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I’ve been toying around with writing about this for the past week or so. I’m not exactly sure what this is going to turn into or anything – or if it even has a real purpose. I don’t know if this is going to accomplish anything.

I don’t expect this to reach many people anyway – even if I share it on facebook which I may. Not that that will bring many more readers but that’s not important.

Anyone who knows me knows how big of a Blackhawks fan that I am. I have been ever since I can remember. I would go to games all the time as a kid with my dad since he had season tickets. The Hawks weren’t good at all for much of this time, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t the kind of fan who analyzes everything or follows everything as closely as I do now – I was just a kid who loved hockey.

I’ve been that kind of fan since the 2007-08 season. That’s the year Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane started their NHL careers. I know, I know – the random stray visitor of this site is calling me a bandwagoner right now. But it was really the fact that I’d just entered my junior year of college and I’d managed to lock myself in a single room that year which was also locked inside a bigger room that was connected to a hallway where the elevators were and I wasn’t the normal area of the dorm where I could meet other people on the floor I lived with like most other rooms in the dorm – all because I desperately wanted to not have a roommate I didn’t know in the room I had taken on the floor that some of the people from my floor the year prior had gone so I could be around familiar people (whether we were ever actually close friends is debatable but we certainly aren’t much more than acquaintances now.) So having basically cut myself off from society, I turned back to one of my favorite things (along with wrestling) and that was hockey. It had kind of been thrown to the wayside for my first two years of college, partially because of a lockout and partially just because I was too focused on classes and awkwardly trying to hang out with people on my floor and even more awkwardly trying not to make it that obvious to the girl on the floor I had a crush on that I did so. (Welcome to my life, by the way, random people of the internet.)

(How hilarious it would be if I posted this on facebook and these people read it. Fuck it it’s almost ten years ago now which is scary enough in itself.)

Anyways, I got invested, and I’ve followed the team (and the league) as closely as I have through highs such three Stanley Cups in six seasons and disappointing endings such as losing to the Kings and the Canucks in game 7’s they should have won, and the ugly – losing to Phoenix. And the horrible – the lockout. And also having to defend the greatness that is Corey Crawford from moronic fans from other teams that like to call him average at best – or worst, fans of the Hawks who do the same. They are all idiots.

If I need to prove my fandom to you, read these about the last two Cup winning seasons:

2013: https://mzrc.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/chicago-blackhawks-2013-stanley-cup-champions/

2015: https://mzrc.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/tonight-we-rise-ii-chicago-blackhawks-2014-15-stanley-cup-champions/

And while this season has started to look like it will be another good one as of late, as they’ve just won their 8th in a row, after the start of the season was a bit iffy – my love for the team is a little shaken. That’s not to say I don’t still love them, because I do, but right now it’s not the same as it was in years past.

Part of it is trading away players I’m a huge fan of, even if I know that’s not their fault. It’s the salary cap and nothing more. We fans have dealt with this after every Cup win – they win the Cup, the team is dismantled. I also have terrible luck with jersey buying. I got an Adam Burish jersey in 08, and he was traded after the first Cup win. (Or not re-signed.) I got a Bolland jersey in 2012 or 2013, and he was traded after the second Cup win. If I had the money, I was going to get a Sharp jersey last year. He was traded after the third Cup win. At this rate I’m going to have to get a Toews jersey just because he’s not going anywhere else ever.

A part of it is that I’m very bitter over Patrick Sharp being traded. I know it’s the salary cap and all that, but I don’t care. He’d been my favorite player on the team since I started following this closely. He was great, and he was NEVER given the credit he deserved by fans. Everything is Toews this, Kane that, Hossa this, Keith that, Seabrook this, and then maybe something about Sharp. In fact, the past couple of seasons I’ve found myself having to defend Patrick Sharp to other people I know and the more I saw negative comments, the more insane it drove me that I even had to do this. Now, I know Patrick Kane and probably Marian Hossa are better in general to Patrick Sharp, but if I was drafting players to a hockey team, the only Blackhawk I pick before Sharp is Toews.

If that’s not enough to show you how much of a fan of his I am, here’s a rant I had defending him from the 2015 Cup win post I linked earlier: (It’s clearly out of context but oh well.)

