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Abel to Yzerman

JLA Not The Barn It Used To Be

Earlier today I posted a blurb from a new blog called Hot Oil. Alanah, the writer from H.O, essentially called out Wing fans and said that if Detroit truly deserved the title of "Hockeytown" fans wouldn't be leaving midway through the third, staying silent during a game against the team that gave us the Punch In The Face and pretty much sleeping through an exciting, hard-hitting contest. Care to argue with her? Check out the comment to that post from O-Joe. He says he can't, literally, give tickets away to Wing games this year. You want to blame the lockout? Go ahead. Blame the first round losses? Sure.

Heck, we can even lay the blame on the media if you want.  Why not? We’ve got columnists writing garbage like this:

Detroit News/Terry Foster

The Red Wings are no longer one of my guilty pleasures. I have not watched an entire game since the playoffs last season. I watch Dancing with the Stars more often than the Wings.

I don’t know if you are like me. But there is so much competition in my every day life that if something slips off the plate it does not get back on easily.

Now that the Tigers are done I might check out more Red Wing games. Of course if they are up against Dancing with the Stars, all bets are off.

Now, Foster’s a tool.  That much is certain.  But, when you have columnists from one of the two big papers saying he’s no longer interested in a Detroit sports franchise?  It’s not so much that he said it, but that he felt secure enough to say it and know the reaction would be mild.

Not from the fans.  Hopefully, that irritated you.  But, the mild reaction I’m referring to is that of the Ilitch organization.  They couldn’t care less.  Why should they?  Season tickets are gobbled up, not at the rate they once were…but there’s no danger of not selling seats.

George Malik touched on the Wing machine apathy a few weeks ago, and I’m not going to repeat all that he wrote.  But this passage hit home.

The Joe used to be an intimidating, rocking rink, and now it’s one of the quieter barns in the NHL.  Clearly, they’re having trouble filling the stands in a terrible Michigan economy—why spend $55 for an upper-bowl seat, $8 for parking, and $30 for food when you can get the same bang for your buck by sitting at home?  Why cough up a pre-lockout prices to bankroll a team that has half the salary, and in the eyes of so many of us Wings fans, half the talent of the mighty, free-spending Red Wings of old?

George also mentioned the Wing website.  How difficult is it to keep it current? Aren’t there interns on staff who grew up with HTML the way I grew up with Speed Racer?

Hey, did you know Steve Yzerman is still the captain? Take a look.

Did you know Nick Lidstrom is a 3-time Norris winner?  Yep.

And I suppose you’re aware Pavel Datsyuk hasn’t won the Lady Byng.

But don’t lay it all on the geeks falling behind on web development.  The Red Wings Organization is so arrogant that they feel community involvement is no longer something they need to bother with.  Oh sure, you’ll see the occasional autograph session, and we can expect they’ll make their annual trip to the children’s hospital.  But, let me show you something.  Check this out.

The Daily Tennessean

The defensemen were participating in Predators Community Day, a day of service where nearly every member of the team made an appearance in Middle Tennessee and took part in activities ranging from haircuts to “Hello, may I take your order?”

The idea was to expand on the normal team participation events by making it a day-long experience with opportunities for fan interaction at a variety of locations.

“Our fans are the backbone of our success,” forward Jordin Tootoo said. “They are like our seventh man. They appreciate it as much as we appreciate them coming out. Overall it is a great thing for everyone.”

Revolutionary thinking?  Not quite.  But when compared to the Wings it’s ground breaking. 

Community events will get ‘em in.  But, it’s the experience that will bring ‘em back.

Anyone hear the Johnny Cash tune at the Joe last night?  That’ll get ‘em out of their seats.  And hey, did you know that when the NHL increased the duration of tv timeouts they sent a memo to each team recommending they make best use of those extra minutes to push human interest features on their players over the big screen?  You may not realize it, because the Wings decided not to produce any.  Last night the JLA crowd was treated to a vignette on Tomas Vokoun’s passion for cooking.

It’s an age where creativity is required to bring new fans to the game, and keep jaded fans coming back.  Most teams are doing what they can to accomplish those two goals.  The Wings are not “most teams.”

So, if you’re leaving early, staying home, staying silent or taking your sweet time to get back to your seats after the intermission…who can blame you?  Not me.  I blame the Wings.

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com

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