We're all entitled to enjoy hockey in our own way. You pay your money and you're free to do whatever you want as long as you aren't really encroaching on everyone else's good time.
For me enjoying a game is usually spent leaning forward, analyzing every microsecond of the game, and muttering to myself like a possessed person speaking in tongues. Yes ladies, I'm single.
For the fan sitting next to me at the Red Wings vs. Kings game on Saturday, enjoying the game consisted of yelling the worst possible advice and analysis at the ice. If this fan was coaching the Kings, suffice it to say it would be a very different team.
Needless to say, I was doing my best to not turn to this fan and explain why everything that came out of their mouth was unequivocally wrong. Witnessing my pent-up frustration was enough to make my buddy go into hysterics, my face developing a nervous tic.
So to prevent my stockpiled anger from bursting out in the form of road-rage or some other ill-advised tirade, I will now correct all of this idiot's advice (if you recognize the face at the top of this article, you know who you are):
1. “Don't turn around, you know you're gonna get hit!” Idiot-fan would yell this when a defenseman, particularly Drew Doughty, would skate into his own end to retrieve a puck and look over his shoulder. What the fan doesn't know is that looking over your shoulder is universally lauded as the action of a smart defenseman. When you look over your shoulder you not only know who is coming, but how much time you have to make a play, and what that play should be.
2. “Skate with it!” Our fan would yell this every time a Kings player made a pass through the neutral zone. Every time. What this fan doesn't understand is that passing is pretty much essential to the game of hockey. That's why more than one player carries a stick. Moreover, passing the puck through the neutral zone spreads out the defense and allows for more offensive opportunities, making it harder for the defense to stand the attacking team up at he blueline.
3. “Get back in your net, idiot!” I love this one. Our fan would yell this whenever Quick left his net to play the puck. This one is slightly more understandable. The sight of a vacant net is unsettling to a nervous fan. However, a goaltender that knows how to play the puck is incredibly valuable. Often commentators will describe a strong puck-handling goalie similar to having a sixth skater on the ice. Besides, who is going to score on that empty net when the goaltender himself possesses the puck?
4. “Kopitar is useless.” Now it was getting personal. Although Kopitar had a lackluster performance on Saturday, this fan might like to note that he had 6 goals and 8 assists in the previous 8 games. I'll leave it at that.
5. “Put Wayne back out there!” Our fan was referring to Wayne Simmonds, who in their opinion did not get nearly enough ice-time. I understand a fan wanting to see more of their favorite player on the ice, however Simmonds can't handle another shift after just being on the ice for a full minute. He may get back out there, but he'll most likely be sucking wind, then pulling the puck out of his own net.
6. “Stab him in the chest with your skate!” Yep. That actually happened.
7. “Shoot the puck!” Ah yes, good ol' “shoot the puck”. This can be yelled in many different ways. Most common now is the ironic “shoot the puck”, yelled as a joke to draw a laugh. However, idiot-fan was yelling it in all sincerity whenever the Kings had the puck in the attacking zone. I can sit here and explain all of the instances in which the Kings did not shoot the puck and why, but I'll settle for one. When Brad Richardson skates the puck up ice on the penalty kill while his team is in mid-shift change and has 2 defensemen in front of him blocking the net, if he shoots the puck and it goes off one of their skates it's an odd-man rush going the other way. This would probably result in a goal-against. Brad is trying to kill time, not throw a weak shot through 2 defenders from an odd angle from 50 feet out. Sorry, ain't gonna happen.
Hopefully this guide was of use to you, fan that I am referring to. If you need any more advice, feel free to e-mail me as I will be doing my best to never sit next to you ever again.
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney