13 January 2006

How Can You Root for Him?

Every team has at least one guy that they know the rest of the league hates, but as long as they wear the hometown pajamas, they are that team's fans favorite. Dema Kovalenko was "that guy" for me, but he wasn't the first of "those guys". Growing up a Caps fan, my first favorite player was Scott Stevens, an incredibly tough and skilled defenseman. When he was traded, it took me a while to find a player I could really relate to, but Dale Hunter became perhaps the prototypical "that guy". Yes, he had an incredible cheap shot on Pierre Turgeon in Game 6, and its undefendable. It was, however, understandable, as he physically expressed a frusturation as a Caps fan that everyone felt that night (I think Japer can back me up on that.)

The important thing about being "that guy" was the fans knew that while you were tough, and you'd go too far on more than one occasion, you didn't live for the hard foul, the illegal check, the helmet-first hit. No, you lived and worked and gave everything, and occasionaly you went too far, and the message wasn't "I'm tough so I can have the rep of being the biggest badass in the room" but "I'm tough because I want my team to win, and I will work like hell for that to happen." That's the difference between Dema Kovalenko (who I adore) and Hristo Stoichkov (who made me uncomfortable). That's what set Dale Hunter apart from Craig Berube. Hopefully, it's something that Sean Taylor, as he matures, learns. That's how I can root for Dema Kovalenko, and how I'm glad that this resolved itself by him leaving MLS, instead of being on the field against DC United, working like hell to take us out.


At 13 January, 2006 10:18, Anonymous john said...

As a life long Islanders fan whose favorite player was Pierre Turgeon, I feel that I must now say that I think Dale Hunter is the scum of the earth.

Having said that, losing Turgeon may have helped us upset Pittsburg in the next round.

At 13 January, 2006 10:36, Blogger D said...

That's the thing about players like that. Every fan of every other team hates that player, and yet you adore them. For instance, I hated Denis Potvin, but probably would have loved him if I was an Islanders fan.

At 13 January, 2006 10:48, Anonymous john said...

Well I'm too young to remember Potvin, but I don't think he did anything like Hunter did, did he? That would be news to me.

At 13 January, 2006 10:54, Blogger D said...

Well, ask Rangers fans about Ulf Nilsson.

At 13 January, 2006 11:24, Anonymous john said...

I don't know if I would believe anything a Rangers fan would say anyway.

Besides, my quick Google search seems to indicate that it wasn't as clear cut as Nilsson skating away with his arms extended skyward in celebration and then Potvin destroying him. I think Nilsson had the puck at least.

But anyway, how was this for a household growing up: My father a Boston Bruins fan, me Islanders, one brother a Sabres and the other brother a Rangers fan. My poor mother

At 13 January, 2006 20:00, Anonymous Matt said...

OK...I'm a DC United Fan...and probably will be even if Seattle gets an MLS team....but sorry guys


Did you all know that it's been raining for 27 straight days in Seattle!!!

PS: Not to worry..don't forget that your stud QB played for the University of Washington and is quite accustomed to crappy weather.


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