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The Malik Report

An open letter to Red Wings fans, regarding tonight’s Leaf Contingent

Dear Red Wings Fans,

I understand that some of you have "loser fatigue," and have chosen to stay away from Wings games because the team is not doing so well.

I also realize that the combination of a) "premium game" tiered pricing and b) the Wings' insistence that fans who purchase single-game tickets in the lower bowl purchase TWO lower-bowl seats mean that this going to this game was prohibitively expensive for the average fan.

However, the fact that the Maple Leafs' fans out-numbered and out-voiced Detroit's partisans by a wide margin is unacceptable.

There is no way in hell that any fan base should allow itself to replicate Jimmy Howard and Daniel Alfredsson being jeered in their own rink. This is not *#$%@& Ottawa. This is Detroit. We love our teams and we love our players, win or lose.

And this shit is simply unacceptable going forward. The next time Toronto comes to town, I don't want to read Red Wings fans who are at the game inform the world that they were openly harrassed, harrangued, trash-talked and generally disrespected without penalty at Joe Louis Arena.

Yes, the Red Wings defended their own damn honor, winning by a razor-thin 3-2 margin, but this was unacceptable, Red Wings nation, to get out-cheered by the Ample Fleas' incredibly obnoxious under-bridge-dwelling dicks.

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Comments

@TheJimP19's avatar

Well said !!!  this isn’t Nashville where the arena being half full of the opponent’s jerseys is the norm,  it was bullshit to hear those jeers and there’s a bunch of spoiled fans who say they root for the Red and White.

Posted by @TheJimP19 from transplanted in Nashville on 03/18/14 at 09:30 PM ET

Avatar

//but this was unacceptable, Red Wings nation, to get out-cheered by the Ample Fleas’ incredibly obnoxious under-bridge-dwelling dicks.//

Eloquently put, George! wink

Posted by catswithbats on 03/18/14 at 09:33 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

This is not *#$%@& Ottawa.

That’s not nice.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 03/18/14 at 09:36 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I LIKE OTTAWA. I LIKE SENATORS FANS except when we play them. I feel bad for the whole Habs-Leafs crapola. But we’re Detroit.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/18/14 at 09:47 PM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

Somehow my comment here got posted in the comments here. I don’t understand…

Posted by bleep bloop on 03/18/14 at 10:00 PM ET

Chet's avatar

The team is underachieving, meaning they ought to be the ones to make it easier for fans to get in. I would blame management, not fans.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 03/18/14 at 10:13 PM ET

Bent's avatar

Somehow my comment here got posted in the comments here. I don’t understand…

Did you open two articles in new tabs, log in to KK in the one you meant to post in, then post without checking the article?  KK seems to load the last article you opened after login, it has almost gotten me a few times too.

Posted by Bent from The U.P. on 03/18/14 at 10:20 PM ET

Avatar

Wings fans have turned into Atlanta Braves fans. Its pretty quiet at JLA most nights.

Posted by brians neck on 03/18/14 at 10:47 PM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

Did you open two articles in new tabs, log in to KK in the one you meant to post in, then post without checking the article?  KK seems to load the last article you opened after login, it has almost gotten me a few times too.

That’s probably it. Guess I’ll have to be more careful making sure I’m already logged in in the future.

Posted by bleep bloop on 03/18/14 at 10:54 PM ET

Avatar

It doesn’t help that it costs a lot more to go to the ACC than the Joe for a game. Couple that with the Leafs being competitive again and I’m sure you had a lot of folks getting tickets from Stubhub, etc. I would agree though that the atmosphere at the Joe this year has been subpar.

Posted by jpellek on 03/18/14 at 11:07 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

As I attempted to state, the Red Wings now have two fan-unfriendly policies that are helping opposing teams’ fans carve out sections of the Joe:

1. Obviously the “premium” pricing program for single-game tickets made this game so expensive that people who can usually afford to go to Wings games might not have been able to attend this one, while those who can’t afford to go to the ACC would find inflated Wings tix downright affordable;

2. And one of the biggest reasons that you’re seeing so many empty lower-bowl seats has nothing to do with people in the Olympia Club, nor corporate fan malaise: the new rule for single-game lower bowl tix is apparently that you have to purchase 2+ seats, not one, and that’s a big turn-off for the fan that wants to treat himself or herself to a $100+ seat and finds out that they have to pay $200+ to sit there.

