I've never been a big fan of Eric Zorn. I always thought the dude was a bleeding-heart liberal and an annoying Cubbie fan. But I gained a lot of respect for him in 2005 when he wrote this column calling out Lord Voldemort for flip-flopping and generally being full of crap in his coverage of the World Series champion White Sox of that year.
Fortunately, Voldemort is long gone now, fired from his job at the Sun-Times. He's no longer relevant in Chicago, and the city is a better place for it.
Still, we've heard our fair share of anti-Blackhawks babble over the course of the season. We've had our fair share of anti-Blackhawks trolling right here on this blog.
On this joyous day in Chicago, as over 2 million converged downtown to celebrate a Stanley Cup championship, I thought it would be fitting to take a trip down memory lane and recall some of the classic trolls we've received about the Blackhawks here over the last 12 months. We'll begin way back on July 1, 2009, the first day of NHL free agency:
On July 1, a Blackhawks-hating troll wrote: "Marian Hossa was way overpaid for his service, and for what, to steal a player from a hated rival. The Red Wings are tickled pink today. This is a player that was soft in the entire playoffs, and really did nothing when it mattered. It was like that in Pittsburgh last year too. He is not a playoff player. Sure he can do good things in the regular season, but so what. Players are defined with what they do in the postseason."
On July 24, a Blackhawks-hating troll wrote: "Our guy Marian Hossa is going to be out for several months after a shoulder surgery. For all intents and purposes, his first year as a Blackhawk will be nonexistent. Yeah he can go play in the final three months of the season, but how effective can he be? It's hard for an athlete to just play well all of a sudden after an injury. It does not work that way. The Red Wings are the best organization in sports, and rarely, they never make mistakes so they clearly knew what they were doing with Hossa.
"My shoulder is strong enough to hold up this 35-pound Cup. The Red Wings might have been 'tickled pink' back in July, but they made a HUGE mistake in letting me go to a division rival. My first year as a Blackhawk was hardly 'nonexistent.' In fact, I'm a Stanley Cup champion."
On July 3, a Blackhawks-hating troll wrote: "The Devils have been letting players go left and right. I thought they did the right thing letting Madden walk. He hasn't done much since he won the Selke Trophy years ago, and he gets burned often on defense. He has played like his age in recent years, and former Devils coach Brent Sutter never had any use for him so it said something about his ability to play. The 5 Devils fans I know here will not miss him."
"Getting the hell out of that swamp and coming to a great city like Chicago and a great organization like the Blackhawks reinvigorated my career. I've got three Stanley Cups to my credit now. I haven't forgotten how to play this game."
On May 30, a Blackhawks-hating troll wrote: "Sorry, but screening a goaltender and playing dirty is not something to be admired. I like to think a player is good based on sheer talent. Being an agitator is nothing to be proud of."
"You know what is to be admired? This beautiful silver Cup I'm holding. I helped win it by screening goaltenders and doing all the dirty work in the corners and in front of the net. Every championship team needs a guy like me."
On April 16, a Blackhawks-hating troll said: "Nemmi (sic) did not look great IMO. I thought he showed his true colors, and that's why I don't see him leading his team to the Cup. Odds are he will lead his team in a first round exit tomorrow."
On March 27, a Blackhawks-hating troll said: "This is exactly why I don't take Da Hawks seriously for the Stanley Cup. You need great goaltending to win in the playoffs. Last year, Khabibulin gave it to them. Of course, he has a track record of playing great in the playoffs. Can't say the same for Huet. Who know about Niemi? He sure doesn't strike fear on anyone. I like Washington to win the Cup. At least, they have goaltending and better defense. But keep dreaming about the team being a Stanley Cup. You sure talk in rose-colored glasses, JB."
For those who don't speak Finnish, "pure minua" means "bite me."
JB says: I could go on, so I will. Marty "Havalat" may have a good track record of scoring in the playoffs, but that did the Minnesota Wild no good when they finished in 13th place in the West.
I hear Dale Tallon never should have been hired as Blackhawks GM. It's a good thing he was, since he drafted players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and the unheralded Niklas Hjalmarsson. He also traded for Patrick Sharp, Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg and Ben Eager. Oh, and he signed Brian Campbell, Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky, John Madden, Brent Sopel, and yes, Antti Niemi in free agency. Most of these Stanley Cup-winning players were acquired by Tallon. That's a fact.
On January 31, a Blackhawks-hating troll said: "The NHL would never be the same if the Wings are not there. The Wings are the flagship franchise of the NHL. When people think about the NHL, they think about the Red Wings."
Not anymore. The Red Wings are long gone, defeated in the second round by a San Jose Sharks team the Blackhawks swept in the Western Conference finals. The Stanley Cup resides in "Sweet Home Chicago," and we are going to celebrate this all summer long!