This season I've been able to follow the Blackhawks to a couple of road games. What I decided would be nice way to commemorate each of those trips was to buy a t-shirt for the host team at each of those games. I know there are certain rivalry rules and such, but I haven't made it to St. Louis, Detroit, or Vancouver yet, and even then I don't really hate any of those teams as much as I generally enjoy hockey. Just wearing the shirt of an NHL team is enough justification for me.
Some teams, it's already pretty well set in stone which player I would support with a t-shirt purchase. Calgary would obviously be Jarome Iginla, because who else is even on the Flames? The same goes for Rick Nash of the Blue Jackets (looking at your schedule and seeing a game coming up against Columbus is the only time any respectable hockey fan will be disappointed by a BJ looming on the horizon. That includes you too, ladies- though I'm not sure this is what the Dali Lama had in mind when he said you had to give love to receive love).
The first game I went to was in Carolina. I had long ago decided to buy the Cam Ward shirt, as I've always enjoyed watching him. The fact that he completely owned the Hawks in that game was unfortunate, but I decided it had little to do with my purchase, and considering the fact that he's on an Eastern Conference team, his Hawk owning days were over for the year, so no concerns.
Recently, I also did the West Coast swing with the Hawks, catching games in Anaheim, Phoenix, and LA. LA was an easy choice- Drew Doughty (though I was disappointed they didn't have any in purple. I only have about a half million black shirts). I like to keep my Team Canada Keith shirt, my Seabrook jersey, and the Doughty shirt close together in the closet and imagine them having some kind of battle while I'm at work. Thanks Trixie.
Phoenix was another easy choice- Shane Doan. As a Hawk fan, I found myself frustrated by watching him play my team, but not to the point that I felt he was dirty or over the line. He seemed like the kind of player you'd love if he was on your team (without the inherent douchiness of a Kesler). Plus I know Toews had mentioned Doan as a role model when they played together for Canada in the World Championships, so if he's good by Captain Serious, he's good by me. (This one I had to order online, as the selection in the arena was more limited. The green shirts for St. Patrick's day were fairly amusing, though I can't imagine why anybody who even remotely likes hockey would want to wear an "O'Bryzgalov" or "O'Doan" or "O'Upshall" t-shirt. Swing and a miss, Coyotes marketing department).
The first stop on the trip, Anaheim, was where the conflict happened. For starters, in the arena the only two shirts I could find were Parros and Getzlaf. I couldn't justify the Parros shirt because A) He only plays about one more minute per NHL game than I do and B) if I'm going to spend money supporting someone who looks like a bad 1980's porn star, it's probably going to be by purchasing bad 1980's porn. As for Getzlaf, I know that he's talented, but he just bugged me in the Olympics. The stats show he had a strong tournament, but I never really noticed him doing much besides screw up (and score goals. Unless CNBC didn't show them). It could be because he was wearing #51 for a team predominately wearing red, and my UC seats are near too many people who think any combination of 1, 5, and red is worthy of boos.
Before the trip, I was considering going with the Wisniewski. Not because he was a savior in Chicago or anything, but because he seemed, at the time, like a decent dude, and likely wouldn't be a Duck by the end of the season anyway. Then he took a run at Seabrook all the way from Angels Stadium, so I decided that would be a bad idea. I also taught a 7 year old girl a few new words to use in reference to the Wizard of Newski. I'd apologize to her mom, but I bought those tickets on Craigslist, so she's lucky I wasn't getting a handjob at the time (I forget what the rules were when I signed up here. Am I allowed to say handjob?).
I've also been a fan of Jonas Hiller for a while, who seems to own the Hawks in a way Cam Ward could not even dream of. Outside of those 4 games a year where he asks the Hawks who their daddy is, Hiller's fun to watch.
So I guess here is where I need your opinions, from Hueylovers and fans of Finding Uncle Nemo alike- is it wrong to support a player who consistently makes the Hawks look ridiculous, or is it OK because he at least plays a position where cheap shots are minimal? And for future reference, even though his play was nowhere near as dirty as Wiz's, would it be wrong of me to buy an Ovechkin shirt when I eventually make the trip to Washington (bearing in mind that it might increase in value next season when Kyle Beach eats Ovechkin's heart at center ice)?
Thanks for your time. The future of the world rests in your hands.*
*Only applies if your job somehow involves saving the future of the world. Probably not applicable if you work at Kinkos or something like that.