Gutless – lacking courage or determination.
Unclassy – lacking in good taste or sense; crude.
Both of these terms have been tossed back and forth between the Vancouver and Boston camps since the beginning of the Stanley Cup Final. They’ve been used so often and so stupidly that for many people, the words have lost their venom. Even the supposedly “unbiased” media is jumping on the wagon of name-calling, labelling the Sedin Twins “Thelma and Louise” (Mike Milbury, NBC/Versus) or calling the Canucks a bunch of classless, gutless brutes (Barry Rozner, Daily Herald).
It’s pretty apparent that the Canucks and their fans are more often the culprits of these accusations compared to the Bruins, who time and time again are coming off as the victims, despite HNIC calling the series’ officiating in favour of the Bruins and the countless horror stories from Canucks fans brave enough to go to Boston.
What’s disgusted me is how this whole series has spiralled into a savage show of brutality, finger-pointing, whining and name calling from both cities. Is this really what hockey has come down to?
A grown man elbowing a nine-year-old boy in the head for wearing a Canucks jersey?
Or Canucks fans calling Milan Lucic’s parents at all hours of the night to swear at them?
Some parents should be more concerned about their own terrible behaviour rubbing off on their children rather than that of the players’ on the ice.
The lowest point in this entire series so far is what happened in Game 6 when Mason Raymond went down awkwardly into the boards and laid on the ice while Boston fans cheered, clapped and chanted. Then while Raymond’s limp body was carried off the ice by his teammates, fans in TD Garden actually booed.
Today it was revealed Raymond has fractured vertebrae in his back and will be out 3-4 months.
Fans across the NHL know that you never boo an injured player off the ice no matter how much you hate the opposing team. It’s the epitome of bad taste, or “unclassy” behaviour if you want to recycle some redundant terminology. It was a disgusting, embarrassing show of behaviour at TD Garden, and yes, I did actually expect more from Boston fans despite the shame spiral this series has turned into.
Even NHL Connected had something to say about this today:
“Bruins fans: how do you feel now after the merciless booing you rained down upon Raymond as he struggled on the ice with a broken back?”
And somehow Vancouver is the classless city of the two? Really? Because when Horton went down in Boston, fans watching on the JumboTron at Rogers Arena applauded in support when he left the ice.
Today @lizzmoffat tweeted: “When Horton was hit everyone at the Rogers (Arena) viewing party clapped him off. Boston booed off MayRay. I think that says a lot.”
Vancouver has a reason to be very upset with Boston’s performance last night. It didn’t matter who was hurt; an injured player should never be booed off the ice, especially not a harmless Mason Raymond who hasn’t done anything to garner hatred in Bean Town.
Some Twitter reactions to the incident:
Sportswriter Joe Haggerty: “One thing I can confidently say I didn’t like tonight: Bruins crowd yelling at Mason Raymond while he was seriously hurt on the ice. Brutal.”
From Nanaimo, BC: @Tambellini_Girl: “What’s more “classless” than making fun of Raymond while he’s hurt on the ice? I’ve never hated other team’s fans until yesterday.”
I could go on, but what’s the point? There’s one more game left to play in this series, and I have to admit that despite how much I love hockey, I can’t wait for it to be over for a while. Obviously I hope that Vancouver walks away with its first Stanley Cup in franchise history, but another part of me is glad the series will be finished after all the continuously ruthless crap going on between the two cities.
I don’t think the good name of hockey (or what’s left of it) can afford any more incidents like this if the sport is going to walk away with any scrap of dignity after Wednesday.
Normally I’d end this kind of post with “stay classy” but what’s the point? That ship sailed a long time ago.
So I’ll end with what every Canucks fan is thinking, and what every Bruins fan should be admitting:
We hope you’ll be okay, Raymond. See you next season.