Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tomas Plekanec Does Stay Classy, Even Though He’s a Hab

I really, really wanted to post an update on all things friends, family and manuscript today but after reading an article this morning about an incident that happened during the Bruins game last night, that update is going to have to wait a while because this requires my immediate attention to rant about.

Most of you aren’t Bruins fans.  Hell, most of you aren’t hockey fans so I’ll give a little back story and recap.

A long, long time ago in a country far, far away (Canada) there came to be a hockey team known as the Montreal Canadiens.  Called the Habs for short, this team was one who started the business of hockey as a paid-player franchised sport.  Fast forward just fifteen years later to 1924 and you’ll see that Canada decided to extend their game love and adopted a team known as the Boston Bruins.  The B’s were the first American team to join the league and are considered an Original Six team (a very important point of contention to anyone who is a fan of the sport).

Now, fast forward the eighty-eight years since the B’s were brought into the league, add in some good old fashioned sports-rivalry angst (think Red Sox v. Yankees) and you’ve got yourself all the makings for some aggressive hockey games full of action and adventure.  Sprinkle in a little bit of jealousy, lots of fighting, fan enthusiasm and new-ish NHL rules for good measure, then transport yourself to last night’s game.

Just about every game for the past few seasons my Aunt and I watch on our respective devices (sometimes we get to go to games together, sometimes we watch together, but we’re usually separate) and chat at length on Facebook about pretty much every play of the game.  Last night I had a Writer’s meeting to attend and Matt set up the game to record.  For those who don’t understand, let me once again refer to the Sox/Spankees rivalry as a guidepost – the B’s want to take down the Habs at all cost.  As a Bruins fan I salivate at the thought and no way I was missing that game because of a work related event.

But when I say “take down” what I mean is through scoring and defense, through carefully timed and strategically planned fights, through the standings in the Conference, not in an actual sense.  The Bruins are resting happily in the number 2 spot in the East with 72 points.  Montreal is in 12th place right now with only 56 points.  Oh, and the Bruins won the Cup last year while the Habs haven’t won one since 1993.  Lots of fodder for fans to get a little chippy themselves.

However, none of that, and I mean none, ever justifies cheering when a player gets hit in the face with a probable 90 mile per hour slapshot and ends up getting stitches during the first intermission**.  Unfortunately that’s exactly what some Montreal fans did last night when the Bruins captain Zdeno Chara took one to the chin.

Yes, they actually began to cheer when he fell to his knees, struggled to get up, and proceeded to start bleeding.

Look, I loathe PK Subban as much as the next B’s fan but that’s only because he wears a Habs uniform.  I respect his talent as a player I just never want to see him win.  But that doesn’t mean I want to see him hurt.  What fun would it be if all the good players got hurt in bitter rivalry games?  And what kind of human would I be if I started clapping and cheering if he went face first onto the ice after taking a frozen piece of rubber to the head?  Not much of one, that’s for sure.

So earlier today I read the article written by Puck Daddy over on Yahoo (linked above) and my own jaw almost hit ice.  He’s basically saying that as fans we have the right, and conditioned emotional response, to be happy when a player from the opposing team is injured.

Um, what the fuck?

Happy when an opposing player is hard-checked into the boards, yes.  Happy when an opponent has an equipment malfunction that takes them off the ice for a while, yes.  Happy that the other team gets drawn into a fight and both players skate on their own volition into the box thus eliminating possible threat of scoring, yes.  But injury?  No.  Just, no.

The fans in Montreal should take a cue from their player, the one who hit the slapshot in the first place, Tomas Plekanec.  The second it connected and Big Z went down Plekanec skated over to make sure he was okay.

Let me repeat that for everyone so it really sinks in – the player from the Habs who took out Montreal’s most despised rival player (this week) with a puck to the face went to make sure the guy was alright.

Now that’s class.

** As a side note for those keeping track, not only did Big Z get sutured up, but, he was back on the ice for the rest of the game with a helmet that showed the glowing red sign of what had happened to him.  And the B’s won the game in a shootout.  That’s hardcore baby.


#1Nana said...

I have not a clue about hockey, but I agree 100% with your description of how a responsible fan acts. There's no excuse for supporting celebrating injuries.

Insomniac #4 said...

Way to go Pleks! I know the Hab fans still want their pound of flesh for Chara's hit on Pacioretty, but they really need to get over themselves. The players don't have nearly as much hatred for their rivals as the fans do, even though they're the ones competing against each other.

It would be nice if sports fans had enough decency to not cheer when an opposing player is injured, but I have to admit I'm guilty of it. I am thrilled that Chris Pronger is out with a concussion (I hope that effing douche never plays again) and during baseball season, when the 'Spankees' are making my blood boil, I do occasionally wish that Josh Beckett or someone would plunk one of 'em right in the eye.

I know. I'm going to hell. And I bet I'll run into George Steinbrenner when I'm down there.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I totally agree Jann, it just seems wrong somehow!

You will definitely run into Steinbrenner...the jackwagon...but this whole thing is a touchy issue, especially as a B's fan. Savvy has been off the ice for almost 2 straight seasons now because of Cooke (who was NOT suspended for the hit to Marc's head), now Horton is out with recurring concussion symptoms (again) because of Sestito. And Sestito didn't even get a fish-slap for the hit. Not even a penalty, let alone suspended.

We've lost one of the better players on the team (for who knows how long, I mean really, Savard may never be back on the ice so there's no telling with Horton). I guess Pronger being out is a small bit of immediate karmic balance but it still stinks. Mostly because, like you said, its the fans who are fueling the rival fire, not the players. I mean Cammalleri became a player on a different team MID GAME a few weeks ago! He was a Hab one second and by 3rd period he was in his hotel room watching porn and drinking beers (says me). If he'd been traded to Boston (unlikely as they were playing us at the time, but humor me) we would have suddenly loved him??? Mid game??? If he showed up in a B's jersey would we have cheered for him? It just doesn't make sense to me.

The league changing the hits to the head rule in 2010 is wonderful but they need to follow through with consistency for it to make a difference. All of this is of course my long winded way of saying - as a fan of a sport I just can't justify being happy to see an injured player no matter what team they play for or how the injury happens. JMO