Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Backlash to the backlash

As Mudcrutch points out, even local media are jumping on Oilers fans in anticipation of Chris Pronger's return to Rexall.

To sum up: Oilers fans are whiny. They boo too many players. It makes the city look bad.

Let's quickly review: Chris Pronger and his agent negotiated for a long term contract after he was traded, then the dude decides to bolt a year into his deal (okay, fine), and then, while sitting on a beach in Mexico, forces Kevin Lowe's hand by taking it public.

I don't care that in a press conference "to clear up matters," Chris Pronger never could give a straight answer, even to a simple question like "How does leaving Edmonton make your situation better?" We'll never really know. The same way we'll never know why Mike Comrie held out for half a season for more money, and then signed for less with Philadelphia.

Amid the tongue clucking about Oilers fan's boorish behaviour from Kelly Hrudey, The Hockey News and now local media (undoubtedly inspired by a few plastic cups recently thrown on the ice after referee Mick McGeough cost the Oilers a game), what's been missed is that while Oilers fans at Rexall are indeed passionate, they are also well-informed.

The fact the Oilers fans still boo Comrie shows that they remember why he left, in the same way Doug Weight was warmly applauded when he played his first game against the Oilers as a member of the St. Louis Blues (playing against us as a 'Cane in the Stanley Cup Finals excepted, of course).

Shortly after he was traded to the Avalanche -- and I'm still not sure if I approve of this -- I saw Oilers fans give Tommy Salo an ovation as he left the rink. Fans still talk fondly of the ex-Oiler likes of Mike Grier, Todd Marchant and Curtis Joseph, even though they left for more money. Then there's the whole American anthem thing last year in the playoffs. Oilers fans, as much as you can generalize about tens of thousands of people, are doing all right in terms of showing "class" and don't need condescending reminders from media or players. Oilers fans, boo away if the muse moves you.

You could say that fan behaviour on Whyte Avenue during the playoffs was a disgrace (I had to wrestle a guy to the ground after he tried to take my puckhat), but I'm certain it was no worse than Calgary in 2004, the, er, riot, in Vancouver in 1994 or hell, anytime Toronto makes the Stanley Cup Final, dates unknown. This is inevitable outcome of Canadian playoff success and aside from a few jackasses, it's a generally well-contained party for a couple months in spring.

And last I checked, Oilers fans aren't the kind to kill anyone except their own (liberal stabbings are a form of "cheering" whenever any prairie town has playoff success), so unless the guy gets jacked Lee Harvey Oswald-style in Rexall's concourse, which he won't, Chris Pronger will be safe.

...Probably too safe. I bet that jackass gets 3 assist against us tonight.


Scarlett said...

Very well put. We only hold a grudge against those who acted horribly. So yes, Pronger, Comrie (and Weight to me) will never be embraced. My passion does not need to be restrained. The all-of-a-sudden moral media can get off their high horses and just let the fans vent their angry and disappointment. The media stirs up the crowd up and then admonish them for being stirred up. Idiots.

And please be wrong about the 3 assists. I will not be able to be at Rexall and watch the devil get 3 points.

Jim said...

8-ball says 3 assists and a goal.

Stupid 8-ball...

Anonymous said...

I agree, well said. Especially the Edmonton "media", guess what, we`re tired of the lectures.

They should keep in mind the fans buy the papers, pay for internet subscriptions, fill the building, drink the over priced flat beer that would shame even a frat basement keg party.

If the fans want to boo, throw cups on the ice, make rude yet hilarious signs, or even drop trou and show that traitorous bitch the brown eye, that`s just the way she goes.

Customer is still king,


Jim said...

Marty just scored!


Damn, I wish I could watch this. (Not enough to pay $10 for it, though!)

Anonymous said...


Man, I wish I could be following this, but I just spent half an hour trying to find a streaming audio plugin that will work on my toaster oven of an office computer. NO DICE.


Anonymous said...

Word on the street is that Rexall staff went through the stands and rounded up all the negative Pronger signs before the game started. Anyone hear anything about this?

Jim said...

I'd hate to be the po or sumbitch who had to do THAT job, if true.

Scarlett said...

Oilers blew it tonight. And yeah, I saw very few signs. My favorite: I made this poster for Pronger.....for personal reasons.

Anyways, bad loss by the Oil. They had the game, and blew it.

suz said...

Security were confiscating 'offensive' signs right at the door. This included one that said: "Pronger, I know what you did last summer." Freedom of speech be damned at Rexall!

Security was out in full force and very zealous. They hauled away two guys in front of us. One very drunk large guy who had to be carried up the stairs by five security guards, and one guy who did nothing wrong, other than he was cheering for the Oilers in a bright blue Speedo (and nothing else).

Otherwise, boos were moderate. My favourite sight was the guy who wore a cardboard box on his head with an eye-hole cut out of it. On it, he scrawled, 'Pronger's #1 fan".

Andy Grabia said...

So let me get this straight. The Oilers don't mind making a shitload of cash off of our anymosity in terms of a PPV, but they confiscate signs that express that anymosity? I hate everyone involved with that team right now.

Scarlett said...

These signs are really in good fun. Did they confiscate signs during the playoffs last year? No! And some were quite scathing. So come on Oilers, chill out and let the fans have some fun.

Anonymous said...


Finny said...

you know what? I gotta say, I've been abusing this word for the last few days, and I'm about to do it again, but I'm damn jealous of you Canadien folk.

Serious. No joke.

Why? Because you get to live in a place that's hockey-centric, where it's excusable, perhaps expected, to be a hockey nut, to know your shiznit about the game, your team, and the players. Where, when you walk into a local bar and say, "hey, turn up the game" they don't think you mean basketball.

I'm getting in a real sour mood with this jealousy kick I'm on, but I thought I'd let you know that I think Edmonton (and even Calgary, but don't be pissed at me for thinking it) is a great place. I'm so jealous of you guys for being constantly surrounded by passionate fans of hockey.

Again, jealous and maybe a little bitter. I'll get over it. Really, I'm much nicer than this comment may make me sound...

bleh. California.

Finny said...

Canadien folk.

I meant, Canadian. My spelling's been off too.

mike w said...

I agree... then again, I high-tailed Edmonton the moment I got a chance.

suz said...

Hey, it's not so bad here!

Oh, wait. Yes it is.

I have to go now to check the MLS listings in Victoria.

Suz in southwest Edmonton

Anonymous said...

This is on another cord than the I love Canada stuff, But does anyone else feel on a hockey low right now.With the team charging pay per view on THE game, stealing signs of people who may have been scalped for $300 to get the chance to go show off thier well thought out comment that they took the time to write down on a big ass piece of paper. And then when it all comes down to it, Quiting right at the end. Letting that Panty ass run home with the win and an assist. Not straight home of course, I'm sure he stopped by to visit some reporter who wanted to help him put the booing behind him on the way to the airport.