The Enthusiasm Gap in Person, Part 2: Going to Devils/Rangers after seeing Knicks/Nets

Hockey photos are awesome.  Welcome back to your normally scheduled “Puck the Media” lifestyle.  It was a rough week, and we thank all the great people that substituted for us while we were busy.  We’ll try and not let it happen again.

We celebrated the end of the week on Friday night by having a really awesome day with one of our friends.  We decided we were going to get Devils/Rangers tickets.  As broke college students, that’s really hard to do.  So we thought, and we thought, and we decided on the $10 tickets the Devils sell to 200 lucky people with nothing better to do fans two hours before each game.  The day was set.

Except, you see, when the Devils and Rangers play, both fanbases turn it up a notch.  So getting these 5PM tickets (7PM faceoff) would be a battle of wills and an argument over what time to get to the arena.  We voted 11AM.  The day was set, yet again.

I woke up at about 11:30 AM the next morning.  Annoyed that I had missed my personal deadline, we went down to the arena, and got there, and had food, by about 1PM.  There were about 15 people in line ahead of us, and the queue quickly filled up behind us.  By 3PM, we had wristbands guaranteeing us tickets to the game.

Enough, however, about our fabulous day.  Let’s get on to the game and the game experience, and how it compares to our recent trip to Nets/Knicks game.

Before we go on, it should be noted, Nets/Knicks is not half the rivalry Devils/Rangers is.  Neither team has ever really been good at the same time.  The Nets fanbase isn’t particularly passionate in general, and the Knicks fans have never felt the disdain for their cross-river rivals that the Blueshirt backers do for the Devil disciples.  

But, well, it is a divisional game, and the teams are five miles apart, and it is that whole New York/New Jersey thing, so it should at least be exciting?

To be frank, it was really, really tame.  Not as tame as our last experience with the Nets, but a different kind of tame.  It was really polite.  Both fanbases cheered when their team scored, and there were no derisive chants toward fans or players on either team.  The Knick fans waited ’till the game was in hand to even start a “Let’s Go Knicks” chant.

It just felt too nice.  My hockey brethren did not fail me on Friday.

For those of you who didn’t check it out, this game was incredible and tons of fun to see in person.  Here’s what it looked like on TV:

Easily the most goals I’ve ever seen scored in an NHL game.  Also, a really tense game.  Both fanbases got into it.  The “Let’s Go Devils” and “Let’s Go Rangers” chants were prevalent.  The Devils celebrated with the “Hey!  You suck!” twist on “Rock N’ Roll, Part 2” after each goal.  The Rangers fans did an a capella rendition of that idiotic post-goal song they have, which I sure hope doesn’t have a name.  If it does, and you know it, you have far more time on your hands than I do.

It got mean, too.  A gentleman in a Brian Leetch t-shirt was wearing a turtleneck.  The Devils fans thought it funny, and started chanting “Turtle!”.  At about 4- and 5-1, the “Hennnnnnnriiiiiiik” serenade began.  A metrosexual Ranger fan was decried “Ryan Seacrest!”.  The Rangers felt the man who dances around at Devils games and throws T-shirts to the crowd was a rip-off of someone they apparently call “Homo Larry”.  When, the Rangers tied the game at 5, a man brought out the “You can’t beat us!” chant, which of course is appropriate to yell when a game is TIED.  When the Devils succintly scored to make it 6-5, the “Hey!  You Suck!” was pointed at him by about two sections.

And we’re not even into Sister-in-law and Sean Avery-related humor.  We prefer not to.  We’re pretty sure you’ve heard all of those jokes.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it was vile.  Disgusting.  Offensive.  Loud.  Vulgar.  Annoying, and all in all, enough material for a thesis paper on the de-evolution of the 21st Century male (and female).

And I’d do it again 20 more times rather than watch another “polite” Nets/Knicks game.

We’re sure that “The Enthusiasm Gap” doesn’t exist nationally.  We’re guessing Laker fans are much more excited about the NBA than Kings fans are the NHL.  Ditto in a few other cities.  But in this very large portion of the country, it is there, folks.  There is an apathy for the NBA that I don’t think I’ve seen before.  It has disappeared in the papers and call-in shows as much as the NHL has, to the point where it’s a baseball/football only region.

But there are certainly more diehard hockey fans right now in New York and New Jersey than there are basketball fans.  Our visit to The Rock on Friday proves this.

4 Responses to The Enthusiasm Gap in Person, Part 2: Going to Devils/Rangers after seeing Knicks/Nets

  1. Eric says:

    The song is called Slapshot.

    Wasn’t that hard to find.

  2. Gary says:

    The Devils have been very successful over the past 15 years (to a much greater degree than the Nets have been) but the New York media doesn’t give them as much coverage as the Rangers – so I think that helps build the rivalry. The Devils have to fight for more coverage, while the Rangers have extensive media coverage by default. The same thing happens to the Nets, but for the Devils it seems a bit more pathetic (because of the lack of acknowledgment of their 3 cups in the past 15 years)

    If the Nets had as much success as the Devils, the Knicks/Nets rivalry would be much more intense. I’m not a big basketball fan, and the Rangers/Devils rivalry is much more storied – but I think a lot of the passion is due to the less popular team having playoff success. And the Rangers organization was struggling, but they always held the upper hand on the ice over the Devils.

    I’m a Ranger fan, and have a bunch of friends that are Devil fans, and we all agree that even though the Devils won 3 cups – no one seems to care in the media.

  3. stevelepore says:

    Well, I think that’s more of a hockey problem in general. Tom Gulitti’s Devils blogs has the most hits of any Record Sports Blog. I think that’s more the NHL’s respect level than that of the Devs.

  4. And if you missed it, Devils fans were chanting “We just beat you” to the tune of “You can’t beat us” at teh end of the game …

    Heartbreaking game. If only the Ranger defense cared as much as we did …

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