Tie Down The Jersey with Allan Decker #3

“Hicks for man of the match”

So it ended 3-2, Hicks wasn’t the best and both teams would have reason to complain about some of those calls, or non-calls. He was inconsistent. Neither team really knew what they could and couldn’t get away with; as a result you got a disjointed game. It’s a shame as well, Hicks used to just let everything go. When he was reffing you were guaranteed an exciting game as players took matters into their own hands. He’s changed, but that’s not the point of this article. No this is to highlight some of the sheer ignorance of some of our fans.

A part of me died inside when I heard Panthers fans booing Hicks on Saturday. I have been criticised recently for being clueless, but I’d like to think my grasp of the game is firm enough to understand that Hicks didn’t lose us that game and that the fans sat around me really have no idea what they are talking about.

Panthers playing hockey for only 1 full period is the reason we lost that game. Simple as. Belfast are a very good team, jumping all over our poor passing and having a stellar keeper in Murphy. If you were going to ‘hilariously’ shout for someone other than a Giants player to receive their Man of the Match award, you could have at least chosen Corey, who’s lazy clearance allowed an easy pick up for Peacocks goal.

To pick up another incident, when Lepine wraps his stick around an opposing players feet behind the net, and that player goes down, it’s about as obvious as a tripping call gets. No point slow clapping Hicks for that!

The thing that frustrates me most though is the calls of ‘SHOOOOOOT’ every time anyone gets the puck in the zone on the powerplay. After that is the inevitable condemnation that we try to ‘walk it in’ or that we are too concerned with the perfect shot(!) To these people I have to ask, have you ever played the game to the level that these players have? I’d highly doubt it. I don’t profess to either, so I trust their judgement over mine any day.

I’ve spoken to goalkeepers who have played at various levels, they have said the difference between even EPL and EIHL is massive in the mindset of the players. A lot of imports will know when a wild shot from anywhere on the ice is not going to beat a top level goalie, but a decent shot, after dragging the D around with point to point passes and a clever screen probably will. That’s the system we play. They said there is correlation between the work levels and thought put in to each shot, and the level you play at.

I’ve already told you that I don’t profess to know the game at a pro level, but for what I do know, your wild shots that are easily stopped by a half decent keeper, at best give you a rebound directly to one of your own players and you can start again, at worst it goes to one of the opposition, they get a clearance opportunity and you start all over again, but they have got a line change in.

It’s not even a lack of knowledge of the subtleties of systems or game mechanics either. Remember when Neal Martin got a penalty in a playoff final (or semi final?) because he picked up a loose stick and played the puck with a stick in both hands? (that’s my recollection anyway) The beginning of the end for me was hearing a fan behind me, red in the face ‘Why call that in the playoff finals?’. You just have to bury your head in your hands. If they are going to call it at all, it may as well be called then!

What happened? There are some very knowledgeable Panthers fans still out there. Paul wrote a piece on here called ‘Things the arena generation will never know….’ and maybe that’s it, the arena generation. The arena is a sterile environment, it’s a pleasant night out even if you aren’t a big fan of the on ice product (or remain indifferent to the result). It’s central, it’s comfy, it’s something to do before hitting the town. It attracts a different crowd than to rinks like Hull, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Don’t rip my head off for that either. I don’t think you’d disagree that the NIC is a more pleasant match night experience (to the outsider at least) than the other rinks mentioned.

I don’t expect to change anyone’s actions with this. These newbies will still be getting up to leave 2 minutes before the end of the period, not sitting down until 5 minutes into the next one, leaning forwards in their seats to block my view of most of the ice and displaying such ignorance to the sport itself it does a dis-service to those that play it. I just want to have a rant, and even if one person thinks twice before bleating at the ref or shouting ‘SHOOOOOT’ for the duration of a powerplay then it’s a start.

Finally, in my response to last weeks article, which I still stand by, I did not address anyone directly. I did, however, ask people to challenge me if they believed I was factually incorrect. F Block Blog asked me to show where I read the phrase ‘Big Budget’ on their site. It was in the blurb in the ‘Latest News’ section. This appears to be powered by Google and not part of the blog directly, so may have been from an external source. Apologies for any confusion caused. I’d also like to quickly thank ‘rangers’ and all the others who so succinctly vindicated my ‘insufferable whingers’ comment with their comments and forum posts.


10 Responses to “Tie Down The Jersey with Allan Decker #3”

  1. 1 an arena generation member of panthersnation October 31, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Are you trying to anger the panthers fans? You write as though you are the only person in the arena who has the right to an oppinion and worse, the only person with RIGHT opinion. Dont think I’ll be reading this blog again, it’s full of arogant drivel which attacks the “arena generation”, a group, by the way, you shold be pushing to follow the sport, without it the sport will die.

  2. 2 Fiona October 31, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Spot on Allan! I too am sick to death of fans who are unable to accept that our players do, on occasion, deserve the penalties that they receive. Hicks may not be up there in the refing charts but he certainly wasn’t to blame for Saturday’s result. The team left things a little late in the day to mount a fight back. Belfast looked very strong and Murphy was immense. Definitely my MOM!

  3. 3 Phil October 31, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Allan while I might agreed with some of what you said in your last blog. In this you are totally wrong, you are trying to bite the hand that is feeding you, I wasn’t in Nottingham when you had the barn however I will stack my passion for the game now against yours, your post comes over quite elitist and shows a complete disregard for any views but your own, who cares if people shout shoot all the time or leave to get to the bar early, it happens in every sporting venue!
    In fact more often than not these people miss something good by doing it, so more fool them but in a free world it is their choice.
    As for the have you played the game at a higher level I dare say you watch NHL but have you played at that level because it seems if not you would have no right to comment on any game over the pond, you say you trust their judgement great cop out so really you have no opinion about any player good or bad because you trust their decision making process however you manage to mention Corey’s mistake would you trusted his judgement then. This is again a stupid argument if you want just educated supporters in a crowd then believe me every rink and football ground would be quite empty! Fans will always have an opinion good or bad wise or stupid so just accept rather than give us this holier than though diatribe in this poor effort.

