Flyers Fans on Caps Fans

Stepping off the escalator onto the upper concourse before the game, I met Jaclyn and Roger, two of the few here from Philadelphia to root for the Flyers. They'd been to Verizon Center for games before, so I wondered if the fans seemed different during the playoffs.

"Well yeah; it's packed here because of the bandwagoners," Jaclyn said.

"Yeah, the bandwagoners," Roger said.

But it's a playoff game. Of course there would be plenty of Capitals fans, right?

"But the thing I love about Flyers fans is that if you go to a game in Philadelphia, you can go up to anyone and they'll be so knowledgeable about the team and its history," Jaclyn said. "Here, they don't know anything about the Capitals or hockey. They're just here because their team is winning."

I don't know if Jaclyn actually tested any Capitals fans on their hockey knowledge, but she seemed pretty sure.

"I mean, even Donald Brashear said Capitals fans are bandwagoners," she added.

To be fair, he didn't exactly say that.

I caught up with some more understanding (perhaps because their team was ahead) Flyers fans after the second period. CJ Hornberger and David Bowes of Philadelphia have been Flyers fans "since birth," according to Hornberger, and have been season ticket-holders through the good -- and the not so good -- years.

"Philadelphia is a hockey town, though," Hornberger said. "Here [in Washington], it's hasn't been a good place for hockey for a while. It's hard to come to the games when the team's not winning. But we're glad the fans are showing up now."

Really? So they don't mind all that red?

"We're just rooting for the NHL right now," Bowes said. "The league needs all the support it can get. . . It's the only league where the players aren't all making millions and millions of dollars -- except Alex Ovechkin."

"Oh yeah, they got the golden child right there with Ovie," Hornberger said. "That's all you need to put fans in the seats."

By Lindsay Applebaum |  April 13, 2008; 4:51 PM ET  | Category:  Capitals
Previous: The Red Army | Next: No Bandwagoners Here


Please email us to report offensive comments.

OMG - you speak to two people from Philly and you get that CAPS fans don't know hockey. Your statistical inference is insulting to those of us who have been CAPS fans for not 5, 10, or even 15 years, but try 20 - 30 years.

Try talking to more people next time before you look at making such broad statements.

Posted by: Shaya Green | April 13, 2008 5:59 PM

Just quoting someone, Shaya. I personally know several very knowledgeable Caps fans.

Posted by: Lindsay Applebaum | April 13, 2008 6:25 PM

Dear Lindsay,

Next time you decide to do an article on fans from the "Upper Level" why don't you interview "REAL " Cap fans and not "FLYERS" fans that were outnumbered by the thousands. The two fans you interviewed obviously brainwashed you into agreeing that all the fans in attendance were bandwagon hoppers and not real fans. Maybe you did not see the hundreds of Langway Jerseys and fans of the old colors that have supported this team from the 70's. It sounds to me that you are the uneducated "Hockey Fan" not the thousands of Cap fans!

Posted by: Stu Barnes | April 13, 2008 6:29 PM

Philadelphia is a far more working class city than Washington, and so paying the money to go to games means a lot more to Flyers fans than Caps fans. I think that's a huge part of it.

Posted by: Ben from Washington | April 13, 2008 6:31 PM

You have no idea what you are talking about and could not be further from the truth. The few Flyer fans that came down were "Silver Spoon" rich kids with nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon.

Posted by: John L | April 13, 2008 6:35 PM

It seems to me that you should be defending and educating our "Bitter Northern PA Neighbors"

I would hope that if you personally knew several very knowledgeable Caps fans you would have shared their knowledge base and help reduce the lack of knowledge these "Bitter PA" fans have.

Posted by: Shaya Greene | April 13, 2008 7:12 PM

I would punch Jaclyn in her face right in front of her man and he wouldn't do a thing because he's soft just like all Philly fans. All bark and no bite.

Posted by: Mike | April 13, 2008 7:22 PM

Hey, I live in Philadelphia and last year, when the Flyers tanked, there were THOUSANDS of Buffalo fans at the last game of the season. So, Flyers fans will bail when the team stinks, too. Philly fans are much more nasty when their teams lose.

Posted by: DrCapsFan | April 13, 2008 7:25 PM

Sorry Ben, but think Phila has grown way up and is not the "poor city" you remember. I hear they sell SUSHI, have a cigar bar, at the Complex/Center.
Don't know where you are living in DC but 79 bucks a pop and rising for a CAPS game is no chump change for anyone. Been going to the games since the 70's. I remember at the CAPITAL CENTER were it used to be 30 dollars for similar tickets.
In todays economy all games mean a lot to those who dish out the cash.

