Exactly the sentiment I shared two seasons ago. I am more than happy to give the benefit of the doubt. We were all new to this game at some point and it was attending a handful of games, watching them on TV, reading what we could that we began to familarize ourselves and really foster a true love for the sport. However, in all my years I don't remember ever going out of my way before I even knew the playoff format or the names on an opposing team and proclaim to all the world my never ending love for the Red Wings and how stupid and terrible every other franchise was. In fact, since you seem to be a magnanimous and reasonable fellow, that in 1995 you didn't randomly call out a Canadians fan as "f*gs" and rally a group around him chanting "Let's Go Caps" (poor kid). A Canadians fan? Really?
I agree 100%. I barely knew the game back in 1995. I was still trying to determine the difference between college hockey rules and NHL rules. That being said, I hated the Devils. It wasn't until the NHL came back from the lockout when I started enjoying just about all hockey I could watch. I became a fan of the game about as much as I became a fan of the Red Wings. I think you can call me a magnanimous and reasonable person just based on the fact that while I love the Wings, I can enjoy the sport for what it is.
Ignorance knows no bounds. I have to agree that these people who said these things are dumb. However, I hear the same damn quotes from Wings fans relating to players on the Wings roster. Look at the discussion about the Calder voting for instance. Some Wings fans already have a chip on their shoulder because Tyler Myers seems to be getting all the press. Some are already saying "Howard is getting robbed." I don't equate this to ignorant Caps fans, but ignorant fans overall. These are the same fans, when the chips are down and their team is struggling, will bandwagon jump to another team.
I forgot who said it earlier, but the Verizon center (and by proxy the related sports bar...Green Turtle I'm looking you general direction) are no longer hospitable places to be. Be cognizant on who votes for the Norris Trophy before you tell me Lidstrom is a joke and "Green was robbed by the other GMs because they are jealous they don't have him," or that "Yzerman doesn't know anything about hockey otherwise he would've picked Green for Team Canada," because he's "twice the player Yzerman ever was".
I completely agree with your assessment as a whole though. I just give the Caps fans a lot more leeway. I think you need to give these fans a little more than 2 years in order to get their attitude in order.
Like I said earlier - zeal, or passion not tempered by knowledge or respect leads down an ugly path. This has unfortunately gotten worse over time, not better. The fan base seems louder and more ignorant than they did only two seasons ago. The genuine air of excitment and eagerness to learn the game has been replaced with whining, entitlement, and arrogance and that is very unfortunate. Yes, I suspect that you're right when this all ebbs and the bandwagon is empty - new and knowledgable fans will remain and ready to support their team regardless. That sounds like a fan base and team that I would be happy to be a part of. However, it by no means makes it easier for those of us here now who want to enjoy hockey as the bandwagon appears to be fully stocked like a clown car on its way to a three week bender in Tijuana.
Look, I know that my repsonses have been a tad extreme, but purposefully so to clarify an overarching point: my personal capitals experience in Washington DC has been dissappointing.
I say "experience" because you are absolutely correct: the fan base and the team itself are exclusive to one another. It's not Mike Green's responsibility to ensure that no insults are spoken in his defense nor is it the fan who directs Green's approach to how he runs the powerplay. I chose to evaluate the fans from the organization. The organization moved towards a style of play that I am not particular interested in or actually convinced that it can result in a championship, and the fans are...well, the fans. The Capitals experience is not "malicious" or purposefully evil - it is an experience that I felt was special and exciting and has devolved to something ugly and unfortunate.
Let me give you another example here. I am a Ferris State Bulldogs hockey fan. Always have been. In fact, that was the first team I ever saw play live. Heck, my first game I ever saw was Ferris State vrs Lake Superior State. Anyway, Ferris State has never been a national powerhouse. They have always languished in the middle to bottom of the pack with a couple exceptional years thrown in. In 2002-2003, Chris Kunitz led the Bulldogs to a NCAA playoff birth and a CCHA regular season championship. The rink was full that season as well as the next season.
As a fan, I noticed that the rink went from true hockey fans to bandwagon fans in the span of a season. The second year, the fans move from excited to be part of a winning team to what I like to call "right to entitlement". That is the same area the Caps fans are in today. In short, the fans of a winning team want to see more success next season. If that success doesn't come, well, its the refs, league, coach, or player's fault. If the team has more success the next season, then it gets worse the next season.
The only way you get fans to calm down is to have a period of 5-10+ years of success like the Wings have done. The Devils would be another success story. Eventually, the fans become more educated about the game of hockey and since fans love a winner, they stick around.
It all ends though when the team starts to go downhill again. The fans will leave the game and go to other teams. The true fans will stick around (like my friend in Tampa Bay has figured out), but the mass amount of fans will leave. These are the people that you and I both like to talk to. These are the people that I got to know at Ferris State when the team sucked that stayed with the team and continue to stay with the team today. Its good to know these are true fans of the game and the team. Talking hockey with these people are a privilege.
In conclusion, I know you are sick of the Caps fans. I am just asking that you give them a bit more time. In a period of 10 years or so, the Caps will win a Stanley Cup and the team will be slipping back into mediocrity. The fans that stick around when all the bandwagon fans leave will be the ones you will enjoy talking too the most. You just don't know which fans will shake out until the team starts dropping in the overall standings which is going to be a while. Just know its all a vicious cycle. Its going to happen with the Wings eventually.
Personally, I watch the Caps on NHL Center Ice quite often. If the Wings don't win the cup this year, I would be a happy hockey fan if Washington lifted it (or any other team who hasn't won it in a while or ever).
- Uncle Danny likes this