So, there I am sitting at the local rink on Sunday morning watching my five year old play a game against other five year olds and loving every second of it. It was a beautiful sunny crisp morning and I was in a pretty good mood. And then it happened, one of the other dads sporting his Oiler cap started to make his way towards my direction. I should have known it would be inevitable, there was no way to avoid it, but for a brief moment in time I had actually forgotten the events of the previous night. That was about to change.
“I caught some of that game last night, I’m really sorry man”, he said grinning ear to ear, his voice dripping with mock sympathy. “Seven one, oooouch, that’s gotta sting a bit”. I managed my best eff you smile and tried out the excuse de jour that was making its rounds on Twitter, “Well you know they didn’t get in till 4 am”. I stopped; I knew it was weak as soon as the sound waves penetrated the air around my mouth. The Gretzky lovin Oiler fan chuckled a bit, “Ya, or maybe it was that shiny new logo of theirs that distracted them”. Unbelievably, I had nothing. “ I hope you guys make it to the play offs so we can take you out again just for old times’ sake” , he said, attracting unwanted attention from old time Canucks fans who were fellow prisoners in the Smythe division of the eighties. Think of something, THINK, THINK, THINK! I thought to myself. “Whatever…” I said. That was all I could manage as the Gretzky lovin oiler fan walked away chuckling. Whatever …. For five cents, that’s all I could come up with? Really? It was junior high all over again, and I was taking crap from some no good, Gretzky lovin Oiler fan. I was psychologically wounded on several levels.
Now against that backdrop of pain and misery, my embarrassment has turned to anger. Obviously I had a failure of whit when jousting with the Messier skate licking Oiler fan, but I should never have been put in that position by my team in the first place. It was truly a failure of grand proportions, albeit not as epic as the Vancouver Canuck Stanley Cup final implosion, but a big none the less.
There was a change of ownership Saturday night that was not sanctioned by the NHL board of governors, as the Detroit Red Wings completely owned the Winnipeg Jets. It started as most Winnipeg Jets games do, they scored first. Bryan Little who has done a lot to silence the critics lately, busted into the Red Wing zone with speed and notched one early, but that was it. Now I’m not sure if they thought they had it in the bag after that or if they just plain lost their minds because in true holiday fashion the Wings lit them up like a Christmas tree. If you do the math the Wings averaged a goal every eight minutes against an Andre Pavelac who was left helpless against the late man in the high slot, who over and over again scored on almost exactly the same play. It was like the nightmare hockey version of Groundhog Day and the Jets seemed completely confused by it all.
So at the end of the night the Red Wings handed the keys to the club back over to Mr. Chipman and the Jets high tailed it home to regroup. The regrouping process started Monday morning with a practice and bag skate. I took an almost inhuman satisfaction in knowing these guys where getting a taste of Noelian justice as they dragged their sorry backsides up and down the rink. I hope it was communicated to them that if they want to be an elite club, a club that can truly contend for a playoff spot in this league that seven one losses are going to have to become unacceptable. I for one am not inclined to have sympathy for the “sometimes you just have one of those games” excuse. As I have said in previous writings, players, you’re not in Atlanta anymore and these fans deserve more, they deserve a contender.
So cupcake, if you think Detroit was tough, go over to NHL dot com and check out Minny’s record as of late. They have been kicking ass and taking names lately and if you want survive that game you’re going to have to dig a little deeper than that effort on Saturday night. Yes players, as your pulling on your frilly pink underwear this morning, know this; it’s time to man up.
There are a lot of Jets fans out there that constantly get told “be happy that you have a team” and “You don’t really expect them to make the playoffs do you?” How many times do I have to read sports columns that say the Jets have a honeymoon period this year and that no one cares if they win? Guess what, that’s crap! I and every other fan out there working a ten hour plus day to put money in your pockets cares. Every kid in the school yard rocking a Jets shirt cares. Every out of town fan that shows up to a hostile rink cares.
So it’s time to man up buttercup and get it together for tonight’s game, because I want be the guy with arrogant grin on Sunday telling that Yari Kuri ass kissing mofo where to go!