Posted by: Anne G. | April 13, 2008 7:29 PM

They'd been to Verizon Center for games before, so I wondered if the fans seemed different during the playoffs.

"Well yeah; it's packed here because of the bandwagoners," Jaclyn said.

"Yeah, the bandwagoners," Roger said.

Hey Roger: Way to let your woman speak for you...
Talk to us when you grow a sack...

Posted by: TimDz | April 13, 2008 7:56 PM

So Flyers fans said negative stuff about Caps fans. Wow. This is a real stunner. Top-quality journalism right here. Ground-breaking.

Let's get the real story here...

The arguments in Sec 421 that turned into a real fight in the stairways, with a Flyers fan literally bashing a Caps fan's head into a wall - and then running away. Let's talk about fan bases, eh? Just visit for more information, people are furious about it.

Or the fact that the NBC announcers calling the game and doing studio commentary called the team the "Crapitals" (I am not kidding) and then said that the arena was 50% Flyers fans. I mean, can ANYONE justify either of those statements? I'd love to see you report on that.

Or the way the Flyers ran all over Huet all game long and he still stood his ground, even when he got freaking jumped on top of! Actual sports journalism about a sporting event!

But really, Lindsay, I'm glad we've got you here on the hard news beat.

Posted by: DC Mike | April 13, 2008 8:22 PM

Hey, call the dogs off-

I thought it was a great article, and she's right. I know this because I'm a Caps fan living out of state. Who doesn't know that the three Caps 20 goal d-men were Hatcher, Cote, and Iafrate? Thats what those flyer fans were talking about.

All I know is that 10 years ago, flyer fans would've drown out Cap fans at MCI/Verizon and we have the better football and hockey teams. If you want to talk about bandwagon, *cough*Pittsburgh*cough*

Posted by: Mike | April 13, 2008 8:49 PM

@DC Mike. Great insight. For the fans that didn't get to see this gem from Mike Milbury:

Milbury is the same clown who traded away talent such as Chara, Luongo, Jokinen and the second overall draft pick that turned out to be Spezza as the Islanders GM.

What a poor excuse for a human being.

Posted by: Cristiano | April 13, 2008 9:22 PM

"Who doesn't know that the three Caps 20 goal d-men were Hatcher, Cote, and Iafrate? Thats what those flyer fans were talking about."
Um, if you refer to the percentage in the poll who answered wrong, let me enlighten you that the Washington Capitals site is not solely visited by Capitals fans, there are thousands of non-Caps fans who come to the site every day because they're Ovechkin fans. Ovechkin brings fans to the site from all over the world. And it is many of those non-Caps fans who have no idea which 3 Caps D-men scored 20+ goals in the same season. For the average Caps fan, that's an embarrassingly easy question.

Posted by: McK from DC | April 13, 2008 11:59 PM

DC MIKE and Cristiano are spot on. The NBC (Nauseatingly Biased Coverage) commentators were all, to a man, utterly biased. It's been the same for every game NBC has shown. They were so unabashedly in favor of the Pens in all 3 Pens games they aired that it was sickening. And this, from a National Network.

As for Mike Milbury, the man lacks quality in every sense of the word. He is as good a coverage guy as he was a GM/Coach. Which is to say he is utterly lousy.

When Hartnell used his hand to mash Huet's facemask into the ice after steamrolling him, the NBC guy said, "that was incidental contact". Well the ref disagreed, and Hartnell went to the sin-bin for 2.

When Hartnell (quality guy, huh?) later high-sticked Ovechkin in the face (ref missed it), the NBC guy said, "Ovechkin took a high stick to the face from Hartnell, who's had a strong afternoon..." WTH and WTF? Since when is high-sticking someone in the face part of a "good afternoon"? What a joke. NBC should be ashamed. And maybe fined... for flagrant ineptitude.

Posted by: McK from DC | April 14, 2008 12:12 AM

To the person who had blinders on when he only sees the cap fan go into a wall. I quess you did not see the thugs who attacked and pushed a kid down the stairs and then went on to attack the young guys trying to help this kid, it's obvious because he had a flyers jersey on you did not see what they did those guys. They had to defend themselves against your thugs who obviously picked on the wrong flyers fans who fought back. No one wins in this situation. You obviously have no security in your house. Let;s face it flyers fans were ther to support there team, not get into a brawl.So take your blinders off and realize your boys went out to hurt the flyers fans and they had no choice but to defend themselves. Also they were out numbered but I quess you didn't see all those red jersey attacking a couple of guys leaving after there Flyers won a great game. We always get a bad wrap in Philly. What's your excuse?

