I was browsing Twitter dot com this morning when I came across Anthony Gargano’s opinion on the Las Vegas Golden Knights:
“It’s about real fandom.”
Hmm, alright, I disagree, but I’ll play along.
Sure, it’s not like Las Vegas hockey fans are desperate for the Stanley Cup. They haven’t been waiting since 1967, like Toronto fans. They aren’t St. Louis, Vancouver, Buffalo, or Washington, who have never won a title. They aren’t any of the eight other teams that joined the NHL after 1979 and still haven’t won a cup.
By the same token, I’d assume Flyers fans, who have been waiting since 1975, would at least be annoyed to see an expansion team cruising through the playoffs while enduring a slow rebuild under Ron Hextall and Dave Hakstol.
So if you wanna roll your eyes at Vegas’ success or say it’s “corny,” I get that. It’s corny that a brand new team comes into the league and rips off a bunch of wins while diehard fans of traditional hockey teams get to enjoy another first-round playoff exit.
But I’m not sure what fandom really has to do with anything. Is there some rule in place that you have to suffer through 20 years of losing before you’re allowed to win? Do you have to “pay your dues?” Do you have to endure a Joe Jurevicius or Rodney Harrison situation before Nick Foles comes along? It’s such a Philadelphia way of thinking, that a “low” must predate a “high,” and if it doesn’t, it’s somehow not authentic.
People have somehow twisted the Vegas story into a narrative that “this is bad for the NHL,” and I don’t know why that’s being tossed around. I find the story compelling. I’m watching the playoffs with more interest than ever before.