Playoff fever has swept Chicago, if you'd believe the newspapers and blogs
.‚ Eye-popping ratings! More people watched the 'Hawks than the baseball or basketball played that day!
Color me unimpressed.
I've lived in Chicago for almost five years, and I promise you, more people in this town can tell you Ted Lilly's WHIP than name five members of the 'Hawks.
Before my time in Chicago, I lived in San Jose, where, despite the neophyte status of the hockey team, people actually cared - and not just when the team made the conference finals. ‚ You couldn't walk around the Bay Area without seeing teal colored track suits (it was the early 90's) and Sharks logos everywhere.‚ The team was awful, but daggone it, people loved "Ëœem. ‚ And when the Sharks knocked off Detroit in 1994, on the back of "The Professor" Igor Larianov and goalie Arturs Irbe, the region was never the same.
After a stint in California, I moved to Detroit.‚ Hockeytown.‚ When playoff season rolls around in Detroit, every car in the Motor City is adorned with double Red Wings flags
.‚ Every school teacher and social worker can tell you where they were the day Darren McCarty beat the living daylight out of Claude Lemiuex
. And every person within a hundred miles of The Joe can tell you of the years of heartbreak before Steve Yzerman finally raised the cup
I thought Detroit was the pinnacle of hockey love.‚ That was, until I went to Montreal this weekend.
Now for those unawares, the fans in Montreal rioted after winning the second round
of the playoffs last week. ‚ Round two!
Fans rioting after making it past the second round. (Courtesy Montreal Gazette).
Now those fans care about their hockey! I‚ saw dogs dressed in Canadiens gear.‚ Fire trucks flying Habs flags.‚ Hell, we went to a bar that refused to show the Boston -- Philadelphia game, because as a rule, they only show the Habs.‚ Now that's some arrogance!
On Sunday, I came back to Chicago.‚ Sure some folks were watching the game. But the passion is simply not here.‚ Yes, I know, the "ËœHawks led the league in attendance (because they have the biggest arena). ‚ Yes I know, Chicago is an "original six" team, but you would hardly be able to tell if you walked around the city. Just the other day, I heard a sports fan in the office ask our resident "hockey guy" Steve Waranauskas to tell him what a "one-timer" is.‚ The fact that we have one "hockey guy" in our entire office, and that a big time sports fan doesn't know the basics of the game tell you all you need to know.
The hockey fans in Montreal, San Jose, and Detroit have more passion for the game in their pinkies than the average Chicago fan does.‚ ‚ Those fans deserve the Stanley Cup.‚ Chicago fans, you don't.