Boo-urns?

Redefining Unleash the Fury

It was another flat-footed Caps PP during the third on Tuesday night, and it sucked a little more than usual – our boys couldn’t even get the puck into the Islanders’ zone. 

This failure was preceded by 40+ minutes of all-too-typical sloppy and uninspired play…at a point in the season where that’s getting old, real old, especially against lesser teams, and extra especially while playing those teams at home.

Everyone, on or off the ice, has been frustrated since early December.  That frustration erupted Tuesday evening with a loud chorus of boos during that particular craptacular PP.  There was a smattering of boos in last Friday’s Ranger debacle, but Tuesday was different; that outburst was in especially poor form – we proved to be very bad hosts that night.

Three new guys, who we hope carry us well into the spring were on the ice for the first time, and Calle was in the house.  The boos were disrespectful to those veteran players who worked hard (Arnott with an assist and Wideman doing 26:44), our guests, and especially Neuvy, who kept us in the game.

File Photo: From the Sads File

We’ve heard a lot about Caps fans’ inflated expectations coming off some high-flying, high-scoring seasons.  Coach Boudreau himself said, “We deserve to get booed…” after the Rangers humiliation, but still, Caps fans should set the example of better behavior.

Call it an old-fashioned gay sensibility, but we just don’t cotton to bad manners.

It’s normally a given that any Washington team’s fan base is better mannered than the hooligans, ruffians and riff-raff that haunt the arenas and stadiums in what are considered to be far less sophisticated markets, but on Tuesday night, we came off as the boorish ones.

To help us put Tuesday’s vulgar display into perspective, we asked some sportswriter pals if there is a DC Exceptionalism with the home teams; do Washingtonians generally behave better than other fan bases? 

First, from friend and noted sportswriter, Dave McKenna:

“I think it’s a sign of the times more than anything — fans are booing the home team everywhere these days, and the athletes are getting peeved about it all over.

I feel like I’ve read the “don’t boo us!” story a hundred times in the last year.  But with the Caps, and I’m trying to put together a story on this very topic, this is fallout from the incredible expectations everybody around here has for this team this year.

Ted has set up a cup or nothing situation ever since last year’s flame out, and people love and trust him so much they believed him to the point where they feel they’re owed a title.

I am really afraid of what’s going to happen if there is no Cup, and it sure looks like there ain’t gonna be a Cup. The Caps will have to blow themselves up to satisfy the fans, even though the parts are about the same as last year.  That makes me sad.  I like people to stay!  I hate the trading deadline day!!!

Booing when the score’s 1-0 and your team’s like in 5th place in the conference makes me sad, too.  They’re booing for the season, not the game.”

Colleague and friend, Dave Levy, offers this:

“I don’t know if DC has the “culture of booing” any more, and part of that is the fractured fan base. I think it’s also just that we aren’t at the level of other pro-sports towns (at least in this current era).

I think the booing crowd requires at least one – if not both – of the following: Expectations and History.

The Caps are getting booed now because they’ve actually built a fan base that has been used to electric offense in the last few years, but that outage has been brutal at home. That’s not a DC thing, insomuch as it may have only been caused by the lack of anyone else about which to actually give a crap.

Redskins fans are too tired to boo, Wizards fans haven’t existed in years, and there are probably five other baseball fan bases better represented in the District. While the Redskins probably come close to the history exception, I think any interest enough to even show dissatisfaction has been beaten out of them in the [REDACTED] era.

Compared to other regions, I think this is a little out-of-place for DC.  You’ll see it in NY (where expectations are always sky-high) and partially in Boston for the same reason. In the south, you have college football bases that may be more inclined to rain down the cacophony of discontent, part due to both factors.

And in Philly, they boo because they have the expectation every morning of waking up in that town.  DC, though?  Not the style. Dresses and pigs’ noses? That’s DC style.”

And Vinnie Perrone, award-winning writer and raconteur:

“I’d surmise the Caps’ phenomenon as one of cumulative frustration: Fans get cranky when a tricked-out, souped-up sports car only revs its engine and spins its wheels. If they’d been losing 5-4, I don’t know that the catcalls would have been so prominent, if even existent.

