When I write these blogs, I try my hardest to not let my personal biases and fandom get in the way of my argument, but rather try to look at it objectively. In this case, depending on who you ask, I could easily be coming off as a hater rather than a distant third party observer. However, there is just something that needs to be said to the fans in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, mainly in the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and more specifically the CONSOL Energy Center and Wells Fargo Center.
Within the last week, I have seen two things that I honestly can’t believe even occurred, let alone warrant a reaction but at the same time, given the history of these two teams and the reputations of their fans, it’s hard to say I’m completely surprised.
The first incident occurred back on April 13th, in Game 1 between the Rangers and the Penguins in Pittsburgh. When battling in front of the net for position, the Rangers’ defenseman Marc Staal lifted his stick and it slid in the facemask of Lundqvist and hit him in the right eye. Immediately Henrik went down in pain, and with the collective fate of the Rangers now hanging in the balance. He stayed down on the ice for a few minutes, kicking his legs in pain. Once he got to his feet, he skated over to the bench to be evaluated a little bit further, received a few eye drops from the trainer and went back into the game. This took a few minutes to get sorted and no harm seemed to come of the stoppage of play. However, the Penguins fans seemed to have a problem with the Rangers goaltender getting treatment without actually leaving the game, so they reigned down a barrage of boos and heckles aimed at the Rangers and specifically Henrik Lundqvist.
The second incident occurred last night in Philadelphia as the Flyers got their collective asses kicked by the Capitals. It was late in the third period with the Caps leading when Bellmare for the Flyers put an absolutely brutal hit on Orlov of the Capitals, with his back to the defender, he was tossed into the boards, face first. What ensued was just short of a total line brawl. The hit itself was bad, and will certainly get a call from the League’s office of Player Safety. The brawl resulted in ejections for Goudas, White and Bellmare and the obvious displeasure of the Flyers fans. They started booing and throwing their bracelets on to the ice. These bracelets were given out prior to the game to commemorate the late Ed Snyder. One toss hit Orlov on the Caps bench, the remaining ones made it on the ice and called for multiple stoppages of play. After the first stoppage the fans were given a warning and no more than 2 minutes later, another batch of bracelets wound up on the ice and the Flyer received a 2-minute bench minor penalty.
In the situation of the Penguins fans, booing an injured player is something you just don’t do. In a sport where players are constantly playing through injuries and soreness, there is no reason to beat someone down for trying to get treatment so they can stay on the ice. The question I pose to Pens fans, if that was Marc-Andre Fleury and he was the one getting hit in the eye, I’m sure you would want the game to be put on hold as long as possible so he could stay in the game. It’s ok to not be happy about the stoppage of the game, especially when you have some momentum. But there comes a time in the pause where you start to realize it’s actually an injury rather than gamesmanship.
As for the Flyers fans, I understand the frustration when your team has been getting absolutely destroyed for the entire series, and with the winding down of a game 3 loss, the fate of the season is all but certainty, you want to take your frustrations out on something and the easiest way to do that is to throw stuff down on the ice. Here’s the thing, those bracelets were given out to help commemorate a legend within your organization, and how you honor that legacy is by tossing them away on to the ice? I mean I know you guys in Philly don’t really give a shit about anything but that’s just pathetic. Not to mention, you have your public address announcer calling you out, Wayne Simmonds pleading with fans from the ice to stop doing it, and yet they continue to rain down from the upper levels.
Must be something in the water. Stay classy
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