by the Red Wings, as it would finally signal the beginning of the end of a historic run by the Red Wings. Writes Art:

Make no mistake; the Wings have their collective reputations on the line tonight in the desert. So many times hockey’s pundits have wanted to write Detroit’s epitaph. So many times hockey’s elites have labeled them old and done. So many times opposing general managers have ‘leaked’ that Detroit’s star players are overrated and basically not that good.

Begrudgingly Detroit has been given praise for their enormous accomplishments on the ice but, if they fall tonight, it will sadly signal that the Wings’ run of dominance has sputtered and their decline has officially begun.

Art goes on to say that the talent level of Detroit has decreased with the salary cap, to the point that they are now facing elimination at the hands of the Phoenix-freaking-Coyotes. Perhaps the team is missing some of the veteran role players of the past, that’s hurt the team as the superstars have sputtered at times in the series. The Coyotes are a team that wins as a team; if the Wings aren’t getting production from their star players they have issues.

Not exactly what Red Wings fans want to hear, but I doubt it’s worth a personal attack. Yet that’s exactly what happened here, as Wings fans descended upon him in the comments section like piranhas on a bloody carcass in a pond.

They called his article “garbage.” Multiple times in fact. Called Art “talentless”, “delusional” and his opinion a “joke”. Also, by saying that it’s possible the Red Wings could be headed for trouble he obviously “knows nothing about hockey”.

I know, I’s not smart to read the comments for these things. But it’s what you see all the time. In fact, I’ve experienced it myself when I wrote earlier this season that perhaps the Red Wings were closing in on their final window for success. By just bringing up the fact that Detroit is getting older and isn’t exactly the dynasty it once was, I was attacked.

George Malik, a very loyal and beloved Red Wings blogger, is great at what he does. But I’ve seen countless times where he reacts with an air of appall and disdain towards anyone that suggests something critical of his team. Suggest that perhaps Holmstrom or Lidstrom retire? Then you have no clue what you are talking about, young sir, and should be put out to pasture. By the way I have nothing against George, it’s just an observation.

I’m not even going to link to the Red Wings blog article that was in response to Greg Wyshynski’s revealed Norris Trophy ballot that didn’t have Nicklas Lidstrom in the top three. That was one vicious and angry piece of writing. So it’s not just the commenters, although that’s where most of the anger seems to stem from; there are multiple areas across the interwebs this blind “defend at all costs” mentality comes from.

I also realize and know that not all Red Wings fans are like this. In fact, one of my best blogger friends is a Red Wings fan. So if you aren’t a crazed and angry blogger or commenter on the internet, then ignore me.

So what’s the point of all this? Am I calling out a fan base? I guess I am. Look, everyone has the right to defend their team, but sometimes it goes a bit overboard into “loony land”...I’m looking at you Caps fans.

And I realize this is the internet; it’s the land of anonymous personal attacks. That’s never going to stop. But Red Wings fans, I have to ask why you are so defensive. Is it because you’re tired of people suggesting your insanely successful, four-time Stanley Cup winning team (in the past 20 years) may actually be mortal? If so, then take a breather.

This doesn’t apply only to Red Wings fans, it all fans. It’s just hockey. Perhaps when someone suggests your team has flaws they might be right.

I know it doesn’t happen often, but sometimes....they might be right.