Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apparently, Washington Capitals Fans Are Lame

I've been paying more attention to hockey these days, specifically my home town Washington Capitals. I am not at all embarrassed or ashamed to call myself a new hockey fan. However, according to Yahoo's Ryan Lambert (and a dozen or so Yahoo-using commenters), I should be both embarrassed and ashamed. And I shouldn't get excited about impressive feats unless it's within the exact context of established terminology.

To clarify what I'm talking about, Lambert's specific comment is, "What kind of an idiot throws hats on the ice after a shootout goal quote-unquote completes a hat trick?" He is referring to Saturday night's game against the Nashville Predators, during which Alexander Ovechkin had two goals during regulation, then scored the only goal in the shootout to win the game for the Capitals. According to convention, this does not constitute a true "hat trick," but several Washington fans tossed their caps onto the ice anyways. Lambert thinks only an "idiot" would do that, and if you read through the comments on his post, he's not alone.

These comments bother me in about thirty different ways, and I'd like to talk about a couple of them. By the way, (sic) on all these. You don't find much responsible grammar use on the Internet. Also, I generally assume commenters on sports articles are guys, so I'll be using "he" and "him" a lot. Please don't think I'm sexist; I just don't like writing "him/her" or "he/she," and more fans are men than women, so I'm playing the numbers game.

#8 by Ronald W
As to the idiots throwing hats after a shootout goal, I agree its lame but Caps owner Ted Leonsis wants to start it as a new tradition, the Ovechkin hat trick which is lamer than the skills competition to decide games. Bring back ties. Oh even lamer than the hats was a video during the in-game presentation saluting an award for "Nanking," a film he financed. It comes off at self-promotion of Leonsis.

Please. First off, every owner is also a businessperson. If they weren't, places like the Pepsi Center, General Motors Place, and the HP Pavilion would have different names. Second, the "Ovechkin hat trick" was a play off of a classic term, the "Gordie Howe hat trick" (a goal, an assist, and winning a fight). It's completely unofficial, but the term is valid enough to be on Wikipedia. Ovechkin might be too young to start having things named after him. But I can say for sure that scoring two goals in regulation and the game-winner in a shootout isn't even remotely lame.

Third, Ronald apparently doesn't know anything about Ted Leonsis. He's widely regarded as a fantastic owner, particularly by Capitals fans (and Wizards fans who look forward to his eventual purchase of the team from Abe Pollin). He's extremely accessible, responding personally to most fan emails. Saluting an award-winning film that he had a hand in doesn't feel like self-promotion. You can be proud of an accomplishment without being arrogant, and I'd believe this to be the case with Leonsis.

Let me tell you a quick story. When my father, a Montgomery County police officer, was killed in the line of duty, Leonsis offered complimentary, third-row tickets to a Caps game to my family. So yeah, it gets my goat a little bit when people call him selfish or self-absorbed.

#16 by Potvinsux
That Ovechkin "hat trick" just proves even more that most Caps fans became Caps fans 2 or 3 years ago when they started to get good. Pathetic.

Obviously this commenter is a long-time hockey fan (Felix Potvin hasn't played for a decade), and that's great. I often defer to my "hockey friends" when talking about the sport, because I'm no expert, and I imagine if I knew Potvinsux personally, I'd ask him some of the same questions.

What befuddles me about this person's comment, though, is that he apparently doesn't want anyone else to watch hockey. I get that Potvinsux felt like he was part of some exclusive little club of people who knew all about hockey, but that's not the nature of sports. You can bet that every owner, player, and employee on every team wants more people to like hockey, unequivocally.

And this bizarre attitude isn't isolated to Potvinsux; you hear it with some frequency from hockey fans, which is just insane. This is a sport that had a year-long lockout because it wasn't drawing enough fans, wasn't generating enough money. As a hockey fan, how are you so blind to the advantages of bringing in new fans? How can you begrudge people from supporting the sport that you lost for a year because not enough people supported it? And yet, he calls the new, cap-tossing fans "pathetic." Brilliant.

#53 by Mike
Hats on the ice for a shootout goal? It just goes to show you that the folks going to the arenas these days are clueless idiots. If you know hockey then you should block the arm that is reaching back to throw that hat. Morons.

Just another example of the disdain long-time hockey fans seem to have for new fans. Also, college football overtime is the functional football equivalent to an NHL shootout, and statistics accumulated in college football's overtime periods are added to game and season statistics. FYI.

And also, the official final score of the Capitals/Predators game on Saturday was 3-2; Ovechkin was the only player to put a puck in the net for the Caps. Official or not, Ovechkin accounted for all three "points" for Washington.

Thankfully, there are a few commenters who take the time to point out that Washington isn't the only city that's committed this heinous crime.

#4 by J.P.
"What kind of an idiot throws hats on the ice after a shootout goal quote-unquote completes a hat trick?"
Some Caps fans and apparently some Pens fans, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0lywJZDnds (1:40 mark).

#27 by Ga Hockey
Say what you will about Caps fans (apparenlty it's an easy mark since the team is Southeast div, and no one in the Southeast Div knows how to play hockey pphhbt! ) but I've seen hats fly for the exact same reason in Toronto and Montreal, where apparently everything about hockey is ingrained into every child at birth.

Listen, I get what people are saying. Ovechkin's performance, while impressive, doesn't constitute an official "hat trick" according to the accepted definition. And a lot of Washington fans are still learning a lot about hockey, from rules to strategies to concepts. But by some casual standards, Ovechkin did score three goals, and the schedule reflects a 3-goal night by the Capitals. To name-call over new fans getting excited about their best player putting on a scoring clinic is just petty.

And maybe just a little bit jealous.


Anonymous said...

sounds like a bunch of commenters with superstar envy. sorry, ovechkin doesnt play in your crappy hockey town. good day.

GoodPointJoe said...

Amen broheim...or sista.

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