"New" Capitals Fans Need Lesson in History, Hockey, and Class
—The next person you see wearing an Alexander Ovechkin jersey/shirt/hat I want you to ask him what he thinks of Sergei Gonchar.
Odds are you’ll get one of two responses:
1. “The Penguin scum that got run over by Ovechkin? He’s overrated and Mike Green is so much better than him.”
2. “The former Capital defensemen and perennial All Star? Boy he’d look good on the power play with Mike Green. Too bad he’s a Penguin now.”
The first one represents the new generation of Capital fans that have adopted the team after their stretch of ineptitude that garnered them high caliber players such as Ovechkin and Green.
The second one is the knowledgeable Capitals fan. Yes… they do exist. They do realize that the Capitals franchise existed pre-Ovechkin and that the greatest Capitals of all time are not Federov, Ovechkin, Green, Semin, and Backstrom.
The Capitals have had some great players in their history including Capital great and noted Penguin killer Peter Bondra, former Capital and Penguin players Larry Murphy, Sergei Gonchar, and NHL Hockey Hall of Fame members Rod Langway and Mike Gartner that are ignored by the main Capital population.
The hockey fans that have never heard of Peter Bondra are the same fans who bring pacIfiers to the games, buy Crosby Sucks jerseys, bring air horns and drums to the games and turn Verizon Center into a circus.
One pet peeve of mine while watching a Capitals home game is the ignorance of some members of the crowd. The Philadelphia fans were annoying and somewhat ridiculous, but they were knowledgeable.
In Washington, I was amazed at the crowd’s reactions to simple plays. In Game 2, for example, a Penguin player committed a high stick on the puck and then touched it drawing a whistle and the crowd erupted in cheers. Yay a defensive zone faceoff? A Washington player shoots the puck over the glass and a “Bullsh1t!” chant begins? All fans boo controversial calls but booing obvious, non-Bettman influenced calls? That needs to change if Washington fans are going to get any respect.
—Penguins fans are not perfect nor are any fanbase in the NHL but the majority of Capitals fans need to take a lesson in class from the rest of the league.
During the past two postseasons, Capitals fans have felt the need to act like children multiple times and throw things onto the ice after tough losses. Last season, Joffrey Lupul and Jeff Carter of the Philadelphia Flyers were victimized by flying objects.
In game 7 of the first round series between Philadelphia and Washington, Joffrey Lupul scored in OT to send the Flyers into the next round and to send the Capitals home.
The Capitals fans responded by throwing trash at the Flyers players celebrating the win and Lupul was hit with a small pizza box seen at the 0:43 mark of this video
In a post game interview, Jeff Carter was hit in the head with a beer bottle thrown by a disappointed Capital fan:
This season, Rangers coach John Tortorella had a beer dumped on him during game 5 which prompted him to attempt to gut a fan with a stick. Tortorella’s reaction was over-the-top but once again it was an unruly Capital fan who escalated the confrontation.
Enter the arch-rival of the Capitals, the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the game played last night at the Verizon Center, after
Tom Poti’s Evgeni Malkin’s OT winner, Capital’s fans once again threw trash onto the ice with several pieces hitting the players (0:25 mark):
Seriously, Capitals fans, is that how you believe you are supposed to act at a hockey game? I would be embarrassed if I was a member of that organization.
Capital’s blogger Dan Steinberg has scolded Capitals fans for the trash throwing. I know that the people throwing trash at the games do not represent Capital fans as a whole but there is a large part of the Capital population that need to understand that this should not be accepted by the Washington faithful. (Not to mention the fact that most of the trash ends up falling on your own fans since most fans can’t even reach the ice with a nacho toss.)
All teams have a group of bandwagon fans while the team is doing well. The Penguins have a large group of bandwagon fans as well. But the Penguins bandwagon fans do not act like clowns except while yelling “Shoot!” every five seconds. Bandwagon fans eventually turn into hardcore fans so lets hope the “New” Capital fans figure out how to behave and to enjoy the great talent they are lucky to enjoy on their hometown team without ruining the experience for everyone involved.