So the Blackhawks forced Game 7 against the hated Red Wings, and in the process completely demoralized Detroit. I'm not sure if you saw Game 6 on Monday, but if so you might have noticed Detroit fans in Joe Louis Arena streaming for the exits. With more than a minute to play. In a hockey game.
It was as if the people in the stands had collectively said, "We're fed up with you guys playing hockey for us. We want winners or no hockey at all."
OK, from a Red Wings perspective, Game 6 was a third-period collapse. Granted, the Blackhawks did score three goals within nine minutes in the third period, the last of which on a penalty shot awarded to Michael Frolik that could just have easily been called a 2-minute minor or even not called as a hockey love tap. Sure, if you're a Red Wings fan, Game 6 was a disgusting way to watch your team lose.
But to walk out? When the Red Wings still had a chance? When it might be the last time you get to see hockey until October? I'm sorry, but I don't get it.
Maybe I'm missing some context here. Maybe one of the Red Wings said something to the effect of "If we don't win on Monday, I'm going to strip naked and smear my genitals on the glass. Also: I hate our fans."
There has to be some reason those people left. Other than, you know, just not wanting to watch a playoff game when the home team is down 4-2 with TEN MINUTES to play.
So as we get ready for a thrilling Game 7 in Chicago, I already know one thing: We—and by "we" I mean the city of Chicago—have already won this round of the playoffs, hockey fandom, and maybe even life.
We do things differently here. We appreciate the effort these guys have put in to play for our city. Even in a losing effort, even in a season like this one where the Hawks would appear to be the best team in the world and should hoist the Cup by divine right or else be a minor disappointment, even if we find ourselves inexplicably staring at a 10-0 shellacking, we stay until the end and thank them for all they've done.
And in that scenario, the Red Wings would really be the losers. Because they have to go back to Detroit.
RedEye special contributor Ben Johnson is a comedian at iO Theater in Chicago.
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