During the Devils Stanley Cup runs, I always noticed the occasional Rangers fan or two walking around town wearing their NYR hats or T-shirts, and in a way, I secretly admired their tenacity.
So lately my boy (he's 5) and I have been wearing our Devils gear -- mostly T's, sometimes a hat -- a little bit more often than usual. It's sort of a subtle message to all the Rags fans in the area, letting them know: Hey, remember, we are here. Sure, you (Rags fans) are showing your numbers now, all proud because your team is doing well, but don't get any false allusions. We (Devils fans) are still here, we are always going to be here, and you are always going to be reminded that you don't own these (N.J.) towns anymore. Enjoy your little run now, but keep in mind that it isn't 1981. It is 2014, and this is Devils country, and it always will be Devils country.
October 8, 1982, Brendan Byrne Arena. In the Devs second game ever, the Devils beat the Rangers 3-2 for the Devils first win ever. Chico Resch and John Davidson were in nets. The crowd was back and forth the whole game. I was one month shy of my 14th birthday. My father dropped me and my friend off at the arena and picked us up after it was over. I was a Devils fan right from the start. My buddy was a Rangers fan. We sat in the upper bowl, one section over from where the Rangers broadcast crew was announcing the game. In between periods, I walked over and got Phil Esposito's autograph. I didn't care that he was a Rangers great. He was an all-time great famous ex-hockey player. I still have the game program and my ticket stub (from Tele-Charge, I think).
Even though this is entirely Kovalchuk 's decision, I can't help but be pissed again about that dumb lockout.
At the time, some were saying that by letting it go on so long, the league was taking a chance that the fans would get used to there being no hockey and would find something else to do with their time -- even when the game came back.
It turns out that maybe it was the players, too, who found something else to do -- or in Kovy's case, somewhere else that they'd rather be.
Whenever I get a chance, I also like to check out The Stadium Shop, nearby in Gateway One Plaza. They usually carry some interesting and unique Devils stuff. And their player T's are priced cheaper than at the Devils Den.
For me, my personal decision to boycott some games, it's just the principle of the thing.
It's a business. I get that. All I am saying is, OK, if they want my business, maybe they should work harder not to screw around with the season everytime the CBA expires.
I guess in a way maybe my aim is to "punish" the league, although that's not exactly how I think about it.
I understand all the boycotts very well might not make much of a dent in future league decisions. But who knows, maybe it will have some effect. All I can do is what feels right to me.
I am perfectly OK with not going or watching for the first 10 or so games, and not buying some more Devils gear -- and that is their fault that I feel that way. They conditioned me to feel that way. Normally, I would be all over the start to the season.
I do promise to you guys not to muddy up the GDTs with boycott talk. That's not why I'm doing it.
I respect most everyone's views on the matter, whether they feel as I do or not.
And then the players could have walked out on strike, which Fehr did in baseball. I'm not defending the owners but how can you expect them to agree to that when the same man who led the MLB players to strike is running the players union? That scenario would have been the only thing worse then canceling the entire season and the owners would have been insane to agree to something like that.
But the players didn't strike -- not this time, not last time, and not the time before that.
Three lockout in a row and many fans are still laying this largely on the players. I don't get it.