“I’m sorry guys, but I have to do this. You all leave me no choice. The amount of bullshit I saw about Sharp taking a second penalty and “costing” them the game is pathetic. So you’re telling me that someone taking a penalty calls for them to be benched? For a game? For the REST OF THE SERIES? For the rest of his time as a Hawk (Read: Get him out of here)? Grow up and get over yourselves. Patrick Sharp is one of the best players on this team. You do NOT bench one of your best players over a penalty. The first one, you should’ve already realized, the guy dove. You can’t even blame him for that. And you want to bench him in favor of who? Joakim fucking Nordstrom? Think about what you’re saying before you say it, please. Yes, let’s bench one of the best players for some nobody. You only bench him if you have a suitable replacement that’s just as good. There is none. The fact that I’ve even had to defend Patrick Sharp last postseason and this one is an absolute joke. (and I didn’t have to until this moment, which I was happy about until you all ruined it). “Oh he’s not producing any points!” you say? It’s funny, there’s more to hockey than points. You should know that if you’re a hockey fan. Also, um, you realize Hossa has a similar amount of goals and he had a similar season, but I don’t see anyone at all saying he should be benched, do I? But Patrick Sharp – the guy who’s been here longer than any of their star forwards – the one that’s been just as good and just as important as any of the other ones but NEVER gets the credit for it over them – is the one that’s getting the blame for playing poorly. You never seem to say anything at all when he’s playing well but the second he does something bad you’re all over him. He’s officially the Corey Crawford of forwards. How about some credit for his multi-30+ goal seasons? How about his two, now three Stanley Cups? Gold medal? How about the fact that every time Sharp gets hurt the team starts playing poorly because he’s not there? And when he gets back they’re suddenly better? You never seem to give him any credit at all and you just want to talk about him doing poorly in the playoffs, as if a team losing is ever because of one particular person. Where’s this complaint about Bickell? Where’s this complaint about Hossa? Sharp has as many goals in the Finals as did Kane and Toews. You complaining about them? No? You realize that, in 2013, Patrick Sharp should’ve won the Conn Smythe over Patrick Kane, yes? (Maybe Crawford deserved it over both, but either way.) And if and when Sharp isn’t on the team next year, you should take into account that he’s ONLY gone because of salary cap and nothing more. He’s not leaving the team because of so-called poor play. He’s just as important to this team as anyone else is, and you WILL miss him when he’s gone, because the team sure will. I would start giving him the proper respect he deserves while you still can – until then, I have a hard time even considering you fans of this team. Because if you were as good of fans as you think you are, you would know how important he is and quit your bitching. Or at least throw the same criticisms at other players who’ve done the same. I wonder if you thought the same when Kris Versteeg took two penalties in game 4 of the Western Conference Final in 2009 against Detroit? You probably don’t even remember it. I do. I don’t remember this reaction for it, though. Versteeg wasn’t benched. He remained on the team. They won a Cup. Sharp’s won three. And a gold medal. And he deserved one MVP.”

There you go. And again, I know he’s gone because of salary cap. I know it was down to “Do we keep Saad or Sharp?” and I know the right answer was Saad but they ended up with neither because of stupid. Once they traded Saad, trading Sharp was no longer acceptable. Bickell can be launched into the sun instead.

Moving on.

The main reason I’m having this problem is the well televised circus in the offseason revolving around Patrick Kane.

Now, I’m not intending to get that into the case itself or anything like that. This post isn’t here for some kind of debate about whether you think he’s guilty or not. This isn’t here for that – and any opinion defending Kane isn’t welcome here anyway. I wasn’t there and I can’t say for certain what happened, but rape is unacceptable and anyone who defends him can go to hell. Don’t give me your “Innocent until proven guilty” shit – we live in a culture where rape victims are more on trial that the ones who committed the crime. Don’t believe that or don’t agree with that? Tough shit. That’s not what this post is about and there will be no debate about it.

Patrick Kane may be an amazing hockey player and he may be on my favorite hockey team. He’s helped bring three Stanley Cups to Chicago in six years. But he is not my friend. Actually, even if he was it doesn’t matter. There is absolutely no defending it. Just because he’s on my favorite hockey team doesn’t mean he gets a pass when I, along with many others, dump on the likes of Mike Ribeiro of the Nashville Predators, Slava Voynov of the L.A. Kings, and Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche for similar offenses. (Not all of those cases are rape, but it doesn’t matter – a crime is a crime.)