The secondary market is so pervasive that there simply is no such thing as a sold-out event where every seat is occupied anymore, but it’s getting much more difficult to be a Red Wings fan who doesn’t have a partial season-ticket plan, especially if you want to take in a game against a marquee opponent.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/18/14 at 11:14 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

I was at the game tonight, and were outnumbered by Maple Leaf fans. Fortunately Red Wing fans had the last laugh. I know a few season ticket holders who use their tickets to make money for these premium games. Sad.

Posted by bigfrog on 03/18/14 at 11:30 PM ET

Avatar

The lower bowl was between 1/3 - 1/2 empty when they retired Nick’s number.  It was embarrassing.

Posted by SlimChance on 03/18/14 at 11:42 PM ET

Alan's avatar

It wasn’t pretty, but at least the good guys won, right?

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 03/19/14 at 01:03 AM ET

d ca's avatar

Okay…reality check for a few on here: 

I, like most people, don’t want to pay NHL prices to watch an AHL team play. How about a dynamic refund policy Olympia when more than half the team is missing…remember you were the ones that wanted dynamic pricing…we’ll there is a flip-side.

When the Wings are missing 31.897M in cap hits of a 64.3M cap…newsflash, it’s not the Wings playing Toronto…it’s Grand Rapids playing Toronto.

MIA are:
#8 Abdelkader
#18 Andersson
#71 Cleary
#13 Datsyuk
#50 Gustavsson
#43 Helm
#26 Jurco
#56 Pulkkinen
#37 Samuelsson
#90 Weiss
#40 Zetterberg
#22 Tootoo

I mean can they drive home that point any more by saying 11 Calder Cup Winners playing in Detroit while only 10 remain currently on GR’s roster.

..and to top it off another another 3.25M goes down for an extended period of time during the game…

Thanks, but those players can deal with a few boos at home…they get enough of the opposite treatment on the road..

Posted by d ca on 03/19/14 at 03:10 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

It’s not just about the fans dealing with boos. The Wings screwed up big time, too, because I was told from more than one person that a sizable contingent of Leaf fans were belligerent, pushed and shoved people, intimidated Wings fans and acted like boorish bullies while nothing was done by the ushers or security to keep the behavior civil.

People got literally and figuratively pushed around—people who spend a lot of money to watch their Wings—by a chunk of the Leaf fans who decided to take over the rink and treat EVERYONE poorly, and that isn’t right, either.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/19/14 at 03:16 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

The Wings fans #1 priority in attendance lately here is running out getting as many Miller Lite’s as they can keep down. When i hit the Joe I go to watch my beloved Wings, not overpay for rental fluids. I’m serious, more people show up late and leave periods early for the beer. Pay attention next time you folks are at the Joe…......if you arent one of the ones i speak of, that is. Cheer your damn team on for once. Most are spoiled(myself included) and we simply expect to win.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 03/19/14 at 05:45 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Who the hell can afford to go to a game anymore?  We just had a retirement here at the office, so we pooled our money together to get her and her husband tickets to a game.  15+ people pitched in and the best we could afford were 2 upper bowl tickets a couple of sections off center ice, for a game against Tampa for jeebus sake.

Ticket brokers, aka scalpers, are making it impossible to afford many events, including my beloved hockey.  And Congress has finally given into the lobbyists and introduced a bill to legalize scalping.  Just another flying fuch you from the US govt.

Posted by Hootinani on 03/19/14 at 07:14 AM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

newsflash, it’s not the Wings playing Toronto…it’s Grand Rapids playing Toronto.


So then, charge Griffins ticket prices $14-39.00

Posted by Rdwings28 on 03/19/14 at 07:35 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I don’t want to read Red Wings fans who are at the game inform the world that they were openly harrassed, harrangued, trash-talked and generally disrespected without penalty at Joe Louis Arena

That’s the ushers’ collective job to manage though.

