And now, as promised, a list of why we hate the Chicago Blackhawks, in no particular order. Enjoy.
1. We're designed to hate them.
They're our fiercest division rivals. They're a fellow Original Six team. Hatred that goes back to the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth means more than hatred that was born yesterday. It means there's a lot riding on each and every meet-up; on both sides, all the fans' passion rests on whether their team can beat the other.
2. Reality v. Delusion
What's funny is that Hawks' apologists always point out the arrogance of Detroit and its fans: We like to brag about how our team has won the Cup 11 times, including 4 of the last 12 years. The Wings have made the playoffs for the past 18 consecutive years. We know, Hawks' fans, that you're sick of hearing about it.
But at least it's bragging about things that actually happened.
The Blackhawks last hoisted Lord Stanley in 1961. The number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 that year was Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces". It's also the same year our president was born. If that doesn't put it into perspective for you, how about this? Madonna--the person who resembles an octogenerian trying her best to convince you she's still a teenager--turned three that year. Let that one sink in for a minute.
But Hawks' fans don't know this. On the contrary, they are sooo ready to take down the exalted Red Wings, so eager to edge us out for the division title. Last year was the first year they even made the playoffs after a five-year drought. But in just one season's time, they've piled on the insta-swagger like a person rolling in millions they just won via Powerball.
I'm not sure if they remember, but the Wings beat them in last year's Western Conference Finals. In five games. The only game they won was in overtime.
In an effort not to look like completely jackasses, maybe try waiting until you put your money where your mouth is before bragging. Unless we're all going to play the "Grand Illusions" game, in which case, I'll go ahead and predict that I, personally, am going to score a hat trick against Cristobal Huet tonight. From West Virginia. With my mind.
3. Everyone and their mom is predicting the demise of the Wings, due to age, infirmity, incontinence, or whatever, and--OMFG--did you notice that the Hawks are all, like, 12 years old?! Their youth and vitality definitely = Stanley Cup magic.
Again--hasn't actually happened yet. I understand the desire that people have that makes them want to be the first to predict the "next big thing". I further understand that the Blackhawks' fanbase is completely and totally energized and revved up for the new season; people are actually attending Hawks' games again, and they're excited and optimistic for a bright future.
But all that this premature blather does is (A) make Hawks' apologists like stupid when they fall flat again, and (B) enact my gag reflex in a way that prohibits me from enjoying my lunch. Stop it.
Besides, their "youth" and "vitality" is precisely what got them into the pickle we like to call the Game 4 meltdown of the Western Conference Finals last year, wherein they lost 6-1, their backup goalie got pulled for their backup backup goalie, and approximately 98% of the team ended up getting sent to the locker room after they had a collective shitfit on the ice.
4. Their organization is rife with arrogant sons of bitches.
Cue Adam Burish. Or Tomas Kopecky. Or Brother-Can-You-Spare-Some-Change Patrick Kane.
Oooh. Burish picked up the octopus with his stick and threw it away. This must be a metaphor for...something.
I'm not even going to bother commenting again on Kopecky. After all, I'm still not sure this guy ever played for the Wings. And I'm not sure anybody from Chicago will notice him playing for the Hawks, either.
And I really don't think I need to elaborate on Kane, either. There are players on other teams who are outstanding enough, both in their play and in their conduct, to deserve my respect and admiration. He isn't one of them. Vomit.
5. Cristobal Huet. Brian Campbell. Marian Hossa. Tomas Kopecky.
What do all these people have in common?
Huge price tags and overrated qualifications.
Maybe I shouldn't include Kopecky in this group, as I don't really know if anyone actually believes he plays hockey, but that's precisely why I still can't believe he's banking $1.2 million a year. Puh-leeze.
6. Speaking of Cristobal Huet...
People in the hockey world like to rag on Chris Osgood for his unreliable goaltending. But Ozzie has won the Stanley Cup three times. Huet is nearly as old as Ozzie (shhh, don't tell Chicago) and has won the Cup zero times.
