Friday, March 6, 2009

An Open Letter to Post-Lockout Rangers' Fans

Dear Post-Lockout Rangers' Fans,

Please stop embarrassing the rest of us.

You know who you are. You are the type of fan that gives the team's true supporters a bad name. You don't know anything about the game, but that doesn't stop you from asserting your stupidity whenever possible. Just a few years ago, I'm sure most of you didn't know what a hockey puck was, or why there weren't any around in 2004-05. Before the lockout, or the "strike" as you so often and inaccurately called it, you guys were nowhere to be found. That's not to say the Rangers didn't have fans before the lockout, despite their constant ability to miss the playoffs. But that those that stuck around through that seven-year drought knew what hockey was. If anything, they sure knew what bad hockey looked like, since it was on display at the Garden 41 times a year.

Surely most of you picked up on the team somewhere through the 2005-06 campaign, though I'd venture to guess that 85% of you can't tell me who was the captain of the team that year.

Stumped? I thought so. That's because no one player wore the captain's "C," but rather a group of players that included Jaromir Jagr, Darius Kasparaitis, and Martin Straka sported As on their sweaters. Now that you've exposed yourselves, let's quickly recap that season, shall we?

That year, the Rangers were picked by every expert in the know to finish dead-last in the Eastern Conference. However, on the shoulders of a Rangers-record 54 goals by Jagr and the outstanding play of a rookie goaltender (you know him as Henrik Lundqvist), the team surged to take the sixth seed in the playoffs.

The problem is, your numbers are growing. It seems like every day there are more and more Rangers' fans that know very little, but claim to have been a fan from the beginning of time. It's become an epidemic for hockey fans of this generation, and probably for those to come as well. How can I prove it? Well, many times you guys do the work for me. Let's see:

- You yell "SHOOT!" repeatedly whenever the team carries the puck into the offensive zone, or even sometimes in the defensive zone when on the power play.
- You think Potvin's first name is Felix.
- You had no idea who Harry Howell or Andy Bathgate were before this year.
- You can't name three players from the 1994 team who's jerseys haven't been retired.
- You thought inserting Petr Prucha into the lineup would solve all the scoring problems.
- You think Brandon Dubinsky could be the next Messier or Graves.
- You refuse to ackowledge the talent of some of the NHL's elite, such as Mike Richards, Zach Parise and worst of all, Sidney Crosby purely out of hatred for them.

Now, with all that said, it could be worse. This is never more evident than the day after seeing a game in Nassau Coliseum, the home of the most pathetic fans in New York. When the Islanders score a goal, the fans in attendance, which aren't many, stand up and chant at the opposing goalie, rather than celebrate a goal for their team.

Really, guys? Watching the Islanders play a home game is like being at a very bad college hockey game. The atmosphere is sadly juvenile, what with a dragon mascot doing the chicken dance and all. It's enough to make hockey purists vomit.

For not being anything like this, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Rangers' fans, both post-lockout and life-long supporters.

I know that you're passionate about your newfound favorite team. But for the sake of the true fans, try to learn something about the game before making a joke out of yourself. Hockey is a great sport that doesn't get enough attention. Bringing back the casual fan is the only way the NHL will truly make its way back into the same conversation as the other three sports leagues in this country.

So although I can't stand most of you in many respects, I understand that we need you, in addition to a major market team winning the Cup, to make this league breathe again. So if I've offended any of you, which I'm sure I have, take this letter not as an insult, but as a guideline. A guideline on how to not sound like a moron at a hockey game.

The rest of us would really appreciate it.

Mike Salerno

No comments:

Post a Comment