In defense of Hockey.

Or an open letter to hockey fans who also happen to be idiots.

I haven’t written a blog post in ages. I should have known that it would be mallet-headed cluebaggers that would bring me out again.

I’ll disclaim this right now by saying that I’m a Habs fan. But this isn’t about teams. It’s about hockey. Hockey and subset of mouth-breathing moronic fans that are ruining it for the rest of us as well as souring non-hockey fans on the sport all together.

Those of you that know me know that I’m not one of those annoying fans always gloating about wins and whining about losses. I don’t own a single piece of Habs merchanidse. I’m just as annoyed by the obnoxious fans as you are.

If you follow hockey at all, you know that the other night Zdeno Chara of the Bruins popped Max Pacioretty. He popped him pretty good. Witness the video – it’s a bit ugly for you squeamish folk.

I’m not going to bother with the debate of whether or not this was a clean hit or not. That’s not what has me infuriated. What does is the stream of block-headed punks in my Facebook and Twitter feed who since the incident have said nothing but things like:

“Canadiens are a bunch of pussies.”
“Montreal fans are all whiners.”
“Those fans don’t know what hockey is.”

I’m going to swear a lot now.

Ok, Mr. Lunkhead. Do you really fucking think that if this had happened in any other teams barn, the fans in that town would be any less upset? Are you really that fucked in the head? They’re FANS. Of course their going to be upset, you fucking tool. You would be too if your guy got jacked and I’ll tell you to your face you’re a liar if you say otherwise.

I love the physical game as much as anyone. I love the game period. I, unlike a lot of other fans, understand why fighting is in the game. I understand and appreciate the need for enforcers. This is not the issue here. This is not the arguement.

Do you think Max Pacioretty’s career is worth one or two points Boston might have gleaned from this game? Bear in mind it was the halfway through the 3rd and they were down 4-0. Is his LIFE worth the one or two points? Do you think that Zdeno Chara, if the roles were reversed, would be willing to give his career or his life for a Bruins win?

Now, I know what you’re gonna say.

“They get on the ice and they assume the risk and it’s part of the game and” – fucking save it.

I know Chara has no history of goonery and no previous suspensions. It may have very well been an accident. He was finishing his check and didn’t realize the stanchion was there. Fine.

Hockey has RULES though, asshat. Regardless of whether it was an accident or not, if you high stick someone, it’s a penalty.

You. Are. Responsible. For. Your. Stick. At. All. Times.

This is one of the first things we are taught.

Are you not responsible for your CONDUCT at all times?

The play and the puck had moved up ice. Did Chara HAVE to finish his check? Did he give any THOUGHT to the consequences? Was he AWARE of where they were on the ice?

The whole thing is terribly unfortunate for both parties. I want to believe that Chara didn’t mean to injure Pacioretty. I want to believe that win, loose or draw, he feels bad, because he fucking should. Because bottom line, it could just as easily been him on that fucking back board unconscious.

Gary Bettman, the NHL Commissioner in interviews today stated that although this is unfortunate, it is “part of the game.” Gary Bettman is a fucking tool. Gary Bettman doesn’t seem to realize that HE is responsible for what’s in the game. Not fucking EA Sports. He wants to brush this off and chalk it up to the nature of the sport. He’s taking even less responsibility for his actions than these malletheaded players. For shame, Gary. For shame. You are not a hockey fan. You’re a fucking suit.

Players who play at the level of the NHL are the best players in the world. There is absolutely no excuse for not having a full awareness of what is going on around them on the ice to the extent that they can consider their actions.

Accidental or no, not sending a clear message that players WILL ALWAYS BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE OUTCOME OF THEIR ACTIONS by suspending Chara, just opens the door for full blown meatheads like Matt Cooke or Trevor Gillies (who just got a 10 game suspension for a hit on a player that finished the game and skated the next. You do the fucking math, cause I don’t get it) to continue doing what they’re doing, and those guys are TEN TIMES worse than Chara.