Posted by: Phillyfan | April 14, 2008 10:01 AM

Brashear says that the Caps "lost" their fans at some point. I've been to every Caps game for the past 15 years, including the past two when Brashear was on the team. Thanks for being grateful for the support Donald.

I've watched Brashear lose us more than a few games with stupid penalties, fighting at the wrong time and giving the puck up ad nauseum. Maybe he should try working on his own game rather than insulting those of us who supported the Capitals during the lean times.

Posted by: Ray | April 14, 2008 1:52 PM

Having been born & raised in South Philly & yet living in the DC area for the last 23 years, I think I can offer some objective perspective. Yes, there is a core group of knowledgable hockey fans in DC, & they will support the Caps. Yes, there are rude fans in both towns (saw a number cheering last Friday night when the Flyers player fell to the ice with the groin injury). However, the tradition & awareness of their team in the community is nowehere near the level of the Flyers in Philly. Just comparing news media coverage, for example, for a regular season game is not comparable: The two million plus fans at the Stanley Cup victory parade in the 70's, seeing a 70 year old Italian lady on a street corner waving a Bernie Parent photo after a big playoff win, the Flyers window decorations in the humble row houses of the various neighborhoods during playoff season, etc.
I do hope hockey really catches on here & stays hot with the current great team in DC, but I'm not sure it will ever match the intesity in Philly.

Posted by: Espo | April 14, 2008 3:27 PM

@McK. Agreed. Hartnell practically tackled Huet every chance he got and there should have been a few more interference penalties called. That said, I hope guys like Cooke, Bradley and even Brashear knock Biron in Philly, get inside his head. Also, where is our defense? They need to clear the freakin' crease and second chance opps. I'm upset with Milbury's remarks and yeah it doesn't seem like a big deal. But we need to prove him wrong, score on our power plays, play a physical game and focus on getting one in Philly tomorrow.

Posted by: Cristiano | April 14, 2008 3:36 PM

Cry me a river, Philly Fan. You come into our building wearing a Flyer's jersey and then you're upset because we don't throw rose petals at your feet. The days of you Philly slugs coming in and taking over our building are gone and if you have any sense, you will be too.

Posted by: Rink Rat | April 14, 2008 4:26 PM

I somehow blame Dan Snyder and the Washington NFL franchise for this travesty.

Posted by: Naf Sallad | April 14, 2008 4:30 PM

Hey Espo,I couldn't help noticing that all your references to how great a hockey town Philly is happened in the 70's. Just in case you've been locked in a vault, it's now 2008. The last time the Flyers won a Cup was 33 years ago. You guys are what Springsteen was singing about in "Glory Days". Here's my prediction, the Caps will win multiple Cups before the Flyers win one.

Posted by: Ted B. | April 14, 2008 4:32 PM

Hey Ted,
My point was that the focus on hockey by the populace in Philly has been & remains as intense now as it ever was...70's, 80's 90's & now.
I took my kids to see & root for the Caps over the last 15 years or so, but the interest by the "average guy" for hockey here is just not the same.
You guys could win a cup first (not on the back of one guy though), but it still doesn't change anything: the point is Philly may never win a cup for another 50 years, but the fans & their sons will still go out & be fanatical for them...

Posted by: Espo | April 14, 2008 4:50 PM

can Jac and A$$ please wear their names on their iggle jerseys for game 5. I'm sure all the CAP fans would love to share some hockey facts. filly fans that don't get drunk and don't want to fight, since when

Posted by: devans | April 14, 2008 5:51 PM

Re: Flyers fans.
I am an Isles fan and hate the Flyers. But I must say, their fans are the real deal. Last year, I roadtripped to Philly at the end of the season for a Sunday matinee that meant nothing to the last place Flyers. It wasn't sold out, but the fans' loyalty (and frustration w/an awful season) was palpable. I'm not gonna even go there w/Caps fans.

Posted by: josh | April 14, 2008 6:24 PM

Josh you are little scrawny wanker who gets his face bashed in every time he opens his mouth in public and has to revert to a meaningless blog ......

Posted by: Stu Barnes | April 14, 2008 10:26 PM

Maybe before the Flyer fans start in about the Caps fans not coming to the building ... they ought to try selling out THEIR FIRST HOME PLAYOFF GAME!!!

Good seats available through the main Flyers ticket outlet here at about 9:30 a.m. on gameday.

Any Caps fans that want to go up there today at the last minute - hop online and get a seat now.

