Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Lunchtime Troll

Unlike the last overhyped game versus the Thrashers, where the media was fueling the fire, tonight's rematch with Buffalo seems to be drawing much of its furor from the fans. So what better way for me to spend my lunch hour than trolling the Buffalo blogs, message boards and website, taking the temperature of these passionate fans on what to expect tonight.

(Listen, I do this kind of stuff so you don't have to - I'm protecting you from the whole new breed of crazy that has been spawned in Sabre-land...)

So far everything seems eerily quiet among the more respectable Buffalo bloggers - the only thing I have seen to this point was the one I mentioned in my gameday preview update. I don't know if they're just worn out from the holidays or they're truly out of vitriol for one Alex Ovechkin.

I'll go with the latter.

Next stop, the Buffalo website, where a tiny poll at the bottom of their home page caught my eye, and I quote: "SHOULD HAVE ALEX OVECHKIN BEEN SUSPENDED FOR HIS HIT ON DANIEL BRIERE LAST TIME THE TWO TEAMS MET? Yes; No; Yes if Briere had been injured". Well, I'm trolling so I figured I might as well vote, and of course I was in the minority.

The results at last check - [Update] 1275 votes tallied, with 79% (1013 votes) saying Ovie should have been suspended. Shocker. Did they really think this poll was going to yield any surprises?

Bad grammar aside, the Buffalo website was pretty benign, with no mention of the hit on Ovie in their game night story. So I headed over to the message boards - the last bastion of free speech for nut jobs scattered among the normal fans, no matter what the city or sport.

First of all, it's interesting to see the change in opinion after that sucker punch by Nichol on Spacek the other night. I saw a lot of comments from people saying it put the Ovie hit into perspective, that it was still stupid but clearly not in the same league. Then there were the obligatory morons saying the 9-game suspension only proves the NHL only punishes you if you're not a superstar. All in all, though, people seemed to agree that what Nichol did was far worse.

Other than that, opinion has pretty much shifted away from the "Kill Ovechkin" mindset to a milder "Hit Ovechkin and score lots of goals" mindset, which is much healthier. I think the recent losses to St. Louis and Florida have humbled them a bit and they see this as a must-win game. They're finally healthy again and people don't want their guys getting hurt or suspended trying to enact revenge when two points are at stake.

That being said, you've still got the people who want there to be bloodshed and one fan who even suggested that Ovechkin get drilled into the boards headfirst a few times. Another equally enlightened fan started a thread entitled "Will Ovechkin cease to exist 12 hours from now...", with the summary "In layman's terms, will he be dead?" [Glad they cleared that up - ceasing to exist can mean so many things...]

The fan who started the thread incidentally had other similarly classy things to say within the thread, including "I think we should give Peters a 1 year extension today, with a $500,000 dollar signing bonus. Thus he could turn him into a quadriplegic and he won't lose any money when he's suspended. (I'm a genius)" and my favorite, "One dead AO or 5 good checks, I'll take either...". The signature of this particular fan also includes this catchy little rhyme: "Make the world a better place, punch Ovechkin in the FACE!"

Ah, message boards. You never let me down.

Crazy people aside, one thing is for sure - Ovechkin is going to be booed tonight for the first time in his career. The players may have moved on to some extent and the fans may not want blood anymore, but they still don't like him and they'll let him know it all night long. It will be interesting to see how he handles it. I personally think he can take it, and he can take the extra hitting too...we all know how many times a big guy from the opposition has lined Ovie up for a big check and ended up on his rear end instead.

I just hope it's an entertaining, hard-fought game by both sides. If the Caps win, great - icing on the cake. But I don't think anyone will be particularly upset or surprised if the Caps lose. As long as they play like we know they can, I'll be satisfied.

Kind of.

But I'd still like a win.


Victor said...

Please tell me you got your immunizations before heading into the cesspool that is Buffaslug message boards...

CapsChick said...

I had to get two kinds of shots, because I went to the HFBoards and the Buffaslug website. As an extra precaution, I'm quarantining myself in my apartment to watch tonight's game.

I'll also need extensive therapy...

DCSportsChick said...

I know what you mean. Chanuck and I held our breath and drove as fast as possible through Buffalo on Friday so that we wouldn't ingest any of their stupid germs.

The Acid Queen said...

You're a better woman than I, dear--no way in Hel would I go anywhere near those festering pustules on the ass-end of humanity!

Too bad the Caps couldn't pull it out against the Slugs last night--though it was amusing to see the Sabres fans whining that Ovechkin has no class. Oh, the irony. The irony of it all.