By now if you are a fan of the New York Rangers, you have heard the
idiotic comments made by Washington Capitals’ head coach Bruce Boudreau, where he called out Madison Square Garden for being “nothing”, while saying some aspects of the arena and locker room area “horrible”. There is no need to reiterate what writers and bloggers have already said, such as how Boudreau tries to deflect the blame of every loss because he cannot handle it. This all comes from a coach who can’t speak to his players in the locker room without using an expletive every other word, a coach that would be nothing without the four all-stars he was handed, and who really run the team.
We saw this two seasons ago, when the Rangers last faced the Capitals in a playoff series. As soon as the Capitals began to trail in the series, the coach, along with the players, whined and deflected the blame away from themselves. Last time it was Avery calling Boudreau the “…fattest, [bleep]ing pig” he had ever seen, to which the coach cried about to the media. The Capitals then sent Alex Ovechkin to spy on the team during their morning skate, when he was seen sitting in the stands. What other team in the league does this? People complain about Crosby and the Penguins being whiners, but when do they ever take it to the media (Mario Lemiuex’s asinine statement regarding headshots aside). At least they maintain some standard of professionalism. The Capitals—their fans, as well as players and coaches—are the biggest bunch of immature imbeciles I have ever seen. Considering the franchise has not one championship to their degree and the arena was empty for years leading up to the post-lockout Ovechkin era, they really can’t say much. The players jump up and down like girls when they score a goal and win, then they complain, call out officials (and arenas, apparently) when they lose.
Bruce Boudreau also noted how the Verizon Center is louder than MSG. Perhaps it is due to the noise added over the sound speaker that is generated in order to pump up fans and get them cheering. Madison Square Garden does not have such a feature, because they don’t need one. At least Rangers fans know the difference between a blue line and a clothes line. Then there is the issue of Capitals’ fans pelting the Rangers’ bench with items during the game. Last season, it agitated John Tortorella so much that he, in turn, threw a water bottle at a fan and shouted obscenities at them. This time, it was assistant coach Mike Sullivan, who got hit with ice cubes at the end of Game Two, with a security guard standing just feet away no less, prompting him to turn around, and have Tortorella come over to tell him to ignore it. There is that immaturity again. I have been watching hockey for many years, and I cannot recall many instances of fans throwing food at a bench, yet the two most recent occasions were both against the Capitals, in their own building.
Tomorrow night, Game Four will be played at the quiet, decrepit, squalor known as Madison Square Garden. Perhaps Rangers fans should do something in return, to let Boudreau know just what kind of fans we have here. I am not advocating showering the bench with beer (at almost $10 a pop you wouldn’t want to either) because that would be stooping down to the same below sea-level altitude their fans are at, but it is time to get creative. Perhaps a chant or two other than “Potvin Sucks!” which still seems to echo from antiquity will be heard. It’s time to bring back the old MSG atmosphere from years gone by, when the air was hostile and opposing teams and fans were not given any iota of respect. Their fans have shown us none, so why not return the favor?