Red Wings Fans, You’re Out Of Line

Darren Helm talks to center Henrik Zetterberg
(Icon SMI)

At the conclusion of Wednesday’s game you watched as Nashville Predators’ captain Shea Weber slammed Henrik Zetterberg’s face into the glass. You witnessed a beloved and exceptional talent become the victim of a dangerous, gutless, and shameful act. You were understandably outraged by the incident. Concerned for the well-being of a key player to your team’s playoff advancement, you decried Weber’s actions as having no place in hockey. The assessment was valid. They don’t.

The insults and jeers sent Weber’s way immediately following the incident were, for the most part, acceptable. The assertion that the Preds’ leader was dirty, a disgrace, and the scum of the earth was expected. In that moment, he was.

The consensus of the hockey community seemed to be that Weber should receive a 1 game suspension for his reckless behavior (although some Red Wings fans were unrealistically calling for a series ban). When it was announced Thursday afternoon that he would go punished by only a $2,500 fine, again you were understandably upset. So was I.

Yet your outlet of those emotions, and the level of pure hatred you have expressed in the wake of the ruling is completely unacceptable. You have stooped to levels far lower than the incident you yourselves claim was so egregious in nature. It’s not just a small sect of you either. It seems to be the overwhelming majority, and that must change.

The number of online posts calling for retaliation is perhaps the most alarming. From message board discussions to meme creations, it has gotten out of hand. These posts aren’t merely calling for solid hits or perhaps a fight to take place. They wish great bodily injury upon Nashville Predators players, something I fail to understand.

From posts suggesting that Jonathan Ericsson should return the favor by slamming Alexander Radulov’s head into the board, to posts suggesting Todd Bertuzzi should recreate the infamous Steve Moore incident. It’s disgusting, and it must stop.

Todd Bertuzzi Detroit Red Wings memeIt is that last suggestion that gets me the most. You have welcomed Todd Bertuzzi to your team. You’ve watched him change as a player. You’ve seen the man behind the actions, and you’ve learned to forgive him for a momentary lapse in judgement. You’ve grown so akin to him that you’ll vehemently defend him from others. You know that choice in his past still haunts him today. My question is, where is the consistency?

If you can forgive Todd Bertuzzi for his actions, surely you can forgive Shea Weber for his? If you know Bertuzzi is better than his past, why would you suggest he return to it? It flat-out doesn’t make any sense.

As Red Wings fans we like to pride ourselves on the class and excellence of our team. None in the league are more respected than Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk. The players themselves have made this clear in the results of player polls conducted this season. Yet those very same attributes we brag about our team possessing, today we do not exemplify.

To accuse someone of being the worst kind of human for their actions and then suggest that your own team should commit the same error in judgement is both hypocritical and lunatic. To bring up a situation from the past that you often defend a player for and urge that it happen again is more shameful and disgraceful than words are capable of expressing.

To be upset at Shea Weber’s stupidity and the NHL’s ensuing decision is one thing, but this has long ago crossed the line from upset to raving insanity. To wish harm upon a player is disgusting and has no place in the Red Wings community. The answer to the situation is not revenge, and whether you like it or not it wont be answered in that way. Detroit is far above that kind of lack of discipline.

Whether you want to believe it or not, Shea Weber is not the worst human being to grace the face of the earth. He’s a hockey player who reacted strongly in the heat of the moment. Do I think he deserved a suspension? Absolutely. But what’s done is done. The league has made its ruling and there is no changing that. We can have civilized discussions about why that decision was wrong, but to suggest player retribution, or more realistically, encourage it, is wrong.

That is why we wanted the suspension in the first place, is it not? To signify that such actions were not okay, so that they don’t happen again?

Furthermore to get upset enough to turn on one of your own former heroes because he ruled in a way you didn’t agree with is a slap in the face to everything the Red Wings organization is supposed to be about. Yet it’s happening. Droves of Red Wings fans are disowning Brendan Shanahan for not laying down the law in a manner they feel appropriate. Even the promoters of all things Detroit and its heritage, popular clothing design business Down With Detroit, had the audacity to suggest the creation of a shirt reading “Ban Shanahan” (thankfully they thought better of it after fan input). The man won 3 Stanley Cups here, and you’re ready to sail him down river because of one ruling? Ridiculous.

You’re out of line, Hockeytown. You look foolish, hypocritical, and insane. I understand passion, but you must keep it in check. You must emulate your team on the ice in classy behavior, and you must rise above such childish rhetoric.

18 thoughts on “Red Wings Fans, You’re Out Of Line”

  1. Your intent with this article seems to be to incite Red Wings fans, something the true Red Wings fans won’t fall into. There is a reason Detroit doesn’t have an enforcer on the bench. We don’t need one because we don’t play that kind of hockey. We don’t have to, unlike other teams in the league. You aren’t going to shame any Wings fan for wanting some form of retribution for Weber’s deplorable behavior. Personally, I don’t think that a 1 game suspension would have been enough, and a $2,500 was definitely not enough, but it’s not my job to make those decisions and I don’t envy those who do. For a true Red Wings fan the best revenge was the win and knowing that we are coming back into a building where we are unstoppable.

  2. The difference between Bert and Weber, is Bert is truly sorry that his anger got the best of him. If weber honestly felt bad for what he did to Zetterberg he would offer an apology and maybe at the very least not reenact the incident with teammates during practice and get a hefty chuckle out of it. (I guess we should choose to ignor that huh?) Shea Weber has helped make a mochary out of the sport and the NHL. Zero tolerance headshot policy my ass, this disgusting behavior is what needs to be stripped from the game. Now due to the lack or response from the NHL fans in Nashville are reenacting in the stands. I guess the lesson learned is do whatever the F you want as long as the player doesn’t get hurt, you will only be fined pennies.