With the Caps, the disenchantment seems driven more by the team’s general underperformance, especially offensively, given its supposed firepower. The incongruity, of course, is that the team’s transition to a defense-first philosophy has made it simultaneously less flamboyant and better steeled for the Stanley Cup.

The U-Maryland basketball crowd, for what it’s worth, is as base and coarse as they come, cursing and demeaning opposing players in a most hostile way. Despite it all, they rarely seem to boo the Terps, even this humdrum season.”

We're better than this, right?

A lot of raucous behavior at a hockey game can be excused, but booing your team at such a critical part of the game and season, and maybe just as bad, fleeing before the final horn, is classless. Unhappy with the level of play? STFU. Want to beat the traffic? STFD. 

Two dumb suckers below us in some expensive 200 level seats decided to get a jump on traffic and fled Verizon with a minute and a half to go in regulation. They bolted before Neuvy, only to reappear after Laich lit the lamp.

“Welcome back,” we hooted.  They were in for a rewarding two minutes of hockey.

More on Dave and Vinnie here.

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29 Responses to Boo-urns?

  1. Billy says:

    Some people (who don’t deserve being called fans) are just fair-weather fans. Booing the home team is a classless act. For what it’s worth, if you’re dissatisfied, don’t go to the Caps games anymore and let enthusiastic fans who are being left out because of sold out games get the chance to go and cheer the team they love, in good times and bad times. I was in the Verizon Center for Friday’s fiasco, and the booing was more hurtful than the actual score!

  2. Dave says:

    I am not one to boo the home team, but fans pay a lot of money to see well-c0mpensated athletes compete. When those athletes don’t appear ready or interested to compete — as had been the case the previous two home games — fans have every right to voice their frustration. Sports is results-oriented. 180 minutes without a goal at home? BOOOOOOO!!!! Sorry, but there is nothing wrong with that.

    • Colin says:

      Do you think booing is really going to motivate the players though? No, its just going to frustrate them further and get them even less off their game. Cheering, I think, is more effective in producing the desired results…

  3. Jeremy says:

    I am anything but a fair weather fan. First game: 1974-75 season. Number of years holding season tickets: 25+. I booed the other night. LOUDLY.

    Why? Let me put it this way: the Washington Capitals charge $110 per ticket per game for my seats. That’s $220 per night. In back-to-back games against the Rangers and Islanders the Caps had (at the time at which the booing started) played consistent mind-numbing hockey. Cost: $440 and roughly 8 hours of my time (travel included).

    Through both “games,” the coach stands there (five rows from me) and is completely dumbfounded. I’m not saying he LOOKS dumbfounded. I’m saying he IS dumbfounded. He’s Glen Hanlon hapless. As a player he shirked away his chances (and admits so in his own book about himself). Why is anyone surprised his team seldom plays to its potential?

    And THAT is my point behind booing: playing to your potential. This team hasn’t done that much this year and wasn’t doing that the other night. Losing is one thing, playing like you can’t be bothered is another. THAT gets you booed in my book because you aren’t WORTHY OF THE JERSEY that players like Langway and Hunter and Ciccarelli literally fought for.

    I HATED seeing a guy like David Steckel traded. No matter the game or the situation, Steckel gave all he had every shift. Now he’s gone because guys like Bruce and OV and Brooks just couldn’t be bothered with going 60-minutes a game night in and night out this season. Steckel gave it all — and THAT type of play I cheer for win or lose.

    Find ONE PERSON who feels Ovechkin has played a full 60 minutes every game this year. Go ahead: ONE (other than Cotton Candy Ted Leonsis who blogs sugar and air and thinks it’s real). #8 has been Floatvechkin far more often this year than he’s been Ovechkin. If he can find his way to the ATM, and the latest TV commercial and/or fashion shoot set, is it too much to ask that he find his way to play like he cares in actual games?

    And why isn’t anyone with the team calling him out? Where is Bruce? Where is George? Where is Ted?

