Friday, April 18, 2008

NEWSFLASH: Hockey is a physical, hard-nosed sport!

WAHHHHH!!!!! The Flyers are meanies!!!!! WAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
Well, that about sums up Mike Wise's column in Wednesday's Washington Post (need I say more?).

You see, he has an issue with Flyers fans and how the Flyers organization spirits up the fans through replays of fights and stuff. But, he also seems to be calling for "the fix."

"Can't Gary Bettman pay off someone to ensure his meal ticket for the next decade advances to the second round? Doesn't Tim Donaghy live close by? Does he still have his whistle? Can he skate?

The Washington Capitals and their star Alex Ovechkin, the closest thing the NHL has to Kobe and LeBron, need some kind of help if they are going to genuinely awaken America to their game again."

I guess because there is little to say about the Capitals' play in this series, Wise feels the need to hit on the always present punching bag: the Philadelphia fans.

Your typical, out-of-towner rant about the fans is plainly that of someone who really doesn't belong in a sporting arena. And so what if we are excited about the playoffs? And when good hits happen, why is it a problem if we yell like banshees? We're not "frothing" as you put it. Sir, you have a flair for hyperbole:

"Midway through the third period of this demoralizing 6-3 loss at Wachovia Center, 20,000 people in fluorescent orange howled for their World Extreme Cagefighters, and a crowd in the upper bowl chanted vulgarities at Ovechkin that went beyond the bounds of loutish fan behavior. As the frothing masses left the arena, they felt good about the bull being struck and killed -- checking the multi-generational Russian wizards Ovechkin and Sergei Fedorov into humility as much as the boards."

Dude. We chant, we yell, and we do it well. It is our job. It's called home-cookin'. I've heard similar things (sometimes worse) while watching other sporting events. But, that's o.k., Mr. Wise, just pick on us. However, do not pick on our team. They are gritty, determined, and have shown a lot of heart this year, especially in the stretch when it has mattered. (Yes, all of those hockey cliches were on purpose.) It is called "getting into the heads" of our opponents.

Hockey has NEVER been a "mannered" sport, and I suggest that you and all the others trying to turn it into a wine sipping event just stop. This is not cricket or polo. Hockey fans don't politely yelp, "Here, here, good boy. Way to hit the puck with your stick." Your use of language to try to stir up your troops falls short and makes this Flyers' fan laugh. The part that made me laugh the most?

"Something about this R-rated environment is just not conducive to Ted Leonsis' Family Pack Night or Ovie on Ice. The contrasts are so stark and revealing.

The Caps' postseason slogan: 'Rock The Red.' The Flyers? 'Vengeance Now,' which comes across as less of a slogan and more of a sequel to Charles Bronson's 'Death Wish.'

The Capitals didn't come out as Eastern Conference foes; they entered the playing surface like Russell Crowe entered the Coliseum in 'Gladiator.' Flyer fans didn't want to beat Washington as much as see Ovechkin bludgeoned, his teammates emasculated.

It's almost impossible to fathom, but the Capitals took the ice in front of a building as loud as Verizon Center last Friday. The fans wore orange instead of the Capitals' red, and many of the women and children looked as if they could work security for Megadeth.

On I-95 entering town there is a billboard of Riley Cote, a stumpy rogue who engaged in 24 fights this season, twice as many as Capitals tough guy Donald Brashear. Cote's wild-man eyes and his quick fists are the only features shown of the Flyers' player.

Five minutes into the game, they showed a video of Philly's top brawls this past season, many involving Cote grabbing hold of an opponents' shirt for leverage before pummeling him to the ice, which is just a swell environment for children -- children of Patrick Roy.

They flat-out market and sell violence here, sanctioned, unbridled assaults disguised as sport."

1. "Vengance" is a slogan born out of last year's humiliation, it is not the playoff slogan. It has been used all year. We saw teams literally laugh at the Flyers last year. The act of vengance is making those same teams eat their laughter. (Btw., "Rock the Red" is just gay.)

2. You do realize a lot of the fan noise at the Verizon Center included many of our fans that made the trip, right?

3. Megadeth? I love Megadeth! I've met Dave Mustaine twice. I digress. So what if I could work security for Megadeth. I'd get a free concert. And yes, I can fight my way out of a paper bag. Are you afraid of me, because I am a fan of the Flyers? I've been to a lot of games. Not once did I see a fight in the stands, nor did I ever get into a fight with anyone. (I did yell "dummy" a few times at Tie Domi and told Darius Kasparaitis that his name sounded like a disease, but they were within ear shot.) I never pushed or shoved my way through a crowd, either. It is a pep rallyish atmosphere as far the excitement level is concerned.

4. In addition to their appreciation of the pretty passes and goals, true hockey fans like the brawls and know they are used as strategy. The fights have been around as long as the sport. Every time people like you try to take the fights and hits out of the sport, and make rules to protect the "please don't check me because I might break a nail finesse" players, ratings fall and so does interest in the sport. Both the beauty and the brawn of the sport are needed for it to succeed.

I think you're just jealous, Mr. Wise. Your team has no balls. They know how to dive and draw penalties, but they really can't play a physical, playoff hockey style. Yes, playoff hockey is more physical. You are a student of the sport, right?

My advice Mr. Wise? Put down the soy latte and grab a beer. Take off the shirt and tie and replace them with a hockey jersey. While you're at it, try cheering for your team instead of telling them they suck. That's what we do, well, unless they really do suck. We love them either way. It's called passion. Relax, dude. It's hockey.

Oh, and just a question: Have you ever been to the Flyers' Wives Fight for Lives carnival? That's where you'd see the true heart of the Flyers and their fans. I suggest you look it up and read about it. While you're at it, send a donation, too.

(*It should be noted that Mr. Wise served the Flyers with a cease and desist order when they wanted to copy and distribute this article to the fans at game four. The Flyers posted in on the board at center ice.)

(H/T: Washington Post & NBC10)

Now, for some Megadeth!


USA_Admiral said...

Up 3 to 1 I believe it is over.

Mike Wise seems to be a sore loser. It will make for a great game on Saturday.

jt said...

Hockey would be better if it was baseball.

RT said...

Don't jinx them! Take one game at a time. Steady as she goes.

I'll try to think of some cliches.

If you click on the link to his article, you will see his picture. He's a sourpuss.

Well, if you give the hockey players bats, there could be some problems. ;P''''''

Once you sit and learn and understand hockey, you're hooked. Trust me. I was a casual fan until one season (around '89/'90) I decided to sit and learn the rules while I watched. It's a great sport. There have been years when I did not miss a game. Now I'm kind of busy, but I used to know who played where, throughout the league, and knew them by their jersey numbers.

USA_Admiral said...

No Jinx intended. They are showing that here in the "sticks" at 1:00PM. I am going to have pizza! I can think of anything better, well maybe decent Cheese Steak, but that is tough to find down here too.

Hockey sticks are way funner that baseball bats. Longer too.