Do you think exposure to social media and these kinds of forums let's him understand what it's like to be a Devils fan from New Jersey and how our rivalry with the Rangers extends way off the ice? How for a lot of people it goes beyond "there are a lot of annoying Rangers fans around"? No. Absolutely not. There are a ton of amazing fans from all over the place on here, but I think if you ask most of our fans from Norway, Brazil, the Maritimes, Russia, wherever, they're going to understand that this rivalry is largely geo-cultural and they probably don't understand it enough to insult it. The same way fans of European soccer over here can be as die-hard and rabid as anyone, but your average West Ham fan born and raised in Jersey will never really understand their rivalry with Millwall. Sure, they can hate Millwall, because that's their team's rivalry, but imagine someone from here trying to say things like "Millwall hasn't played in the top level of English soccer for however many years, you guys are all stupid for hating them".
What do Yankees-Red Sox have to do with Devils-Rangers? The idea that Yanks-Sox is the quintessential American sports rivalry is pretty outdated. It's pretty much a marketing tool at this point. But, when the rivalry still had some life, Yankees fans chanted "1918" all the time. Yankees fans were openly threatened in even safe, touristy areas of Boston. Regardless, rivalries don't fit a single mold. Devils-Rangers is an organic rivalry driven by the fans and historical and cultural context. Sports are about rivalries. If you wanna go back to the topic of European soccer, something people point at as the ultimate fan support anywhere, they name their supporters groups in the context of their biggest rivals. Every fanbase has multiple offensive chants and songs against their biggest rivals that they sing in streets and bars, forget games that their rival isn't involved in. So, do I think what is probably our oldest fan tradition is the result of an "inferiority complex"? No. Probably because the first time I heard it growing up, we were perennial cup contenders. I think it's a great tradition, and I never want to see it go away. It's something that gives character to hockey in the area, not just in Jersey. It illustrates a real, intense rivalry.
And if you think the Devils have a disproportionate level of dumb fans, you haven't spent a lot of time around other fan bases. The Devils fan base, likely due to the fact that even within our own state we're not extremely popular (due to the NHL still not extremely popular in the area), is one of the smartest ones in hockey. It's not the thing to do to buy a Devils hat and catch a game on Friday nights. Every idiot in Toronto and Pittsburgh and here and there think they're hockey experts because it's the thing to do. Most Devils fans spend time to learn the game and follow the team most nights.
What the hell does it matter that you got scored on after that? You should be vocally supporting your team when you're down 4 and the game's over.
A pattern I'm seeing with you is that rivalries for you are the interpersonal spats you get into with fans of another team. You put all of your energy into finding ways to win verbal arguments with your Canadien fan coworkers or whoever. I don't care about going after Rangers fans and listing the reasons my team is better. I am a fan of one team because I am from place A., and you're a fan of another team because you're from place B. Sports in this country are cyclical, and for all the success we have, you're gonna have it down the line. I'm not spending my time trying to formulate one liners for when Rangers fans tell me "the Devils have no fans". If I get into a disagreement with a fan of a rival team, I tell them to go fvck themselves and go on my way.
I hate the Rangers. I hope nothing but failure for their organization on and off the ice, I hate just about every Rangers fan I've ever met and hope them nothing but misery (regarding their hockey team), and especially in the playoffs, I actively cheer against them. But do I, as you like to say, spend more time hating the Rangers than I do supporting the Devils? I spend every game day scrambling to find a stream to watch or use all my data listening to the game on my phone. I cheer out loud for every goal, winning or losing, last place or in a playoff spot, and I'm usually by myself. So the answer is no. Am I glad that I see the Rangers lost last night when I turn on NHL Network the next day? Yup. Do I think it's over the top for fans to customize "Rangerssuck" jerseys and flip off Rangers fans in public? Nope.
And you know what, I happen to agree with you that a lot of those facebook groups are total garbage, and the worst of the worst active fans end up on those facebook groups. I was in one once, left it almost immediately, and never joined another one. So don't think you gain a thorough understanding of this fan base through social media outlets, because you absolutely cannot. Spend some time down here when you can. Get to as many games as you can. Come and see what it's like to be a Devils fan down here before you go after our crowd and rivalries. Hell, I'll even go to a game with you.
GIVE IT A REST