    This BS cost us Steckel and when I saw MORE OF IT against the Islanders, yes, I booed. And no I’m not giving up my seats to “let enthusiastic fans who are being left out because of sold out games get the chance to go and cheer and cheer the team they love, in good times and bad times.” I love all the new fans. Really! But I expect this team and this owner to perform fair return value for the price they charge (and the time I invest). If you feel this team is putting out its end of the deal, cheer. If I don’t feel as much, I boo. And if you’ve been around so long (“through good times and bad”) you should have season tickets dating long ago — getting a ticket shouldn’t be a problem.

    BTW, and for what it’s worth, I’m a gay Caps fan too… if you girls want “an old-fashioned gay sensibility, (where) we just don’t cotton to bad manners” that’s fine. I want a Stanley Cup. And these players and their coach are performing like dogs. I’ll get my mannered experiences elsewhere.

  4. Jim says:

    I’m sick and tired of all these people saying it’s in “bad form”, “poor taste”, “classless”, etc. to boo your team when they are not playing well. There is a time and a place for it. How else is a fan to show their displeasure at the level of play of the team? I’m not going to cheer for a team that COULDN’T EVEN GET THE PUCK IN THE ISLANDER ZONE OVER A SPAN OF TWO MINUTES ON THE PP. That was sloppy, uninspired “hockey”. Inexcusable. They absolutely deserved to get booed during/after that PP.

  5. NovaCath says:

    Sorry, but sometimes the Caps deserve the boos. Several years ago, you knew that the team wasn’t going to make the playoffs, but they played hard and put in the effort. Now, there are games where they put in maybe 10 minutes of effort. I am fine with 1-0 games and the more defensive style of play. I don’t care if they lose if they put in the effort all game long. The organization raised the expectations of the fans, which is what is leading to increased booing.

    I haven’t booed this year, but I did boo before Hanlon was fired. Booing doesn’t mean you hat the team or you are not a fan. It can mean that you know that they can do better. And by the way, there are many reasons why people leave the game before the end but I don’t think that makes them “classless” or “dumb suckers.” I stayed until the end of games for over 10 years.

    I am not going to sell all of the weeknight games, but with my job schedule and health issues, I have to had to leave at the end of the second period more this season. So, I am getting tired of others who think it is OK to call someone who leaves a game early “classless.” Does it make you feel better or feel superior to say that?

  6. Jeremy says:

    NovaCath says:
    I haven’t booed this year, but I did boo before Hanlon was fired.

    For new fans (and I seriously love the new fans/am not one of the older fans who resent the newbies or whatever), it’s a good lesson here that NovaCath references: Glen Hanlon.

    People refer to Glan Hanlon now as if everybody long knew how bad the guy performed as coach of the Caps. And, it’s been well documented: Bruce came in and, with essentially the same players, the Caps turned a terrible season into gold.

    What people forget: how Ted and George did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING until the booing of Glen Hanlon and his team got so bad that they realized they had to do something, that the situation could simply go on no longer.

    Bruce, at first, was an interim coach. Bruce wasn’t the solution. The team made a coaching change long after it should have and ONLY when the situation on ice and in the stands (half empty as they were) got unbearable. (Google George’s quotes from that agonizing time, people.)

    This sort of thing extends back through Ted’s ownership. For new fans, google Butch Cassidy. Things got so bad with him, and Ted and George took so long before shooting ‘Ol Yeller, that there was a fan who took to yelling FIRE CASSIDY! right after the opening face off of home games. It got so bad in the 1/3rd full arena that EVERYONE heard and EXPECTED to hear it booming out loud: FIRE CASSIDY.

    It went on for weeks. Finally, Ted and George took action. The night they fired Cassidy, everybody was waiting to hear what the fan would yell out after opening face off so much so that everybody quieted down right after the opening face off and heard: THANK YOU! The place erupted with laughter. Everybody laughed — the Caps players, the refs.

    If people thought booing the other night was bad, read up on what it was like when Ted and George left Hanlon and Cassidy out to dry too long. And to be VERY clear, BOTH Hanlon and Cassidy were and are “good guys” — it just got to be time to move them out, which is part and parcel of coaching pro sports and owning a pro sports franchise, and Caps ownership/management did NOTHING.

