Earlier today, I received an e-mail from Puck Daddy reader Kat Carroll regarding the post about that wacky Penguins/Red Wings hybrid jersey and the loathsome concept of rooting for two rival teams. Well, she's one of those fans who actually cheers for both the Rangers and the Devils (and the Flyers and the Bruins!), and seemed like a perfect person to offer both a rebuttal and a glimpse into this warped concept of puckhead allegiance. See you again on Sunday, and enjoy ...
By Kat Carroll
I'm a hockey fan, first and foremost, meaning I'll watch any game, even if it involves teams I despise. I've been a fan of the sport for a long time, and ended up going to Boston College, so I have primary allegiance to all the BC alums who play professionally and are obviously spread out over lots of teams. I definitely love the speed and skill involved in professional hockey, and it's something that most college games can't/don't replicate.
But as a college hockey fan, in addition to an NHL fan, it's hard for me to get really attached to pro teams; players get traded and some players play more for themselves and not the team. And you only get four shots at the national championship, if you're lucky, whereas a pro player arguably has their career to get a Stanley Cup -- not that Stanley's any more easily obtained or less important than the NCAA championship.
College teams also have less flexibility in "making it work" because you can't transfer to another school without losing a year of NCAA eligibility, and schools can't trade/ship people off for someone with better skills, hockey or interpersonal, whose ego fits better. So, for me, it's easier to argue single loyalty in college hockey than pro hockey. But I digress.
I've always been a Rangers fan and they'll always have a special place in my heart. But I'm also a Devils fan. They're a great team, they have great skill, there are usually less dramatic changes in performance season to season; the organization's very BC-friendly (i.e. they have a number of alums on the roster and/or in the system).
I admit it, Glen Sather is no Lou Lamoriello, and I'm not a huge fan of Rangers' management for the most part.
Nonetheless, Devils-Rangers games are difficult for me to watch. If tying was still possible, I'd hope for good hockey and a tied score. But since that's not possible, when I attend/watch those games, I hope for good hockey, no injuries and a well-played game, by both teams.
I'm not one of the [expletives] who scream "Let's Go Rangers" after winning at the Rock and I'm embarrassed by the [expletive] Rangers fans who do. (Having been to Devils-Rangers games both at the Rock and at the Garden, there certainly appear to be a far greater number of [expletive] Rangers fans than there are [expletive] Devils fans.)
But my "allegiances" get "worse" from there. I also root for the Bruins and Flyers; the Boston Bruins because of my college days in Boston (your locale exception, and they too are relatively BC-friendly).
My Philadelphia Flyers allegiance I can attribute to the Pittsburgh Penguins' last postseason. I got so tired of the Penguins winning, and Sidney Crosby's whining, that I wanted someone to beat them after the Rangers failed to. Seeing Mike Richards beat the crap out of Crosby would've been an added bonus.
But if either team is playing the Devils or Rangers, I root for the Devils/Rangers first. Ultimately, I root for the Rangers and whoever's playing against the Montreal Canadiens and/or New York Islanders, even if some misguided BC alums are on their rosters.
I believe "real" hockey fans root for good hockey. I agree that combining two jerseys is incredibly indecisive, rather stupid, and ... just seems wrong; one should be able to root for both teams but ultimately have the presence of mind to pick one over the other, especially when spending $100-plus per jersey.
But at the same time, chastising others for rooting for two or more teams (as some of the posted replies to your blog exclaimed) and appreciating the talent spread throughout the league, even if it is among rivals, makes as much sense as ... I don't know, heckling the opposing team and its fans when you could be supporting and cheering all the louder for "your" team.
As a self-respecting hockey fan, I root for multiple teams, including rivals. Because I love hockey, at all levels, regardless of the name and/or logo on either side of the sweater.
Kat Carroll is a hockey fan who would like the NHL to wake up and realize its women's clothing selection "completely sucks, as everything is either super-fitted, has glitter or rhinestones, or is pink."