Posted by: Eddie C | April 15, 2008 9:32 AM

Give me a break, this "reporter" interviews two nitwit Flyer fans and we have to hear about it? Who gives a s*** what they think? I have been a Caps fan since 1980 and there are thousands of us who have followed the team for years and decades. Please spare us the chats with visiting Flyer fans or Pens fans who live here...we don't care and they are not welcome here!

Posted by: Eric | April 15, 2008 11:12 AM

I grew up in Philly then lived in DC for 10+ years. Fan support is not even close historically. But, it's not suprising why. I'm not trying to agitate here, it's just that you have two teams with drastically different histories. Flyers have 6 more Cup Finals appearances, 11 more Conference Finals appearances, 11 more Division Championships, 14 more playoff appearances, and of course 2 more Cup victories.

The Flyers have never had an extended period of down years like the Caps have had. The closest they came was the early 90s, but Lindros was there and the team was rebuilding around him so it was still an interesting time. There have been many, many years where the Caps product on the ice had very little going for it, and the fan support adjusted accordingly.

So while I understand why Caps fans get upset when they are compared unfavorably to Flyers fan support, it's kind of all in the numbers. Having said that, I think the Caps fans are doing a great job this year, and things are looking up for them for the next several years, so it's a good time to be a Caps fan. When I am home visiting family in DC, it will be a lot more fun to go see a game than it has been in recent years, where I've had practically entire sections to myself in the upper deck. The whole league wins when a team has great fan support.

Here are the numbers:

Stanley Cup Champions: None
Stanley Cup Finals: (1) 1998
Conference Finals: (2) 1990, 1998
President's Trophy: None
Division Champions: (4)
1989, 2000, 2001, 2008
Playoff Appearences: (18)
1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2008
Hall of Famers (4)
Mike Gartner RW 1979-1989
Rod Langway D 1982-1993
Larry Murphy D 1983-1989
Scott Stevens D 1982-1990

Stanley Cup Champions: (2)
1974, 1975
Stanley Cup Finals: (7)
1974, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1985, 1987, 1997
Conference Finals: (13)
1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2004
Division Champions: (15)
1968, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004
Playoff Appearences: (32)
1968, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004,
2006, 2008
Hall of Famers:(11)
Keith Allen Coach GM 1969-1983
Bill Barber LW 1972-1984
Bobby Clarke C 1969-1984
Paul Coffey D 1996-1998
Dale Hawerchuk C 1995-1997
Roger Neilson Coach 1998-2000
Bernie Parent G 1967-71, 1972-79
Bud Piloe GM 1967/68-1970/71
Ed Snider Owner 1967-Present
Darryl Sittler C 1981-1983/84
Allan Stanley D 1968/69

Posted by: FlyerFan | April 15, 2008 1:34 PM

you all act as if you're some great fans b/c you have the NHL's superstar on your team. did you sell out teh way the flyers did this you didn't and considering taht last season the flyers were literally THE WORST team in the NHL i'd say it's pretty impressive that they've had as more sell outs this year. And we get bashed as "classless" which is hilious because last time I checked hockey isn't known for it's class. Sporting events are for cheering and the more fired up our team gets, the louder we are going to be. You'll get your chance to cheer again on saturday and you can do it however you chose. We don't insult you so why don't you get over yourselves and accept taht while all of you are not "bandwagon" fans...alot of you are.

Posted by: S | April 17, 2008 9:05 AM

The bottom line is....

When the Caps season comes to an end tonight not only will they be upset because they lost ((Again)), but us Flyers fans will make sure they fully understand they are still not good enough to win in Philly.
The sooner these cry baby's season comes to an end the sooner we can face some of the real competition like the Rangers or Penguins. Of course we will roll out the orange carpet for them as well.


BTW,,, Your cherry picking wanna be stud stinks and does nothing to help his teammates.

Posted by: Philly Power | April 21, 2008 2:54 PM

HA HA HA HA HA - You all SUCKER FLyer fans. See you in DC "THE REAL HOCKEY CITY" tomorrow night where the atmosphere will shatter the noise in Philly tonight. What a weak crowd. We only had about 40 of us in our Bus for this one but in the third period we made more noise than the 20,000 Flyer fans. Or actually about 3,000 as the crowd cleared out with over 8 minutes to go in the 3rf period. NICE FAIR WEATHER FANS you all are.

Posted by: JJ | April 21, 2008 10:55 PM

Winner Winner...chicken dinner

maybe Ovechkin can try his diving in the olympics this summer

Posted by: Philly Guy | April 22, 2008 11:56 PM

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