This is what you short-a-chromosome meatheads who make blanket statements about players or cities or fans or teams don’t get. Non-hockey people don’t understand it. They think the sport is barbaric. This does nothing to prove otherwise. They look at it and they go “it doesn’t make sense.” That’s primarily because IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Why would an organization continue to foster an atmosphere where  players are regularly sidelined with season-or career-ending injuries? How is THAT good for the game? How does it make sense to perpetually place players in a needlessly dangerous environment? Explain THAT to people who don’t know the game.

If the NHL doesn’t step up, throw some major weight around and FORCE players to at least THINK about the CONSEQUENCES of their actions, someone from your or mine or someone else’s team WILL end up paralyzed or dead. It’s only a matter of time.

And that will be a much sadder day than this my friend, for real fans of hockey and for you as well.

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2 Comments

  1. Buckit, I agree with your point that if this was Subban checking Lucic in to the stanchion, Boston fans would be as irate as Montreal fans are. The same would be said for any other fans in the NHL if this happened to a player on “their” team. It is an unfortunate accident/incident, plain and simple. The generalization I made regarding ‘Montrealers’ was more a poke at the Quebecois, who most of Canada dislike anyways. I take no pleasure in seeing this happen to Pacioretty, who is an American, from Connecticut. It bothered me to see it happen and I am surprised the injuries he sustained were not more severe, even though what happened to him is pretty damn serious. I think the NHL needs to rethink the layout/design of the rinks in order to better protect the players.

  2. That’s all well and good Francis. But my point is really that in the grand scheme of things poking fun of whomever is really part of the problem. Although your comment on Facebook yesterday was the proverbial straw to the camel’s back – I’d been seeing that shit all day online, especially with regards to the RCMP getting involved.

    Calling out a whole city or team or whomever for actions like that is just ridiculous and only serves to muddy an already unclear issue. People should take the time to realize that, any time a complaint is made with the RCMP for anything, even by one person, by process, they have to investigate. They can’t dismiss a case of on-ice violence because it’s ‘silly’ no more than they could a claim of child abuse. This is part of what initially ticked me off – the assertion that ‘everyone in Montreal was up in arms demanding the RCMP investigate’ or ‘the NHL wouldn’t reprimand Chara, so we’ll take this to the RCMP’. Simply not the case.

    As far as the rest of it, you can talk till you’re blue in the face about rink sizes, construction, bigger equipment – whatever. The fact of the matter is, until players attitudes change, nothing else will. It’s a basic question of ethics in sport. Of respect for your opponent. I understand competitive drive, but it should not be at the final expense of the well being of another guy. It’s not a military conflict, as much as NHL marketing campaigns would have us believe.

    The NHL, by not doing anything is ushering in a new era of the game – something likened to ‘Running Man’ where the new tagline will be something to the tune of ‘Your life for the game.’ These guys are not Gladiators (in the traditional sense) – they’re human beings. They’re sons, dads, husbands, brothers. For them to be treating each other on the ice to this extent makes me wonder.

    It makes me sad that up here – in Canada – more and more people I know simply refuse to have anything to do with the sport. They cite issues of violence, lack of responsibility, and concern for the health of their children or themselves. Forget that youth hockey is in many cases no-check, and doesn’t carry the same level of contact that the pro game does. They don’t make the distinction. Based on the current state of the NHL, people en masse are dropping he game and moving on. It’s been likened to professional wrestling.

    It’s a question of ethics, man. Right and wrong. Regardless of whether the hit was good or bad, or the glass design was poor, the bottom line is Chara didn’t give sweet fuck all what happened as he was going into that hit. The outcome simply didn’t matter to him. And I’m not saying that’s unique to him. I’m saying THAT’S the fucking problem.

    It would be ironic if someday Patch and Chara end up on the same team. How would that work? At the end of the day these guys are all just ‘guys doing a job’. It’s a ‘day at the office’. Would you go into your office tomorrow and roll a co-worker under a bus if it wasn’t entirely necessary and not think twice about it?

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