    When key people in the equation don’t hold up their end of the deal (despite what they say or blog), THAT is when people boo and when those being booed deserve it.

    So, two points if your writers/McKenna are serious about covering this topic:

    1. fans expressing their displeasure is fair because

    2. as Caps history shows, booing is a productive way to communicate with ownership/management that is consistently slow to act when something is obvious — like Bruce having lost his team’s attention as much as Hanlon and Cassidy lost theirs.

  7. kat says:

    Thanks for putting this out there. I’ve been getting worried that we’re slowly morphing into Philly fans. *Shudder*

  8. Jay says:

    I was saying Boo-urns.

  9. Cookie Monster says:

    I’m glad someone wrote about this. This season fans seem to have an itchy trigger finger on the boos. I don’t like booing and I don’t think it helps the team either. As people have said, this team seems to be mentally fragile, especially this year, and booing undermines their confidence even more. This year the Caps don’t seem able to use booing as a rallying cry; therefore, booing is counterproductive. I’d rather shout encouragement and try to bring their energy up instead of adding to their troubles.

    That being said, I can understand booing during the fiasco against the Rangers. However, the booing against the Islanders was uncalled for. There were three new people trying to find their feet. The first period wasn’t as bad as people are saying and players showed some speed and effort. It was only the 2nd PP. It was only a one goal game. As for the Islanders, give them some credit. They have been improving over the past two years. They put up a good fight.

    Caps fans are becoming too hasty and excessive in their booing. It cheapens the message and ruins the game experience.

  10. Im a grand line says:

    So…you are criticising fans for…er…being critical? Ok.
    Sorry the booing doesn’t sit well with you – but 36 years of frustration don’t sit well with me. Neither does 40 straight games of power play ineptitude. Nor does decades of playoff futility. Nor does back-to-back games where millionaires put forth a worse effort than my beer league team…after a crate of beers.

    Not only will I continue to boo them – but I will call out those players who don’t put forth the kind of effort I expect from professionals. Semin and Shultz deserve to be booed for their miserable play. The coach deserves to be booed (and fired) for not having a clue on how to adapt within a game. The captain of the team deserves to be booed for showing all the leadership of a french soldier.

    Like it or not – I will cheer when they play well and boo when they play poorly. Think of it as a form of revolution…much in vogue these days. Not every player has been miserable this year…and OV has shown a bit of a pulse lately…but all in all, this has been one of the most frustrating teams I’ve seen…ranking up there with the Cassidy/Jagr Caps.

  11. I wrote about how a certain segment of the Caps fan base had a sense of entitlement a little while back (http://capsnewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2011/02/caps-fans-entitled-to-stanley-cup.html) after crowd-sourcing on Twitter. Found it fascinating.

    I blame an influx of over-expectant Redskins fans jumping on the Caps bandwagon (Kidding. Not really.).

    I think most fans have only one way to express their opinion, and that’s with their voices. You cheer when you’re happy with the performance, and boo when you’re not. I think it’s a fair way to express one’s opinion, as long as it’s done in a civil manner and you’re not infringing upon another patron’s personal space.

    If a fan has laid out the dough to attend the game – or purchase season tickets — they obviously care about the team. In my opinion, booing your team for poor performance, or perceived lack of hustle, shows you care just as much as cheering when they do well.

    Unless you’re just a self-important know-it-all jackass, and there are a few of those around Verizon Center too.

  12. SA-Town says:

    Why is booing any different then the coach yelling at the team? I pay my money, I can boo, or cheer as I wish. Booing doesnt mean I hate the team, that Im leaving early, or never coming back. It means I care, I want them to win, and I want them to step it up.

    I see no issue…booing the team after losing a playoff series is another story…booing the team after playing hard but losing a tough game is another story…booing because the power play looks sloppy, and we all notice it is fine in my book.

  13. Alan says:

    Jeremy above has it completely correct.

    If the Caps can once in a while, especially at home, play as passionately as the fans who root them on, then problem solved.

    Criticizing fans for booing the home team, who have played below their skill level for 4 straight home games (before their stirring rally at the end of the Islanders game) is just silly. If I performed that badly at work for 4 straight measuring cycles, I would be more than booed by my boss.