    One point remember you where once a newbie but perhaps someone took the time to help teach you the nuances of the game as one or two did for me maybe a bit of humility and less arrogant condensation might be the way to go Allan or practice live and let live!

    Also i noted your comments at the end about Rangers etc as someone also arguing with him about the nature of your blog, I will just suggest some caution in your replies because if you do not want or maybe cannot handle criticism then perhaps don’t try to be so in your face controversial just to get a reaction in the first place

  4. 4 James October 31, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Whether a team plays out of a rink or an arena has no influence on the ‘cluelessness’ of the fans that go to watch them.

    Whilst I’d agree that there are plenty of people who go to Panthers games who have, at best, a ‘football fan’ grasp of ice hockey rules I’ll ask, have you ever been to Coventry or Hull? There are just as many in those rinks who seem to struggle with the finer points concerning ice hockey rules.

    I’d even argue that a lack of knowledge with regards ice hockey rules at the NIC isn’t confined to ‘arena fans’. I’ve heard plenty of long in tooth, NPSC badge festooned punters shouting out rather odd comments that have little bearing to what is happening on the ice, no doubt in between whinging about how it was so much better in the LPS days. But then I’d ask, does it really matter?

    The reason Nottingham Panthers have survived so long in the top flight of UK hockey is down to crowd numbers, not overall ice hockey knowledge of the crowd. It may not make you happy but those who choose to spend half the night scribling away in ther back of their programs to record every minute infraction that happens on the ice and sleep with a rulebook beneath their pillows are not the ones who keep the team in the black.

    I’d like to hear less shouts of “shooooot” too but I’m not so naive to think that the Panthers can survive without such folk and if an occassional comedy call by someone from behind is the price to pay to have a team that doesn’t go the way of the VIpers I’ll take it.

  5. 5 Howie October 31, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    As someone who had never seen a game of hockey until the back end of last season I am clearly a member of the “arena generation” and I’d fully admit to being clueless. (Although reading TCW and The Cage is slowly educating me.)

    I apologise to anyone that I might offend by the fact that I don’t fully understand the etiquette of a hockey fan. I may, in the heat of the moment, have shouted “shoot”, but that is more a measure of how desperate I am to see a goal rather than a criticism of the manner in which the team are playing, (particularly in the dying minutes of a game we are losing.)

    I will however continue to go to games and enjoy them in my own way. That’s my perorgative when I have bought tickets with my own money.

    Personally I am more affronted by people loudly shouting f****in w****r at the ref in front of my young son. A little unnecessary in my opinion.

  6. 6 BigLad #11 October 31, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    I like the article. I don’t agree with everything you said though.

    We lost that game on Saturday no doubt by playing poor for the first two periods…however I booed Hicks and feel justified by doing so because he ruined what should’ve been the game of the season.

    Also, I’m one of the “arena generation” and started going at first to catch up with some old college mates…I’m now hooked and in have a season ticket for the second year running…and the only away rink I’ve yet to visit is Dundee. So please, don’t tar us all with the same brush. 🙂 Although it may be to blame for the lacklustre atmosphere at all home games – seriously, unless we’re playing Shuff nobody seems bothered about cheering on the team!!

    Overall keep up the good work…regardless of whether people agree or not…that’s the point of these things!

  7. 7 Paul October 31, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Not quite sure how a years old article has got dragged into this but I just wanted to say that my idea of the “Arena Generation” seems to have been twisted slightly. When I wrote those words I think (it was a while ago) that I was trying to point out how lucky a lot of our fans are today with their comfortable seats, good sightlines and Jumbotrons. Go to Edinburgh and imagine a league full of rinks of that quality. Did anyone ever sit in the balcony at Altrincham? It looked like a strong farg would have brought it down. I don’t mock anyone for not having seen Panthers play at Queens Road. Newbies might not know it all but we can hope they will learn. Sorry I’ve rambled so long maybe I should write my own column.

  8. 8 J jones November 1, 2011 at 8:26 am

    A decent article. However on your very last paragraph.

    No one can challenge you on whether you are “factually correct” as your article was not factually based. It was an opinion piece.

    You are required to state facts for those to be challenged. So this apparent “defence” is poor.

  9. 9 Lou November 1, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I am not a newbie thank you, i have had a season ticket for the last 11 years and had a reserved seat in the old rink and have purchased additional seats due to our family growing. However if i choose to leave the game with 2 minutes to go and not return to my seat until the game has started, that is my choice, i’ve paid for the seat so i choose to sit in it when i please. If i miss the game, my choice.

    You forget we were all once newbies, and whilst we all think that sometimes a penalty is a penalty and isn’t called, others may think it wasn’t (bit like Hicks yet he wears the bands), however if all fans were the same and just sat there with no opinion, it would be even quieter than it can be on game nights!!…

    Whilst i agree that Hicks didn’t lose the game for us, i have to say i felt he ruined what should have been a good game had he let it flowed, rather than being inconsistent with his calls. Your opinion you say that Lepine wrapped his stick round the Giants players feet and tripped in, in my opinion, Lepine had the puck and the Giants player tripped over the stick! I will probably get slated for not agreeing with you, but who cares, we’re all entitled to an opinion and thats why we go to watch this sport….

  10. 10 Mark November 1, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Excellent stuff! Keep up the great work Allan! Some excellent points raised 5 stars.

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