Saturday, August 21, 2010
Eastern Conference: a preview of all 15 fan bases. the top 8 will be narrowed down in bracket form to see who has the toughest fan base in the east. the winner of the east will face the winner of the west to see which teams fan base would ultimately win a battle royale amongst the NHL fans.
Atlanta Thrashers: By taking a look at the Thrashers fan group called the "Nasty Nest", we can draw many conclusions. One, they like Carp and Potatoes. Any time people bring a politely sitting dog to a gathering, they are coming in peace. If a battle broke out between fans, it doesn't appear that the Thrashers contingent would come out on top.
Boston Bruins: Any fan base in the Northeast immediately scores points due to the cold winters they have to endure. Beyond that, the New England fan base spreads many miles through many states. They have power by numbers. They travel well as many Bruins fans can be found at opposing arena's. One fan stole Alex Kovalev's stick right out of his hand from the stands. The only negative we can find about the Bruins fan is this photo where Leafs fans are celebrating a goal in Boston only to see the Bruins fans do nothing. Overall, the Bruin fan is not someone to mess with as the brotherhood of fans will back each other up and ultimately make you pay a price. The Bruin fan should be a playoff team.
Buffalo Sabres: Another Northern team where fans endure cold and tough winters and have nothing else positive to live for. The Buffalo Bills suck and no other professional sports teams reside in the area. Indoor Lacrosse doesn't count. The Sabre fan has always supported the team and the blue collar work ethic and dedication shown by the fans usually translates to a hard working team on the ice. Sabres fans are among the most loyal and toughest fans around. They will fight to the death and have trained in the cold to be able to handle tough battles.
Carolina Hurricanes: As with most warm weather climate teams, the location of the Hurricane's home rink will hurt their toughness. Anyone can be tough while driving a NASCAR, but can these guys and girls get dirty when the Sabres fans come looking for blood? The Hurricanes have won a Stanley Cup in their brief history which gives there group a reason to keep fighting when the odds are against them. However, anytime your tailgating crew looks to have the average age of 60 and this kid represents your toughest fan, you have problems.
Florida Panthers: The most southern team in the NHL has fans that rather go tanning on the beach then show up to a hockey game. We can't blame them however as management has failed them time and time again to commit to winning. As with most teams in the Miami area, the fans will come out when the team starts to win. If a fight breaks out in downtown Miami, not enough troops would show up to back up the Panthers name.
Montreal Canadiens: Perhaps the most populous fan base, the Montreal Canadien fan is no joke. They will show up in gigantic numbers and travel anywhere to represent their team. Their weaknesses are cockiness and a feeling of invincibility. While the Habs fan army might be the largest, they sometimes don't take their opponent seriously. A surprise fan base could slay this dragon if the Canadien fan isn't careful. While we have great respect for the fans of the Canadiens, they have shown to brush off the voice and spirit of other up and coming fan bases.
New Jersey Devils: Have you ever been to a game in New Jersey? If not, trust us that you will be the loudest person there. The Soprano's persona of New Jersey hasn't made it's way to the Prudential Center and was nearly always absent from the Meadowlands. For a team that has had as much success as anyone, the Devil fan seems complacent to brag about Brodeur and Parise and not worry about the Ranger fan going after their head. They are also a small fan base in numbers and we worry the Devil fan would die a quick death.
New York Islanders: For a team that has stunk since 1993, this fan base has as much heart and fight in them as anyone. They can take other fan bases by surprise with their unity, passion and blue collar work ethic and desire. The Islander fan is tired of being the laughing stock of the league and will use negative comments directed at them as fuel to bring you down. The Islander fan travels better than average keeping other fan bases off guard with their numbers. Their weaknesses include several fans who enjoy going to the Hamptons rather than fight with the rest of the fan base. All in all, the Islander fan should find themselves in the postseason unlike their on ice product and will give any opponent a good fight.
New York Rangers: Any team whose fan base shows up to games wearing suits and in their history had fan beaten with their own shoe by an opposing player doesn't give them much credit. However, the Ranger fan spreads over many miles, strong in numbers and is as loyal as any in the league. However when it comes to toughness, the shoe incident will never be forgotten.
Ottawa Senators: The Senator fan is a sleeper. Going into the home of the Senators wearing an opposing jersey is not an easy task. You will get ripped by kids, woman, children, adults, ushers. It's no joke in there. The only slight weakness is that the people of Ottawa are decent human beings and don't have the killer instinct needed to take out the leagues toughest. However, come playoff time, the Senator fan should hold down a spot.
