Friday, May 18, 2007

Pair of Senators Fans Embarrass Country

Apparently a couple of tough guys in Ottawa could use a run-in with Georges Laraque

In Canada, hockey is a big deal. Any Canadian knows this. In fact, anyone, anywhere in the world, who can find Canada on a map probably knows this.

Canadians are passionate about hockey. But the recent behaviour of a pair of Ottawa Senators fans is beyond the pale.

According to news reports, two Senators' fans attacked a female Buffalo Sabres fan after she told them they could "put [their] brooms away." According to her husband, Sean, Renee Luck was pushed to the ground, then punched in the face repeatedly after the incident.

"One of the gentlemen -- actually, I can't call him a gentleman -- pushed our friend down, then pushed my wife down," Luck explains. "She got up and said, 'are you kidding me?' That's when the other guy hit her probably four or five times in the face."

"What kind of person does that?" he asked.

Obviously, the kind of person who takes a hockey game way too seriously. Also, a person who probably isn't all that bright. While a 3-0 lead in a playoff series always puts the sweep possibility in play, a team like the Buffalo Sabres simply isn't going to be washed out of the playoffs in four games. Especially not in the conference final.

While revolting, the incident really underscores the situation in the Eastern Conference final. No matter who wins this series, the fans of the team that loses are going to be extremely, extremely angry. Ottawa has been to the Conference finals before, in years they were expected to win the Stanley Cup, and lost. The Buffalo Sabres were so terrible for so long that their fans expect nothing less from the Presidents' Trophy winners -- especially given that, with Daniel Briere and Chris Drury set to become unrestricted free agents come July 1, it is very unlikely that the Sabres will be able to ice this line-up again come October.

All this aside, the behaviour of the fans in question -- who have been taken into custody, although charges haven't necessarily been laid yet -- is absolutely inexcusable.

Unfortunately, inexcusable behaviour seems to have become synonymous with playoff success in Canada. Last year, Oilers fans tore up Whyte Avenue in Edmonton following Oilers victories. In 2004, Flames fans in Calgary did the same to the Red Mile (although their fans won't admit to it).

Personally, I never thought I would say this: but perhaps Canadians could stand to take hockey a little less seriously.

A league in which millionaires get paid to play a children's game simply isn't worth fighting over.

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