    This article is just silly. Having sat through the Rangers game, and paid $400 to sit 2 rows from the top of the building. I WILL DO WHATEVER I DEEM FIT, in the boundries of the rules.

  14. chrisd says:

    Like Jeremy, I’ve been watching the Caps since the beginning. I was at the first Caps home game ever.

    Those guys were horrendous. I mean, historically bad. We came to the games expecting to lose, and usually did. But they played their hearts out, night after night. That’s all you can ask from a player; we respected them, and we NEVER booed them.

    Yvon Labre’s number is hanging from the Verizon rafters. Is it because he was a massively talented player? Hell, no. It’s because he left everything he had on the ice, every night. Here’s what he said: “Thank God there are guys who don’t use their abilities, so guys who don’t have much – guys like me – can stay in this great game.”

    The guys Yvon was talking about, those are some of the guys we have now. Oh, they’re enormously talented, and they can be electric to watch (case in point, Ovechkin’s OT goal Tuesday), but I almost never see a 60-minute Yvon Labre-level effort from the stars.

    Did I boo? No. But I understand it. The booing isn’t about high expectations. It’s not even about bad plays; humans make mistakes, and we understand that. No, it’s about players with multimillion dollar salaries–which you & I pay–not putting everything they have into the games. That is a booable offense, and that’s why guys like Yvon Labre get their numbers retired.

  15. judy says:

    I actually never boo my team. I just wait patiently for them to come around. I follow only one sport. I live and breathe hockey. I even spent time hanging out at Piney Orchard before I had kids… That said, I still understand the frustration that causes the booing. Caps fans have waited so long for our time. I still have Esa Tikkanen open net nightmares, compliments of our 1998 run. We have the team now. We have the megastar, and several superstars. We’re ready and waiting for our parade. Last season was a huge build up! This season is the anti-climax…

  16. jwh37 says:

    If someone in your office is not performing up to par and not even putting in an effort to perform, do you reward him by giving him a raise and a pat on the back? No, you pull him aside and reprimand him for his poor performance, and let him know that he is expected to do better. Since we can’t actually talk to these mega-stars, nor would I really want to, we BOO! It’s the only way we have to let them and the management/owner know that we are not happy with their performance and effort, and we have every right to do so.

  17. Angie says:

    Never booed, never will. I don’t like it, falls under the ‘if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ mantra. The organization doesn’t want to lose, the coach doesn’t want to lose and the players don’t want to lose. I’m a sth, I’ve been a fan for 27 years now, I’ve seen them play horrible, I’ve seen the wheels fall off completely in the playoffs and I still don’t boo. I cheer for all of them, I love the team, I love the sport and I do believe it’s classless to boo them when they are down. I sit in the lower level so I pay a good amount for my tickets too and yes I want to see them play well, but to boo them because they don’t, well I see that as kicking someone when they are already down and to me, that’s just really bad form!

  18. SA-Town says:

    I also think we should glad it is just booing….in the old days people would put there lighters to pennies, and let those hot disks of joy fly……

  19. Jeremy says:

    Angie — don’t boo. That’s fine. You may see booing as kicking someone when they’re down. I see sitting silently by as someone floats around to their own demise as inadvertently contributing to the problem. And, as there is no other way for me to help Floatvechkin see that he is shirking his duty and it’s obvious, I’m going to let him hear what I have to say. (And from 5 rows behind the bench, when it gets quiet, I’m pretty confident he hears me. I know Smitty the trainer sure does.)

    Another thing I don’t get: all the love for Ted Leonsis as “arguably the best owner in sports”… Nobody’s said that here, but that sentiment is hardly uncommon. And it’s relative to my frustration.

    Why is this man called by so many as the “best owner in sports”? Because he emails fans and has a blog (which he censors all of the responses, posts what he chooses, and writes about being “transparent”)? Ted has owned the team since 1999-2000. He’s owned the Mystics since 2005-2006. And he has owned the Wizards since last year. All time, here’s his record for the first two teams since his Wizards are still mid-season his first year:

    CAPITALS: 10 seasons, 5 playoff appearances, 1 series win in 6 attempts
    MYSTICS: 6 seasons, 3 playoff appearances, 0 series wins in 3 attempts

    That’s 16 seasons of play, 8 playoff appearances, 1 for 9 in series attempts. Said more succinctly:

    1 playoff series win in SIXTEEN seasons of professional sports competition. A .006 percentage.

