by | Jun 17, 1995 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

First of all, Mike — and I assume that’s your real name, and not something you made up to hide the fact that you are one of six people on Earth actually rooting for the New Jersey Devils — first of all, let me say this:

Nice hat.

Who dresses you, Dom Deluise?

Forget it, buster. Hiding behind that fake beard and glasses won’t work, and neither will the fact that — I am told this by my expert sources — you are not even here in Detroit, where the Stanley Cup finals are being played!

You’re at Shinnecock Hills Golf Course, covering the U.S. Open!

Golf? During the NHL finals? That’s the problem with Jersey hockey fans
— they all want to be somewhere else.

Before I tell you why the Red Wings will send the Devils packing — probably to Nashville — let me get this straight. Your newspaper is called The (Bridges Of) Bergen County Record?

Don’t tell me. Clint Eastwood rides into town and says to Meryl Streep: “I think I’m lost. I’m supposed to be covering hockey.”

And she says: “Hockey? Never heard of it . . . acchh . . . (cough) . . . excuse me . . . these damn smokestacks.”

How do you breathe out there, Mike? I have been to the Meadowlands. No meadow. No land. Based on the refineries, fumes, vats, tanks and dumps, I’d say your little region is a great place to go if you someday want to glow in the dark.

Detroit? We’re interested in hockey. The Red Wings are not our second or third team — Rangers and Islanders ring a bell? — they’re our first and only. We’re proud Detroit was one of the original six in the NHL, and not some loser franchise that wandered in from Colorado, like a lost mountain goat.

What exactly are we supposed to fear from the Devils? Randy McKay? The Wings gave up Randy McKay. Jacques Lemaire? Scotty Bowman taught Lemaire everything he knows. Martin Brodeur? Wait’ll the first octopus lands on his head. They say a goalie is never the same once he’s slimed.

You’re a Devils fan, Mike? Here is your nightmare: Coffey, Fedorov, Yzerman, Primeau, Vernon, Kozlov, Sheppard, Lidstrom . . .

Forget the hat. You better wear a helmet.

That is, assuming you ever show up. Perhaps you prefer to watch flabby men in pastel shirts hit a little ball into a cup. That’s better than hockey? Ha. This is just one more reason New Jersey cannot win the Cup. Besides, where would you have the parade — Exit 16 on the turnpike?

By the way, in case your readers think me ill-informed, I spent my childhood in New Jersey. I am happy to say I turned out fine, after therapy.

I cannot say the same for your hockey team. Then again, they won’t be your team for long. Nashville? Ah well. If my capital were Trenton, I’d leave, too.

A few days ago, I wrote how unfair it was that Detroit waited 29 years for these finals, and the enemy isn’t even a city, it’s a construction site. That is true.

I also said that you have no history. That is not true. I have since learned that North America’s first dinosaur skeleton was found in New Jersey.

Guess what, Mike.

He was wearing a Wings cap.

Detroit in five.


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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