Hell I don’t know. I live in Kansas. I’ve been to two Wings games this year and one of them was in Ann Arbor (The other was Nick Night, where the lower bowl was not 1/3-1/2 empty, but it was still more empty than I would have liked to have seen).

I’m part of the problem in that I don’t go to more Wings games.

But management needs to know the market and I think they’d do well to start doing things which foster more butts in seats rather than letting the secondary market dictate how full the Joe will be. I’d like it if the Joe were always completely packed with Wings fans, but seeing as I’m not being part of that solution, I find it hard to hold any ill will towards other fans who also aren’t showing up every game.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/19/14 at 07:41 AM ET

Avatar

Pot meet kettle, eh George, since you admitted to not being there.

Leafs fans have every right.  Just like Wings fans do in Phoenix and just about everywhere else the team plays in non-northern cities.  Stop whining for once.  Enjoy the victory and the fact that the Wings stuck it to those fans, who I severely doubt, as a whole, were nearly as rough and tumble as your weak-minded secondhand sources claim they were.

Posted by jkm2011 on 03/19/14 at 08:02 AM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

Who the hell can afford to go to a game anymore?  We just had a retirement here at the office, so we pooled our money together to get her and her husband tickets to a game.  15+ people pitched in and the best we could afford were 2 upper bowl tickets a couple of sections off center ice, for a game against Tampa for jeebus sake.
Ticket brokers, aka scalpers, are making it impossible to afford many events, including my beloved hockey.  And Congress has finally given into the lobbyists and introduced a bill to legalize scalping.  Just another flying fuch you from the US govt.
Posted by Hootinani on 03/19/14 at 08:14 AM ET

What the hell are you talking about?

Ticket brokers (or rather specifically, Stubhub) means that people can pay the market value for a game instead of what the team says the tickets are worth, being ‘premium’ or normal.  If you’re talking about the Tampa game coming up, you can get uppers from $30 and lowers from $92 each available in pairs.  If you think that is too much for ‘15+ people,’ maybe your office didn’t like your coworker all that much after all.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 03/19/14 at 10:00 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

As I attempted to state, the Red Wings now have two fan-unfriendly policies that are helping opposing teams’ fans carve out sections of the Joe:
   
    Posted by
          George Malik
     
    from South Lyon, MI on 03/19/14 at 12:14 AM ET

I don’t get what the Wings are thinking with this ^^^
My boycott of spending any money on the NHL has kept me from the Joe the last two seasons BUT if it wasn’t for their ridiculous ticket policies and no where to stay for free anymore (father in law, who lived in Hamtramck has moved back to Poland) I think it’s safe to say I would be at some of these Original 6 games confused

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 03/19/14 at 10:15 AM ET

Avatar

It’s not just about the fans dealing with boos. The Wings screwed up big time, too, because I was told from more than one person that a sizable contingent of Leaf fans were belligerent, pushed and shoved people, intimidated Wings fans and acted like boorish bullies while nothing was done by the ushers or security to keep the behavior civil.

So, basically they act like their team acts on the ice.

Posted by VPalmer on 03/19/14 at 10:34 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Tampa game coming up, you can get uppers from $30 and lowers from $92 each available in pairs

Paying $60 - $200 to see the Griffins? Have at it. The beer is cheaper at home. I’d gladly pay $60 to watch the high quality I’ve become used to over the last 20+ years. I’m not talking about watching winners. I’ve enjoyed games that ended in losses. I’m talking about elite level play, which Detroit is just not providing this year. If JLA is too full of blue sweaters, management really ought to reassess running some ticket promotions. This isn’t on the fans. It’s on the team.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 03/19/14 at 11:56 AM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

Paying $60 - $200 to see the Griffins? Have at it.

I’m not the one whining about prices being unaffordable and lawmakers ruining the American spirit of attending ticketed events with tickets sold directly from and ONLY from the eventholders rabble rabble etc. 

There’s many games you can pay less for; I think George’s assertion that it’s on fans who don’t want to attend a product that has been relatively poor all year, all while he wasn’t there himself either, is ridiculous.

