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Wednesday, October 21

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Blackhawks Fri Mar 08 2013

Hawks Fans Shouldn't Care About Non-Hockey Lovers

Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.pngThis week, ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith got on the wrong side of Blackhawks fans everywhere with the following comments.

"Excuse me ... it wasn't 21 games. It was really an 8-game streak. There are three ties. I'm sorry, that doesn't count.

"I'm not into the tie business. This isn't soccer. OK?

"And and and and and and the hockey stuff, I'm sorry, I'm not buying it.

"Not only that: If you go to the overtime you get a point. If you win the game, you get a couple of points. I'm sorry, you want a cookie? Last time I checked, when you take to the ice, it's to actually win. It's not to tie. So I don't get all of this stuff. Hockey's clearly all about points, because if you go to overtime 20 times you get 20 points. I don't understand that. You either win or you lose in sports.

"When the Stanley Cup champion is crowned, is it because of a tie? No, it's because of a win."

That was Smith's take on the Blackhawks record-setting streak.

Those words infuriated Blackhawk fans. So much so that some of them went to social media to voice their displeasure with Smith for being dismissive about their beloved hockey club.

Hockey fans are a special breed -- especially Blackhawks fans. The team's fan base has been begging to get out the shadow of the Chicago Bulls for years. Now the team is getting the attention that nobody has ever seen when it comes to hockey. The Blackhawks have been the lead story on ESPN's SportsCenter for the past two weeks along with the Miami Heat, who are on a win streak of their own. Both sides have even sent friendly tweets each other's way.

I don't understand why the words of someone who clearly knows very little about hockey could infuriate such a passionate fan base that has so much going on right now. As soon as the team loses, all of this attention will disappear. Even Wayne Gretzky knows the streak is good for the growth of the sport.

Is Smith to blame? Probably. As someone who is a career sportswriter, a lot more facts than fiction should be expected from him. Look at what he said. A quick Wikipedia search could have helped him out.

Is ESPN to blame is any way? Yes. They put Smith out there knowing that he knows little about hockey. The segment was clearly scripted. One would hope forward-thinking sports fans can see what was going on there. It's what these people do: generate debate. Did Blackhawks fans think that everyone was going to say something positive about the team? Not everyone cares about hockey. That's the truth.

If ESPN's resident hockey expert Barry Melrose was dismissive of the Blackhawks win streak, that would be a bigger story.; simply because Melrose is a hockey savant. Why get bent out of shape about someone who admits to having a minimal amount of hockey knowledge?

Blackhawks fans, enjoy what is going on now. Take everything that's going on with a grain of salt because none of it is going to matter if the team comes up short in the Stanley Cup Finals.

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