This should, for all intents and purposes, be his year. This is do-or-die for him. Come this spring, he'll either be hailed as the second coming of the Messiah or be outcast into the inner rings of hell. People in Chicago should be very nervous about this guy.
But they're already assuming they have the Cup in the bag, and with that assumption comes an even greater stretch in believing that Huet is going to take them there. I wouldn't hold my breath.
7. Speaking of Marian Hossa...
Ha. Ha. Ha. Hahahahahahahaha.
I would say that I'm sooo ready to see this assplug in the postseason, but it's impossible: He'll be sporting his cloak of invisibility. Oh, wait. Do I sound like a bitter Detroit fan? Go talk to fans from Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Ottawa. Or wait a few years and talk to yourself when he demands a new contract after not winning the Cup, despite not putting forth an adequate effort to win said Cup.
Sure, I'll miss his 40 goals, but only until Datsyuk and/or Franzen and/or Zetterberg have a 40+ goal season. And yes, I'll miss seeing his bleached hair and Eurotrash look, but only until I realize that our team's roster no longer holds a spot for a guy who looks like he'll order a double-shot of Jaeger for himself and a roofie-tini for his lovely date.
On behalf of Red Wings fans everywhere: You're welcome, Chicago.
8. Speaking of 40-goal seasons...
One of the biggest storylines I'm sick of is that the Wings are on the decline due to the missing offensive production of Hossa/Jiri Hudler/Mikael Samuelsson. Give me a fucking break. Hossa was in Detroit for one year. Hudler, while completely awesome in his own right, cracked the 20-goal benchmark only once in his four years in Detroit. Ditto for Samuelsson.
I think we'll live to see another day.
9. Not necessarily hockey-related, but why do people in Chicago have such a shitfit over food?
I feel like I'm inundated on the daily with Chicagoans judging other people for their culinary choices. First, there's that god-awful Center Ice commercial--you know, the one where the people in jerseys supporting certain teams say, "I may live in [insert name of different city] now, but my seats are defintely Center Ice." Of course, the Hawks' fans are the ones whining that they don't have any deep dish pizza because pizza that the rest of the world eats just tastes like sadness.
A few weeks ago, I watched some show on the Travel Channel about American food, and the topic was hot dogs. And, of course, the Chicagoans featured on that program whined about people who choose to put ketchup on their hot dogs. They will judge you for this. You will be publicly flogged.
Are you serious?
You mean you're judging people based on what they put on the thing that I can go buy 2 of for $0.99* at the gas station across the street?
*Or the amount equal to Patrick Kane assaulting five cabbies over spare change and getting to keep a lucky penny for himself.
I guess in the Windy City, they enjoy getting out the fine silver to eat pizza during hockey games, and I further suppose they douse their franks with caviar and gold dust.
There was even one hot dog vendor featured who adamantly refuses to serve ketchup with said hot dogs in Chicago. This is patently absurd. There is such a thing as having pride in your hometown traditions, and then there's being a full-tilt asshole. If I am a paying customer, and I choose to top my frank with a burnt turd, nobody should say a fucking word to me.
10. Fans at the United Center can eat shit.
Yeah, you're really clever, chanting "Detroit sucks" and "Sell more cars." That's hilarious. We suck so much that you should go read #2 and buy a fucking clue while you're at it. You know, the person who decided it was beyond funny to rag on a hockey team for the economic problems its city and state are facing really should be nominated for a show on Comedy Central.
I get it. It's supposed to get inside the players' heads. It's supposed to make Detroit's fans feel like ass.
And, by your own admission, since Detroit sucks and has nothing to offer except abject misery, I guess Chicago must feel like the scourge of the earth for losing last spring to such people.
But it really is a moot point. Sure, Michigan and Detroit proper may have seen better days. But it still didn't prevent the Wings from making the Stanley Cup Finals again last year. It won't prevent them from doing well this season, despite a shaky start. All it does is ignite the hatred even more and set the stage for an even sweeter victory when our team meets your team in the playoffs this year.
The puck drops at 7:30. Let's get this thing popping.