But back to prices, when teams like Toronto, who have a ridiculously high demand for tickets (there’s not a single ticket for the remainder of the season for less than $85 on Stubhub), come to town, and Red Wings fans are never paying more than that for any game, it is natural that there would be a glut of Toronto fans in the stands and a lack of Wings fans, especially when the Leafs fans can make a roadtrip for less than they’d pay for one of their home game tickets.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 03/19/14 at 12:12 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Honestly and truthfully?  I don’t know that it’s just STH’s staying away.

Maybe it’s time the Red Wings acknowledge that it’s more than their fans in just the metro area that make them succeed.

I can’t afford to go to Wings games anymore.  In recent memory I have been to two playoffs games, and two reg. season games.  I’m sure to some of you that sounds stupid and lame (“only two each?”)  but… my wife and I aren’t doctors or lawyers or lawyer-doctors, we’re just regular people… and the economy still suuuuuuuuuucks, and we have a family to take care of.  So getting to go to the Joe is a treat, a splurge, and we don’t get many of those anymore.  We haven’t taken a family vacation in something like 6 years because it’s just not feasible for us.  Things are tight.  I lost ability to watch NBC Sports in HD because we had to switch cable providers to a more-reasonable one which at least still *has* it, but not available in HD.  Instead of Center Ice (which we had for a few years) I’ve had to go back to watching just whatever games are available nationally…

For example, the Wings have done Rush for cheap tickets before but…. you have to go to the Joe box office to get them.  I can’t do that.  I live hours away.  That’s stupid.

Maybe if the Wings gave fans from outside the metro area a chance at cheap tickets, even on short notice, they’d do better at drawing some butts into the seats, even if they’re only the cheap ones.

That extends to the way the Wings treat appearances for the rest of the state as well.  Abdelkader’s at Meijer in Royal Oak?  Great.  How about some time you have him appear outside the metro Detroit area?  How about Lansing, or Jackson?  Kalamazoo?  Grand Rapids?  Michigan is what it is for hockey NOT because of Detroit alone (and in some cases in SPITE of it), and there’s a certain hubris to their continuing to turn a blind eye to the fact that there’s more to the fanbase.  It’s irritating.

I know the ECHL Kalamazoo Wings have had this EXACT problem in the past, of having only a mindset of their city as their fanbase.  Once it dawned on them they had STH’s driving from hours away to come, they got a better idea of the outreach they needed to do.  It’s still not great, but at least they get OUT there more to the other communities (and it’s tougher for a pro minor club to do that, but it’s essential).  Effort is effort I guess.

The Red Wings for years skated by only needing to cater to a metro audience because of good times and on-ice success.  As success on-ice has slipped, economy has tanked, and quite frankly the pool of available populace has greatly decreased, it’s time for the org to remember “Oh yeah, we really need the fans in Traverse City and Muskegon and Sturgis and Bad Axe and Roscommon and Alpena and Marquette too”...

Posted by Primis on 03/19/14 at 12:15 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Maybe Jimmy D ought to re-evaluate his comments on 18,000 being the magic number to drive tix prices.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 03/19/14 at 12:36 PM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

When i hit the Joe I go to watch my beloved Wings, not overpay for rental fluids. I’m serious, more people show up late and leave periods early for the beer.

—- - NIVO from underpants gnome village.

Sorry for the fact that I don’t know anything(it’s because of my ignorance you see, the last time I was at the Joe it was nicknamed “Olympia” and was on a different street corner).

Besides the horrendously short sighted policies George informed me of, are you saying that there aren’t beer vendors covering the aisles like new fallen snow?

When I lived in Minnesota one of our Beer vendors was so famous and beloved that he did commercial endorsements merely showing his picture(no need to say his name because everyone recognized his face) and if you seemed to be of the imbibing-fraternity he would give you the baseball-card-like-thingy he had printed up by himself.

To this day I still have 8-9 Wally the Beerman cards, and dozens of stories about him.

Yes, reform the ticket-policies by all means but for all that is holy get some beer vendors in the joint. Red Wings fans shouldn’t have to get out of a seat and climb a flight of stairs to get a beer like they’re a bear or something. This is the 21st Century, dammit!

Posted by alwaysaurie on 03/20/14 at 08:37 AM ET

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.