I have a couple friends who are Tampa Bay Lightning fans. When the team was founded and horrible, he bought partial season tickets. Then, you could tell who the true hockey fans were. They were the people who showed up to games when no one else wanted to see the team. For years this was the case. Then, they started getting good, and the bandwagoners jumped on. The team won the cup and that was the height of their attendance. Shortly after they won the cup and started to decline, the bandwagoners left, and the true hockey fans were left again. Last year, the bandwagoners started jumping back on. During the time when the team sucked was the best time to go to a game and mingle with the true fans. If you tried to mingle with fans in the cup year or last year, it was a disaster. People were morons, saying certain teams sucked and they were critical of the team and players on it.
I don't think attendance pre playoff vs playoff is really the best way to determine if someone is a bandwagon fan. Especially with Florida teams. That state is bad with attendance in all sports just because there is so much other stuff to do. Some people just cant afford to go to very many games. For us an hour drive both ways, parking, ticket cost, food/drink, is hard to fit into the budget for one nights entertainment. Now for playoffs though we've been saving since the new year so we can go to a couple playoff games without worry of budget restraints. We choose the playoff games because they are more important. A team in the playoffs will always have higher attendance no just because its full of bandwagoners but because those true fans that have to be selective in what games they can attend will always pick playoffs. The rest of the season both me and my girlfriend (a lifelong Ranger fan that I converted to die hard wings fan) are watching every game on the couch and I would never consider us bandwagoner just because we can only make a game or two a year.
As for the original post. I dont think Chicago is as bad as people perceive it to be. Sure there are assholes but thats the same with every organization. Ive been to a game in Chicago. Wore my Wings garb and didnt have any issues. Sure some guys yell stuff but if that bothers you then you need thicker skin. I even had a guy knock my drink over as he walked down the stairs. Now he easily could have been a dick and said screw that wings fan (especially with him being a good bit drunk) but he was instantly apologetic and came back not only with a replacement drink for me but one for my girl as well. I didnt feel one bit unsafe the whole time. Ive gone to a US-Mexico World Cup qualifying game in Mexico City before. Chicago fans are choir boys compared to that.