I would love for concrete proof that nothing happened but that’s not the world we live in. He did something wrong and it’s his fault. And he got away with it. And management handled it terribly. There’s no reason Kane should have played while the case was still going on. I’m sorry but you don’t do something like this and just get to walk back onto the ice as if nothing happened. It’s the wrong message to send to other players and to fans. Sure, there are the moron fans who will defend Kane to no end because they’re misogynists and so on, but those are the fans you want nothing to do with anyway.

I know a lot of people who are no longer fans of this team for how they’ve handled this situation. Most of them people I follow on Twitter. I don’t blame them. I can’t do that. When it comes down to it, the people at fault here are Kane, and management for how they’ve handled it. In the end, I’ve always been a fan of the players on the ice and that’s it (Well, maybe the coach) – but no one else. When I say “Go Hawks!” I’m not rooting for management. They’ve done a good job with this team in almost all other areas not including how they handled this, but when I watch a hockey game I’m certainly not thinking “Yea you go Stan Bowman you’re great and you’re totally better than your father!” because I’m not delusional. So I remain a fan of the team because when it comes down to it, I can compartmentalize the issues I have with the team to one player on it and the management, so there’s only one player I’m actively annoyed by when I watch a game. Even then, I can’t knock him as a hockey player – what he did doesn’t make him anything less of an amazing hockey player. I can’t argue that he doesn’t deserve to be in the all star game based on his hockey skill because the voting should be based on how talented people are. (When you’re not voting in John Scott for the lulz.) The debate is whether he should be playing or not. And at this point, the case seems like it’s not going to go anywhere at all – I’m not sure there’s even been any real update in months – but before when it was being investigated, he should not have played. Really that’s all it is – I can’t expect anything more out of the Hawks than to suspend him when they should have. Legal action isn’t their business. All they had to do was suspend him and as far as I’m concerned, that absolves the team of any wrongdoing. Calling for them to trade him is difficult when he has a $10 million contract, and releasing him from the contract is not an option.

But now the team wins and I get excited, I quickly fall back into a state of disappointment or something because of this. The happiness from the victory is quickly deflated. I guess mainly it’s from the fact that what’s happened has alienated a big part of the fan base, and I can’t help but wish things were how they used to be. Seeing the people who loved the team a year ago now despise this is painful.

And I can’t say it doesn’t bug me when I see little kids, especially girls, in Kane shirts or jerseys. It bothers me having to argue with my dad about why one of my half-sisters shouldn’t be wearing a Kane jersey to a game.

I miss the days when the most vile part of the Hawks fanbase was the Crawford haters and not the Kane defenders. And I miss the days when the only thing that annoyed me about the people who now hate the team was thinking that the logo is racist which it isn’t (no Native American tribe is insulted by it, and if they aren’t, you have no right to be insulted for them.) I shouldn’t say that it annoys me that they no longer like the team – I don’t blame them for that – but I was comparing things they did that upset me, although for different reasons. (Drawing Blackhawks comics with their jerseys with no logo on it….)

And then of course Kane has the huge point streak which for any other player I would’ve been excited for, but because it was him I was just kind of indifferent.

I imagine this feeling will probably pass with time. But right now this has definitely affected my love for the team. Thankfully, I’m not just a Blackhawks fan – I’m a hockey fan in general. I’m not a fan of the Hawks because they are a team in Chicago, I love them because I love hockey and they play in Chicago. I also love the San Jose Sharks even though they perennially suck in the playoffs. I love the Toronto Maple Leafs even though they perennially suck. I love the Winnipeg Jets too because I still love Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. And I love the Dallas Stars for as long as they have Patrick Sharp and play awesome music like Finn Balor’s and Seth Rollins’ theme songs along with Shinedown and the Super Mario theme in their arena. I love the New York Islanders as long as they still do the Daniel Bryan “Yes!” chant after goals, and for as long as the accept that the best thing that will ever happen in that arena they play in is Sasha Banks vs. Bayley from NXT Takeover Brooklyn, no matter whether they win a Stanley Cup there in the near future or not. To a lesser extent, I love the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens, and Boston Bruins. Even somewhat the L.A. Kings. The only teams I truly despise right now are the St. Louis Blues and the Anaheim Ducks. Somewhat less the Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche. Dislike but respect the Detroit Red Wings. The Nashville Predators, Arizona Coyotes, New Jersey Devils, and Minnesota Wild gross me out. And the ultimate “MEH” is the Ottawa Senators because no one cares.

I guess that’s all for this post. I’m not sure what it accomplished but I felt it was necessary.

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