Playoff Gameday: Avalanche vs Red Wings - Game 2 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Playoff Gameday: Avalanche vs Red Wings - Game 2

This is going to be a brief preview and then I'm going to jump on a soapbox so buckle up.

Lineup, injuries and game time
Peter Forsberg is questionable, Wojtek Wolski is out for the series, and Jose Theodore will likely start.

Jaroslav Hlinka should find himself in the lineup regardless if Forsberg is in or not. If Forsberg stays out, Q will likely keep McCormick in.

The game starts at 2:30pm ET and this is a game the Avalanche need to win. If they can split the series at Joe Lemon arena, they take home ice advantage in the series and get to come back home to a raucous Pepsi Center where we'll find out what real fans are made of.

True fans
I spent a good deal of time yesterday over at A2Y "conversing" with the Red Wings fans who frequent that site. Mostly because it was a cold, dreary Friday but I guess I also felt like killing a brain cell or two.

Anyways, through the course of the discussions I was accused of not being a "true fan" because I stated that I would continue to watch hockey even if the Avalanche were eliminated from contention. I wouldn't, as their fearful leader stated, go on sabbatical and refrain from even talking about hockey. You know, the sport that enables me to actually have a favorite team.

This set off one fellow who said I made him "sick to his stomach" and blah blah blah. He then went on how Wings fans have a genetic hatred for the Avalanche which, as Jib pointed out, makes no sense given the time frame for the Avalanche hockey team. That the true Wings fans were indoctrinated since birth. They came flying out the slide wearing a Wings jersey. They know what it means to follow the team through ups and downs and to suffer heartbreak at many first and second round defeats after winning the meaningless President's Trophy. Ok, I added that last one.

Well what do you think Avalanche fans right now are doing? After a season in which we all felt confident that the Stanley Cup was coming back home, our star-studded team ended up bowing out in the second round, putting an end to a chance at a third cup over nine seasons. We had to watch a rookie coach make endless mistakes including benching an "underachieving" star in Teem Selanne when it turns out he was injured all season.

Our team was then gutted after the lockout thanks to some ill advised low ball moves by our former GM. We lost Adam Foote, we lost Peter Forsberg, we lost Rob Blake, we had David Aebischer as our #1 as Patrick Roy had recently retired and the cupboards were bare in terms of goaltending prospects.

The team we love and cherish dearly struggled to make the postseason that first year back but managed to get our hopes up with a first round win over the Dallas Stars. They then got their asses handed to them by the Anaheim Ducks. Yes, the friggin' Walt Disney team sent them packing.

The next season they didn't even qualify for the show. With their fate out of their hands, they had to sit idly by and watch the Calgary Flames get in to the 8th slot by one lousy point. We were forced to watch the team that we love play a meaningless final 30 minutes in their last game all the while wondering "What happens next?"

Well you know what we all did next? We got up, dusted ourselves off and prepared for the next season. We didn't hang our heads, piss and moan like two-year-olds and swear off hockey. We begrudgingly followed along and started scouting out what changes the team should make. What they needed to do to bring us back what is rightfully ours. The Stanley fucking Cup.

Yes, I don't swear very often - on this blog anyways - but I must admit that being told Avalanche fans were not true fans really pissed me off. Sure, there may be some suits at Avalanche games who really should be drinking sherry and talking about the election instead of taking in a hockey game. But there are thousands upon thousands of true fans out there who care passionately about this team. Who want nothing but success and don't define failure as an option.

But if failure does come, we have the balls to learn from it, move on, and continue to cheer for a team that we have dedicated countless hours to whether it be watching, listening, reading, writing, commenting, cheering, booing or praying.

I follow along on Joe's open threads at Mile High Hockey when I have my laptop with me and can say without equivocation that the fans who spend there time there have more respect and class than Red Wings fans will ever hope to have. They also have more hockey knowledge, passion and caring than the immature "A2Y 19" could ever hope to achieve. The community that has sprouted up there is exactly what I expect from true fans. Cheers, heartbreak, a bit of name calling and an overall modicum of respectability.

