I have mentioned before that our section for home hockey games is like the United Nations of Hockey, as we tend to get a lot of fans from the away team. Last Friday night was no different.
I always try to be cordial to those sitting around us because I would hope they are there as fans rooting for their team AND enjoying a sport they love. Sadly though, this is NEVER successful with the teams from Pennsylvania, at least with my interactions.
The couple behind us complemented us on how nice the arena was (as I’m thinking in my head you haven’t heard the sound system yet) and I let them know it is undergoing a huge renovation this summer. We continued chatting as warmups had not yet begun and they talked about supporting their team in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (I called them brave souls) and once saw the Flyers fan club thrown out of a game against the Islanders for throwing beers at them and many others in the stands. Sensing a bit of nervousness from them I assured the couple that we were there to have a good time and not to worry about us; although I do an awful lot of yelling during the game.
Hubby and I settled down to watch the game and I chatted back and forth with the Islander fans now sitting next to us.
The saying goes that Tom Wilson lives in the minds of the Islander players. I can confidently say the same is true for the fans. After the game on Thursday I took to Twitter to read some of the comments about the game, mostly because the sheer ridiculousness of some of the things said provide me with roll your eyes entertainment. One thing being constantly bantered about was that Islanders’ Ross Johnston should be out for Willy during the game, and that [Cal] Clutterbuck, who by the way was lucky Devante Smith-Pelly was stopped from showing him some manners, shouldn’t be the one to fight Wilson. Instigate, take cheap shots, and turtle as I say; reminds me of someone else we all know and don’t like.
I wasn’t surprised that during the second period, Wilson was, in my opinion jumped by Johnston. You would have thought the Islanders had won the Stanley Cup with the excitement coming from the fans next to me. (He likes Johnston as the “enforcer” of the team) Of course he wasn’t as happy when it resulted in Johnston being ejected from the game and a power play goal being scored.
I could just imagine my husband rolling his eyes when I asked the young man about Clutterbuck spearing Wilson the night before with three referees present. His response? It was okay as retaliation for the hit Wilson made on Cizikas. I told him I understand someone not being happy about a hit, which by the way was not assessed a penalty, but stabbing someone in the family jewels (not the term I used) wasn’t exactly the stand up way to do it. Wanting to deflect from my response he came back saying our coach telling the press that the Caps’ team was basically able to skate anywhere they wanted during the game without much effort was not something that should have been said even if it was true. Never one to miss a postgame interview I politely refuted that claim and told him that quote was from a young forward on the team and indeed Trotz I believe, said it wasn’t one of the team’s best games. In hindsight a zinger I didn’t mean to sling, or did I?
In the third period my seat mate commented that he could watch No. 13 skate all night. Me being all Caps all the time I told him that indeed Vrana is a wonderful skater, not thinking he was referring to Barzal. We talked about Tavares and whether fans thought he would re-sign with the team. The consensus with both sets of fans is he doesn’t want to harm the team but also wants to win and their confidence of having him next season is shifting more towards greater uncertainty. He did say he thought the Islanders were going after John Carlson before the trade deadline which is something I personally hadn’t heard. One thing he was pretty sure of is the hate for the Rangers is such that he could never imagine No. 91 (Tavares) going there.
I asked about Jason Chimera being traded to the Anaheim Ducks; I swear I watched the game and only conversed during stoppage in play. To him the Islander fans have not been nice to him as of late because the decline in his play (hmmm we know something about that) and he wasn’t happy not playing as much so as they say, a change of scenery was needed. The Islanders, in his words, basically traded a bench warmer for a bench warmer (Wagner), so the trade was a wash.
He and his seat mate decided to leave before the end of the game (the couple above us had already left) and I wished them safe travels. He looked at me like I had three heads. Are the Islander fans not used to niceties? Was he waiting for me to add insult to injury by telling him his team stunk and throw my beer (that I don’t drink) at him? We all know the Capitals stink up the ice at times so I’m never one to throw stones.
No matter the outcome of any game I believe fans should be able to have a good time in any barn they visit, as I believe all hockey fans should be respectful if they are visiting a barn other than their own. We bantered back and forth during the game tonight, agreed to disagree on certain players, and commiserated with each other on our prospective teams’ playoff woes.
To any Caps’ fans or fans of opposing teams, come watch a game with us in section 217, I’ll gladly talk hockey with you, ask you to sit back if you block my view, and most of all share in a sport we all love!
By Lisa Desabrais