  3. I’m a red wings fan. I’m not out of line. I want revenge on weber but I don’t want another Steve Moore incident. We forgave big Bert because of all the punishments and suspension he got. Weber paid some money and when your making as much as him, $2500 isn’t a lot of money. He hasn’t paid a big enough price for forgiveness

  4. Most of the Smarties/M&M scale-testicle clacking during post season comes from people who could not pick Shea Weber or Henrik Zetterberg out of a lineup with assists from Brian Engblom and Jeremy Roenick.  The real fans, the people who have invested time, energy, emotion, and their hard-earned money supporting their teams are upset and they should be.   
    They are the people who, like you (and me and lot of other people not named Shea Weber) are not happy with Shanahan’s decision, but understand that it’s done.  Time to move on and focus on what’s important: the game.

  5. Most of the Smarties/M&M scale-testicle clacking during post season comes from people who could not pick Shea Weber or Henrik Zetterberg out of a lineup with assists from Brian Engblom and Jeremy Roenick.  The real fans, the people who have invested time, energy, emotion, and their hard-earned money supporting their teams are upset and they should be.   
    They are the people who, like you (and me and lot of other people not named Shea Weber) are not happy with Shanahan’s decision, but understand that it’s done.  Time to move on and focus on what’s important: the game.

  6. And to be honest If I see an article written by Andrew Johnson again I Won’t ever read it…

  7. Very brave article. I think this is targeted for wings fans but then I read it and it was just the opposite. You just down talked hockey town because us real fans are upset about Shea webber trying to take hanks head off and the NHL just letting it go. It sets the wrong example and then you take ppl saying things about getting even to serious. Sometimes ppl are such big fans and so emotionally involved they say things they don’t mean.. This was just kind of ridiculous.

  8. I agree with the article 100% Detroit fans can be upset and support their team but that doesn’t give them the right to wish for detriment within the league. There’s a place for passion in any sport, but “calling for heads” in retribution is taking sports humanity back to the dark ages. Hockey town should no better than that. 

    • “but that doesn’t give them the right to wish for detriment within the league”

      You’re right.  It’s the ability to think and have opinions that gives people the right to wish for just about anything.  It’s just that the players don’t actually get the right to do it.  As to taking sports back to the dark ages, would those be the dark ages of 1997 when the boys sorted out the Avs with their fists?  You know, in retribution for the dirty hit on Draper?  The fact is retribution is part of hockey.

  9. Andrew, I have to say…nice piece.
    I understand the fan base, but there are limits.  I can tell you one thing though, the passion of the Detroit fans, having watched games at Joe Louis, the recap of game 1 and this story are all contributing factors to me deciding to watch this game tonight.

  10. To suggest that “Red Wings fans” want a recreation of the Moore Incident or that “Red Wing fans” want blood for Weber’s actions is ridiculous.  I would say well over majority of Red Wing fans would  much rather take home the W as retribution for the cowardly actions of Weber than see a fight.  In fact, I have yet to speak to anyone that expects there to be a fight at tonights game.  Wings are a disciplined team and Babcock is not the type to want an eye for an eye.  Making the assessment that Wing fans are out of line would force you to say that Preds fans are out of line.  I’ve read posts that Zetterberg deserved the blows to the back of the head or that Zetterberg was faking it.  I’ve read comments from Preds fans expressing joy about Helm’s slit wrist and some even went as far to say I hope he is done for good.

    It’s a sport.  Sports will have fans.  Drawing conclusions of an entire fan base based on the most extremist of comments is terrible reporting.  Such assessments done to any fan base would make the whole look ridiculous and insane.

    No one truly wants to see a Moore-esque incident.  Shanahan is not being disowned by Wing fans.  We do not expect him to have the Red Wings back on this.  He has a job to do and he is doing it.  We don’t want nor expect preferential treatment.

    As an adult, you must be writing this article for the same reason as the outlandish comments you refer to in your article… shock value.  This isn’t news and it surely is not insight.  This is a facebook worthy opinion and belongs on someones wall.  

  11. Great article….a shame some neanderthal fans spoil it for the “true” fans….unfortunatly we have that situation all the time here in Philly

  12. May be not the time to 
    retaliate yet, but if that keeps happening –  some retiring member of Red Wings team might watch 72’s tape (Bobby’s leg-breaking classics)…  and no, Radulov is not worth going after. If the league fails to act then players will have to. As for Snanny – looks like he is motivated now by corporate interests, just like his boss…

  13.  Thanks for posting this… Am I angry about what Weber did and the ensuing non-punishment? Absolutely! Am I frustrated? You Bet! Do I want payback? My emotions say yes.. But that’s just it.. The desire for physical retaliation is mostly an emotional response. I KNOW that our players are honorable and respected, and for good reason.. I saw that picture posted on a blog and had this to say… I’m still pissed and angry about the whole situation; but that picture
    makes my stomach turn sour. Here’s why…Bertuzzi has worked so hard
    over the lst 8 years to prove that’s not who he is… it haunts him
    everywhere he goes, and most of us (most people here included from what
    I’ve read) defend the player and person he is now. I get livid every
    single freaking time someone drags Bertuzzi into something he has
    nothing to do with, and the aftermath of Wednesday’s game is no
    different. I’m not overly sensitive, and I like things in good fun.. but
    in my opinion this is exactly what gives fire to the Bertuzzi haters
    out there and does an injustice to Bertuzzi himself and his character.

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