    THIS is “arguably one of the best owners in sports?”

    Ted has received far more credit than he deserves. I’m sorry, having the lottery ball go your way and drafting a generational player (Ovechkin — this Floatvechkin year aside) is not a “strategy.” How many new fans know of Ted’s infamous “five-year” plan for the Capitals? That went kaboom right about the time he wrestled the fan on the concourse.

    So the frustration I feel, the emotion behind the Islander “game” booing, is real and deeply rooted. To see THESE PLAYERS skate around as if they couldn’t care — just after losing a guy like Steckel — as their hapless coach watches the TV screen and the don’t-do-anything-but-blog-about-yourself owner sits in his box is too much.

    Losing? Fine. 1-0 or 5-4. Fine. Skating around like you can’t be bothered between TV shoots and radio appearances? Sorry.

    BTW, the jury is still out but here’s Ted’s 3/4ths of a year as owner of the Wizards:

    WIZARDS: 1 season (15-45 to date).

  20. Alan says:

    I am not a fan of booing the home team. The only time it seems to make sense to me is when an individual player seems to have quit on the team or that player is obviously not hustling. I recall booing Stackhouse when he was a Wizard and he wanted out and was obviously not playing hard. I booed (incorrectly)N. Morgan last year when he threw his glove and We (fans) thought he had quit on the play. (Wrong, He thought it was over the fence) So individuals sometimes need to be booed, but the team as a whole don’t think it helps.

  21. Craig says:

    Just the sort of comment we thought this would spark. Kudos and thanks to all.

    What struck us most on Tuesday was the spontaneity of the outburst (as if we’ve never seen a crappy PP before), out of nowhere it filled the arena. We were more surprised than anything else because it seemed so out of character. I stand by the characterization as ‘classless’ given the circumstances of Tuesday’s game.

    Givens: We all pay dearly for those seats. We all want to see the Caps crush the opposition.

    Some have said booing is the only way to let management/ownership know we’re not happy with the team’s performance. I don’t agree. There are plenty of avenues for that, as evidenced here: http://www.tedstake.com/2011/03/03/boooo-2/

    @Dave: Do credentialed journalists who cover the game have special considerations showing approval/disapproval? There’s that SI NASCAR story that’s making the rounds… It makes me wonder. I worked in a racetrack pressbox, and turf writers, as McKenna and Perrone can testify, are an especially prickly bunch. Then again, you guys covering the Caps on 5 haven’t just dropped a week’s take home pay on bad Pick-6 tickets.

    @Nova: If a health issue dictates an early departure, no one would argue with that. And no, we don’t feel ‘superior’ to anyone.

    @Jeremy: Go ahead and call us girls. We want the Cup every bit as much as you do.

  22. Jeremy says:

    @Craig

    Girl, keep drinking Ted’s Kool Aid.

    Ted posts something on booing the very same day you do and he gets ONE response (it’s positive/pro Ted, shocker!!) while you get MORE THAN TWENTY?

    I’m sure Puck Buddys is growing in popularity, especially after today. But Ted has a much larger audience (ask him, he’ll tell you) and he gets a single response on a hot button issue? And, funny how “Don’t Boo Angie” had her comment listed at Ted’s Take and NOBODY representing the “Pro Boo Community” makes it to Ted’s blog. I sure don’t see anything I sent.

    If you think Transparency Ted includes ALL responses he gets (like you do at your site), you’re the last girl at the club when the lights come on.

    • Doug says:

      I think someone’s booing the girls!
      Seriously, we do get the satisfaction of a lusty BOOO! here and there. We’re gay – not schoolmarms. Fascinated by the discussion…really welcome it all.

  23. Mark417 says:

    I booed the Caps once and hated myself the next morning. It’s not my cuppa.

