With news that Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn had been suspended by the Predators for tonight’s Game 3 against the Coyotes, Bourne wrote a great piece on the “inner workings of pro curfew,” which gave us all a behind the scenes kind of look at how curfews work for pros and how strictly those curfews are enforced.
What I’m now wondering is how the fans will react to the team’s suspensions.
For those of us who are either hockey fans without a rooting interest in the Predators/Coyotes series or are simply writing about the series in some way, it’s easy to say that hardcore Preds fans should be furious, or at least angry, at Radulov and Kostitsyn, who should have known better.
It’s easy for us to say that the team had to enforce their rules and send the right message, because let’s face it, they did have to.
And if Nashville manages a Game 3 win without the players in question, I’m sure fans in the Music City will feel the same way. They’ll celebrate the win and discuss the great team management of Barry Trotz and company, and so they should.
But if the Predators lose tonight and go down 0-3 to the Coyotes in a close game, in a low scoring affair or if they’re shut out, there are going to be Predators fans who argue that Radulov and Kostitsyn should have been on the ice, regardless of their indiscretions (and regardless of how poorly Radulov played in Game 2).
Say what you will now, but at the end of the day, a passionate sports fan dealing with a crushing defeat doesn’t care about what players do in their private time, they don’t care how late players were out the night before, they don’t care if the players have to abide by the same type of on the job rules they’re subject to in their daily lives. For the most part, the way the passionate fan sees it is if the player isn’t hurting anyone, isn’t committing a crime, and if they can be of value on the ice/field/court, then you better play that damn player, because I payed to see a winning team, not to see you teach a couple of guys a lesson in punctuality.
It’s hypocritical, since a lot of times, fans complain that pro athletes have it too easy. But after a loss, it’s the truth, and if the Predators lose tonight, even though some fans will point to Radulov and Kostitsyn as the ones in the wrong, as the selfish players who may have ruined a special season (as they should), a lot of other fans will simply wonder, could they have helped our team tonight, and if so, why the hell weren’t they on the ice?
In the heat of the moment, I can’t say I’d blame those fans.
Now here are your morning links:
- The Canadiens have reportedly selected Marc Bergevin as their new general manager (Chicago Tribune).
- Suspending two stars may motivate the Predators (Arizona Daily Star).
- Down 0-2, it seems that the Predators are in the grips of their “four-year jinx” (Clarksville Leaf Chronicle).
- The Capitals aren’t watching the clock when it comes to Alexander Ovechkin’s ice time (The Examiner).
- It’s time to take notice of the Devils (ESPN). They finished with 102 points and ended the season on a six-game winning streak, but even I’ll admit that I saw the Devils as nothing more than the lucky team who drew the Panthers in Round One. Does New Jersey have another run left in them, or is it too premature to “take notice” of the Devils?
- Without Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils are going to need David Clarkson’s grit more than ever (The Star-Ledger). Clarkson scored what would stand as the game-winner last night and celebrated by trying to grope the net.
- Ilya Bryzgalov did all he could in Philadelphia’s Game 2 loss to New Jersey (CSNPhilly.com).
- Ken Hitchcock and Darryl Sutter took similar paths into these playoffs (STLtoday.com).
- Jeff Carter credits the Kings’ stretch drive towards the end of the regular season for L.A.’s early playoff success (Philadelphia Inquirer).
- David Booth killed a Chara-sized black bear (Puck Daddy). Is that Kris Draper on the far right?
- This is from yesterday, but an interesting take comparing Alexander Ovechkin and Amare Stoudemire (Sporting News).