I had started to mellow towards the Wings as the playoffs went along. I started to marvel at how these guys were just totally dominating teams that should have been beating them. I was enjoying watching them move the puck with precision accuracy and then somebody on the other team having to make an amazing play to keep the puck out of the net. Now, I hadn't stopped hoping they'd lose, I haven't gone THAT soft, but I was starting to warm to the fact that watching them in the finals and maybe even win the Cup wouldn't be so bad. And then it happened...
Wings Fan showed up.
If you live in an NHL city that's not Detroit, you've met Wings Fan. Good chance you loath Wings Fan. He/she is usually loud, usually very quick to gloat about the Wings history since 1997, and will give the confused-dog-head-tilt if you say, "Remember the 80's?" Locally, they are especially annoying because their quickest defense is, "Heh, Blue Jackets...what have they done? Made the playoffs yet?" The rigors of expansion is lost on the guy/girl because, well, they can't remember the 80s. (Then again, maybe being the 1/30th of the league that has never made the playoffs...oh, never mind.) Anyway, in most circles, this person would be known as a bandwagoner, but since the Wings bandwagon started filling up about 10 years ago, he's had a long enough ride to consider himself a die-hard.
Following my weekly Tuesday beer league game, we headed to BWs in Crosswoods for some wings and beer and to take in game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. BWs has been kind enough to put the hockey game on at least two big screens, so it's kinda like we have a local NHL team or something.
Anyway, the Wings score to make it 3-1, a few cheers go up at various tables. No biggie. Then the Ducks score to make it 4-1, and a rather large cheer went up at our table. That's when Wings Fan started in...
One member of our team was born and raised in Boston. Still has the Boston accent, typically yells "RED SOX NATION" at the top of his lungs upon seeing them on TV, and is still a die-hard Broons fan. He'll attend Jacket games for fun, but he's a Broons fan to the core. We'll call this guy "Chowd." THIS is the guy that Wings Fan decided to pick on.
I didn't catch the whole exchange, I heard Wings Fan say something to Chowd after the goal, and Chowd just kind of chuckled and said, "Well, I want to see the Wings lose."
Wings Fan (with big grin): "Why? Are you a Blue Jackets fan?"
Chowd: "Um, no, I'm from Boston." (No grin involved in the retort.)
Wings Fan: [silence]
Dude had nothing in return. His prepared Captain Obvious jab at the Jackets was shot down before he had the chance to bring it out. He had nothing for a Bruins fan. The team had as much history as his. Since he can't remember the 80s, the whole Original Six thing is lost on him past, "Hey, the Wings are an Original Six team!"
Since all Chowd got was silence, that's when the grin started to grow on his face.
So, to close out the evening, the Wings made a game of it, Wings Fan cheered some more, but he left Broons fan alone. But in the end, the Wings fell short, and were bounced from the playoffs. And for his efforts at BWs that night, Chowd gave him a parting gift, "Hey, wait...here ya go."
[hands Wings Fan an official Buffalo Wild Wings napkin]
"That should help dry ya teahs." [Boston cackle]