    But on Tuesday when the boos started raining down during the INSANELY inept PP in the 3rd (it was oddly spontaneous, wasn’t it?) I just laughed. The Caps had prior to that actually played a pretty darn good game. What no one has yet mentioned is that the crowd gave the team a standing round of applause during the middle of the first because they played inspired hockey. There was no goal, just a solid team effort that we haven’t seen much around these parts lately. And people liked it.

    It’s been especially frustrating the last few months watching this team play. From early Dec. thru Tuesday, when my fanny has been in a Verizon seat, I had been treated to a 2-6-6 Caps record. (I was out of town for a couple of games and missed 3 wins and a loss. I’m unlucky that way.) There have been some bad bounces, some streaky goalies and a whole lotta Caps low energy suck. So when my team doesn’t seem to be putting forth much effort for weeks on end?

    I understand where it comes from but, I won’t boo. It did result in me leaving a hockey game early for the first time (Friday after two and being surrounded by gleeful Blueshirts) and I’m betting there is going to be a much lower renewal rate for this year’s STH.

  24. Rusty Shackelford says:

    I don’t partake in booing but can understand, to an extent, where it comes from. That being said, it’s harder to swallow given that the majority of the current Caps fanbase are people who jumped in the bandwagon in the spring of 2008 when the team turned into winners and contenders.

    They actively ignored and didn’t have to sit through some of the teams that preceeded the “rock the red” era in Washington. Their booing isn’t driven by the frustrations of the long time hockey fan, but the self entitled nature of the fair weather fan who wants to be a part of Caps hockey since it’s the “in” thing right now in DC, and need to root for a winning team in order to make it worth their while.

    Not that there’s anyway to control this, but the unofficial rule should be that long time fans can boo all they want, post 2008 fans should kindly STHU and be grateful they found a good team to watch after they quit being Redskins fans.

  25. CapitalSpirit says:

    I got to DC during the lockout, and was signed up for season tickets by the end of Ovechkin’s rookie year, so I’ve seen a lean season or two. (Had to duck a fight in 417 during a Pens visit once…good times. Not.)

    Let’s be frank: the Capitals had not been scoring very well at home by the time the boo birds came out during the Islanders game. Some numbers: MoJo’s shorty against Pittsburgh came at 3:56 of the 2nd period on February 6th. Not counting an insurance empty-netter in that game, it would be another 77:10 before the Caps got the puck by an opposing goalie. That was Ovechkin’s quick strike against LA, 1:06 into the first. The next time the Caps scored on an opposing goalie was 178:06 later, which was the equalizer against the Islanders. All told, between the Penguins game on February 6th and the Islanders game on March 1st–nearly a full calendar month–the Capitals had gone an aggregate stretch of 255:16 at home–the equivalent of FOUR GAMES AND CHANGE–while getting exactly one puck by the other team’s netminder, and even THAT was in a horrific 4-1 defeat.

    To say that doesn’t cut it…doesn’t cut it. And fans have really only one way to make that point emphatically clear: booing. And I will ABSOLUTELY boo the Caps if they earn it. Shut out by San Jose…gave away 4 unanswered to Los Angeles…shut out by the Rangers…and now struggling against the ISLANDERS, for the love of Langway?! Oh, no. HECK, no. I’m voicing my displeasure, loudly, and with a squeaky-clean conscience.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m living and dying on every possession when I’m watching a Caps game in person. And some of the Caps’ home losses in February were, literally, painful to watch. To see this team that I love playing that badly, at home, is just depressing. Sometimes, it felt like the crowd cared more than the players did. And we’re the ones who are paying to get in–we’re not getting paid to be there.

    So, yeah, I think some of the booing was deserved, and I also don’t think that was entirely the behavior of fair weather fans. I would submit, rather, the opposite: that when the fans think (correctly or not) that they care more than the players they’re paying money to see, they NEED to be able to show their displeasure at that.

    You don’t boo your own team because you hate them: you boo them because they’re not playing like the team you still love. If that makes ANY sense…

    • Mark417 says:

      Nicely stated Spirit, and with stats to back it up too. “For the love of Langway” may be my new grief exclamation. Very Liz Lemon-y

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