Tuesday night was a celebration. A celebration of the resurrection of a dead franchise. A celebration of a champion. A celebration of a potential dynasty. The Blackhawks banner raising ceremony was perfectly done, and the Blackhawks' exhilarating 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals was the perfect cherry on the sundae.
Yet, some people still aren't satisfied.
Before Tuesday's game, an argument broke out on one of my Facebook posts. Why the anger? You'll never believe me, but it was over the continued use of "Chelsea Dagger." Some old die hards, some of whom I know from going to the empty United Center in the mid-2000s, some I don't know at all, are upset about what the song "represents." One commenter said, "...it is a pathetic song, representative of the bandwagon noobs and posers who have overrun the UC." Another said that many Hawks fans "... go there now just to be seen."
The argument of die-hard vs noob is nothing new. Militant Hawk fans who stuck with the team throughout the dark years feel violated that the Blackhawks have become a hot commodity. They feel they're owed for their loyalty, and need to be somehow acknowledged or honored. I understand where they're coming from, but you'd think two titles in four years would somehow ease their pain.
As I headed to the game last night, these arguments were fresh in my head, and I expected to see many of the things these die-hards were complaining about. "Noobs" constantly on their cell phones. People standing up and leaving their seats during play. Many of these things I wrote about nearly four years ago, in this condescending, but tongue in cheek, blog.
To my surprise, none of these things were happening last night...at least where I was sitting.
Nearly every fan "waited for the whistle" and stayed in their seats.
They cheered for Stan Bowman, John McDonough and Rocky Wirtz, with no silly "boos" for imaginary past wrongs.
They booed Gary Bettman.
The loudest ovation came for Corey Crawford, who was perhaps the most under appreciated and over scrutinized player on the roster last season.
The fans were there for the game. They were there for the hockey.
It wasn't about being seen, or saying, "I was there." It was about the game.
This realization crystallized for me late in the 3rd period while the Blackhawks killed a 5-on-3 penalty. Chants of "Corey, Corey, Corey" rained down, while fans showed their appreciation with numerous standing ovations.
It seems as if the game of hockey is beginning to catch up to "goin' to the Hawks game" mentality.
The thirst for knowledge and education is everywhere in Blackhawks Nation.
Chicago is hockey crazed, and the fan base is getting smarter every time the puck drops.
Perhaps this is the dawning of a new "Hockeytown."