I read all the Avalanche blogs that are out there and every one of them brings some amazing insights into each game. There is no need for any of us to degrade the opposing teams to show our passion. It's there in the hours of writing spent on the team every week. The ups and downs are expressed in the frustrations we all vent over things like Tyler Arnason only scoring against Edmonton or Karlis Skrastins trying to join the swim team with his spectacular ice stroke manoeuvre. And we do it all because we truly care for this team.

I'm proud to be an Avalanche fans and I'm proud of what our fanbase is, even if we have a few black sheep straying around. I'm proud that I can hold my head high on the heels of 2 Stanley Cups in the past 11 seasons. After a string of 11 straight playoff appearances. After 5 Conference Final appearances in 11 years. And finally, even while enduring a rough patch in the teams already storied history.

So Wings fans, feel free to poke fun at the team we cheer for - it's what you do in sports - but never question the loyalty of our true fan base.

Related Links
Game 2 Anticipation
MHH Open Thread
Colorado Avalanche Injury and Roster Updates Game Preview


Jibblescribbits said...

Joe Lemon arena

I love it

Karlis Skrastins trying to join the swim team with his spectacular ice stroke manoeuvre

Nightmare Fuel: Karlis skrastins in one of those new "LZR" swimsuits...

And good points all around Shane. I see sports fandom as religion. It's an intensely personal thing, that you happen to be able to share with thousands (or in the Thrashers case...hundreds) of people. But everyone worships in their own intensely personal way. There's no "wrong" and no "true". As Tape said... we're all bandwagon fans of some kind.

Jibblescribbits said...

FYI: If you want a sane look at game 2 from a Red Wings fan, go look at " On the Wings" he's written a really good preview.

Shane Giroux said...

Thanks, Jib.

I like Matt's blog but his site is down at the moment. Once it's back, I'll be linking to it for sure.

Anonymous said...

Hey Shane:

Enjoy your little circle jerk here, buddy, and go f*** yourself.

Idiot Wings fans everywhere.

P.S.- Don't cry about missing the playoffs until you've suffered through THIRTY EFFIN YEARS OF IT!!! Then you might have some idea of what people are trying to get thru that thick skull of yours... Toolshed.

P.P.S.- How does a kid from Saskatoon wind up rooting for the Vagalanche, anyway? Did you need a new bandwagon to jump while your western Canadian teams were missing the playoffs all those years?

Shane Giroux said...

anonymous, you continue to prove people's points about Wings fans.

I hope that bitterness is working out for you in your life.

Shane Giroux said...

"you've suffered through THIRTY EFFIN YEARS OF IT!!! "

Oh, and might I fucking hoo.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should wait until you beat Detroit once this year, just once, before you talk about the "Stanley Cup coming home".

PS you actually have to win 4 times, but once would be quite an accomplishment for your squad.

Shane Giroux said...

I'll talk about the Stanley Cup coming home whenever I please. My site, my rules.

"you actually have to win 4 times, but once would be quite an accomplishment for your squad."

That it would, that it would.

Any chance you'll come out of your anonymous shell or is the Internet tough guy persona too much fun for you?

CJ said...

As a true Red Wings fan, I find the comments made by Anonymous offensive. But please don't read his (or hers) and assume we're all so empty-headed. Most of us are sane, intelligent folks truly passionate about our team, as Av's fans are about theirs. There are lots of blogs out there, for any team, that are run by people running at the mouth but with no real information. As a good alternative, I wanted to point you in the direction of Matt's blog, On the Wings, but looks like you know it already. Hoping the Red Wings come out winners, but looking for a good series with Avs.

Shane Giroux said...

Thanks for the comment, CJ. I certainly wasn't about to let an anonymous commenter color my beliefs too much but I have been spending an awful lot of time at A2Y ;)

Matt's blog has helped me to not paint all Red Wings fans with the same mindset.

I certainly hope the Avalanche wake up and make this at least interesting. The last couple games have probably been fun for Wings fans but there needs to be some adversity to truly enjoy a victory.

Although I'd ultimately prefer them to not enjoy any more victories!