The preseason favorite to come out of the East. The Flyer fan is not only big, mean, rugged and travels with many friends, it is also an asshole. If the Flyer fan could bring death to any other fan in it's way, it would. The Flyer fan has cornered members of this website in a Canadian bar threatening our health. Why? Because we were rooting for the Carolina Panthers to beat the Eagles in Toronto. Seems reasonable. The Flyer fan will do whatever it takes to make sure it is known as the toughest around. A tough match for any fan base to take on. The Flyer fan is the favorite for the #1 seed heading into the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Another fan base with tough roots are the fans of the Penguins. This fan base from the steel city endured many years of poor on ice product and a very serious threat of re-location. However Penguin fans come out on top as they witnessed their team win a Stanley Cup. The Penguin fan is strong in numbers and will always defend their city and team. They will not attack unless provoked but are easily set off with comments regarding Sidney Crosby. The Penguin fan will protect their Captain like he is the God of all Gods. The Penguins should find themselves in a playoff spot and with their experience of dealing with adversity, could be a fan base to watch.
Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning fan street cred is dwindled with the fact that they are a southern team. The Lightning fan supports it's home team at home but doesn't travel well and is less passionate about their team then most spots in the Eastern Conference. They do show up in numbers however and is the NHL's equivalent to Switzerland. They worry about themselves and really find themselves in many fights.
Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs are arguably the strongest fan base in numbers in the NHL. The Canadiens might be in that argument. The Leaf fan will travel well and travel in big numbers to let their voice be heard. However, most Leaf fans you will encounter are friendly and the white collar type who goes to games wearing suits and has no interest in fighting. That doesn't make them bad, as they have one of the best fan bases in sports, but it just makes them bad in this competition. Go Leafs Go!
Washington Capitals: Before Alex Ovechkin, we weren't sure if the Capitals even had fans. Now all of a sudden since they are good, the fan base has resurfaced. The Capital fan is about as stable as Washington DC is itself and another streak of poor play will have fans not showing up once again. The Caps fan will show up at home games but might not be willing to go the extra mile for the team and fans alike. It might be another year or two before we can take the Capital fan seriously as part of this competition. More consistent support is needed.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Over the next week, Hockeysureshot will break down who has the toughest and weakest fans in the NHL. We will rank each teams fans from 1-15 in each Conference and then do a head to head playoff to see which NHL team has the toughest fans. What do you think? Any stories you want to share about visiting an away arena wearing your home teams sweater? Or do you think that your team has the toughest fans. Let us know.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Last week we wrote about the fact that we thought Maple Leafs defensemen Tomas Kaberle would not be traded and we also predicted a ridiculous trade rumor would come out of Toronto as well. Turns out that yesterday's midnight deadline to trade Tomas Kaberle without his no-trade clause kicking in passed by with no sufficent offers that met Brian Burke's demands. The ridiculous trade rumor of the week was that the Kings were going to trade 24-year old captain Dustin Brown to the Leafs for the 32-year old Kaberle. Thankfully, TSN's Bob McKenzie squashed this outlandish report which listed the Kings beat writer, and very trusty, Rich Hammond as being the source. Totally untrue.
The fact is that Kaberle is still a Leaf for now and he will determine where or if he is traded this season before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. Perhaps all the recent comments through the media made by Brian Burke hurt his teams chances of getting a favorable return for his star defensemen. We understand the Maple Leafs receive more media coverage than any other team in the NHL, but is it wise to say too much to the press regarding his players? Everyone in the league knew Burke wanted to unload him so why would anyone offer up a substantial offer?
A week has gone by since an arbitrator ruled that the Kovalchuk contract circumvented the salary cap and he still remains unsigned. The Ottawa Sun reported that the Kings have contacted his agent yet again, but still all indications are that the Devils will get a deal done.
Speaking of the Devils, even with Kovalchuk they still could use an offensive defensmen. New Jersey is built to win now with Martin Brodeur being 38 years old, and Jason Arnott, Patrick Elias, Jamie Lagenbrunner, and Brian Rolston all over 34 years old. Wonder if Lou Lamoriello will make a serious offer for Kaberle once the Kovalchuk mess is cleared up?
The Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks seem to be set for next year on defense after signing Nick Boynton to a one-year contract contract. With Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook leading the way in addition to Hjalmarsson, Campbell, Hendry, and Boynton the Hawks look solid in front of new goalie Marty Turco. Despite all their off-season loses, the Hawks are still the favorite to win the Western Conference.
Finally, since it's been two months since the last hockey game, we are thrilled to point out that training camps start in less than one month. In the coming weeks we will take a look at what rookies will have an impact for the upcoming season.