In the NHL, head coaches, GMs and owners all have a chance to discuss with players their performance. They go over what went well, what didn't go so well, and what to do next. They figure out if a player needs a raise, a paycut, or needs to be shipped out of town on the next plane. But there's another component to this equation. One that is responsible for a large part of the team's earnings, and therefore part of the players' salaries. What is that component?
Us. The Fan.
We spend money, the team pays players. Simple economics. How do we do our part in the performance review process? We cheer, and (conversely) we boo.
It might seem to be an over-intellectualization of something so base and primal, but if it didn't play a part, there wouldn't be terms like "fan-favorite." A player stinks it up on the ice, doesn't give 100%, or is a cancer is the dressing room, fans boo. Things get worse, fans don't show up. Something's gotta give. So, in that spirit, I offer you my list of who I will and who I won't boo and some reasons why.
Eric Belangier - Deadline pickup, key to our playoff push. Resigned with Minnesota. Always worked hard, never a lazy shift. Gamer.
Pascal Dupuis - Sent to Pittsburg in a deadline deal. Special teams, work ethic, fun name to say (say it with me: Du-pweeeeeeeeeeee!). Gamer.
Marc Savard - Took $5 mil/year to play for an O6 team and be closer to his kids. Don't blame him one bit. Gamer.
Bobby Holik - Honest, tough, wouldn't turn it up until about midseason, but that's OK - Jersey took him back. They needed some pylons (Kidding, Bobby, I love ya!). Gamer.
Greg de Vries - Now with Nashville, contributing pretty regularly. Good to see him on a playoff team. Gamer.
Danny Heatley - I get it. Tragedy. But it wouldnt've been so bad if he didn't ask for the trade after a year in some Euro-League. Oh yeah, and then rip the Thrashers once he got back to the motherland. Bum.
Andy Sutton - Meh. No special reason. Just another bum on Lawn Guy Land. Bum.
Ho$$a. - Mercenary. Self-interested. The reason for this list, actually. The chants weren't enough, the jersey sales weren't enough. I think the Puck Huffer chicks said it best:
"Hey, Hossa, how about you stop looking for a team to carry you across the finish line and instead stick with a team and help them get there yourself."Bum.
Did I miss anybody? Any quibbles with my choices?