Saturday, January 7, 2012

Scotiabank Place, Sens Army, and that idiot wearing an out-of-town jersey.

Scotiabank Place located in Kanata, Ontario Canada.  Source.
So,

A long while ago I wondered if I should blog about my feelings on hockey.  I decided no, that I wanted to discuss more thought provoking matters.  However, after watching the Ottawa Senators beat the Tampa Bay Lightning (a surprising and entertaining contest, it was) this past Thursday, I have decided that I would like to share my thoughts in hopes of hearing the opinions of others.

<rant>

In fairness, I have nothing against the actual team or coaching staff of the Ottawa Senators, nor the physical reality of Scotiabank Place.  I have yet to find a bad seat in the stadium, and I find watching a live NHL game is quite enjoyable there.

Having said this, I have a few issues to discuss.  First and foremost would be the "Sens Army".  Army?  Really?  Nevertheless, the moniker is not the choice of the fan, but I take issue with how they conduct themselves.  Quite often during hockey games, the organ will play a tune after which the audience is encouraged to clap twice in rapid succession.  Having been to many Leafs-Senators games, I had noticed that the local fans frequently chant "Leafs suck!" in place of clapping twice.  This was, I thought, quite acceptable practice when the Leafs were visiting Scotiabank Place.  However, the chant does not only happen when the Leafs are in town.  While at the Lightning game, "Leafs suck!" was not only chanted, but proudly displayed on banners during the game.

Really?  Could these fans not simply be proud of their team or, more appropriately, speak ill of the Lightning?  Is it necessary to constantly express your disdain for the Toronto Maple Leafs?  I would like to speak on behalf of all Leafs fans when I say "we know".  We get it.  We understand that we are your sworn and most hated rivals, but I assure you that when Leafs fans go to the Air Canada Centre, they go to loudly cheer their team and taunt the visitors (or so I assume, feel free to refute this).

Further, and to bring Habs fans into the mix, yes, your favourite team is Montreal or Ottawa, and your second favourite is whomever is playing against the Leafs.  Let me say now that it was amusing the first time I heard it, but by the tenth time it had lost its novelty.  Now, when I hear it and watch a grin cross the face of the speaker, I do not get upset or irritated because you hate my team so.  I am irritated because the joke is old, childish and stale.

To introduce a rather technical matter, I would like to address the booing of Dion Phaneuf at Scotiabank Place.  Yes, Leafs fans boo Daniel Alfredsson every time he touches the puck, but the reason is not his captaincy.  Rather, it is the following hit laid on Darcy Tucker (0:15 of the video):


In fact, subsequent to this event, I have seen Alfredsson hit several players from behind without taking a penalty.  My hypothesis for this is that it is assumed Alfredsson "is not the kind of player" who engages in dishonourable hits.  He is, but officials are lenient with players who are "not that kind of player."

I am not sure if this sort of behaviour arises because the Senators are a young team.  Yes, I know that the Senators were a team in the early 20th century, but it was not continuous.  The team turns 20 this year, and perhaps there has not been enough time to breed pride, but only nonreciprocating hatred.  Or perhaps it is that all fans over the age of about the team likely abandoned the Habs or the Leafs to cheer for the Senators.  In either case, I would like to believe that at some point genuine Senators fans will overtake the Leafs haters and I will no longer have to listen to the tripe that has become commonplace.  For example, when Leafs fans visit Scotiabank Place, the common and spontaneous chant that arises is "Go Leafs Go", not "Sens Suck".  They [we] arrive primarily to cheer their [our] team, not to berate the other.

For the record, I am also aware that the plural of the word leaf is leaves.  However, the Toronto Maple Leafs are named after the Maple Leaf regiment of the first World War, and the plural of the proper noun "Maple Leaf" is to use the suffix -s.  The name of the sporting squadron then becomes Toronto Maple Leafs.

As a random aside, I would also like to comment on the person wearing the garb of the Detroit Red Wings at Scotiabank Place, and his ilk who wear garb of the Sabres, Canucks, and even Leafs when the Lightning are playing.  Are you lost?  Are you caught in a mental haze in which you forgot who was playing?  Those fans with jerseys from a different conference are most confusing.  Yes, you are proud of your team, but you are in the wrong place, and you look like an idiot.

Finally, I will admit that the Leafs have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967.  The Senators have won just as many Cup titles in that time.  Maybe a little more pride and a little less hatred would allow the City of Ottawa to keep a franchise in town.

</rant>

NM

P.S.  To you, the silent majority who are legitimate Senators fans who are proud of your team, I apologize.  It is my sincerest hope that your brethren act more like you.

P.P.S. I have since softened my stance on out of town jerseys.  I've talked to a couple people who engage in the practice, and the prevailing line of reasoning is that they are going to a hockey game, so they wear a hockey jersey.  It just so happens that the jersey they own is that of their favourite team and/or player.  I suppose I'll accept that, and it doesn't necessarily make the person an idiot.  I'm going to leave my previous statements above, unaltered, in the interest of transparency, but I will also be leaving my Leafs jersey at home when they're not playing.
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