There are a number of things that occur in sports on a regular basis that are absolutely shocking. Bloodthirsty hockey fans gleefully cheering when a member of the opposing squad goes down, however, is not one of those things. And that’s why it’s so perplexing that folks are up in arms today over what Montreal fans did during Wednesday night’s Canadiens versus Bruins showdown.
Here is what happened, for anyone that might have missed it: During a fairly standard clearing attempt, Tomas Plekanec wound up hitting Zdeno Chara in the face. As the latter player lay on the ice, bleeding profusely, the home fans cheered on. When he rose up to his feet, still bleeding profusely, the crowd continued to cheer at the fact that he was obviously hurt.
Predictably, today, folks decided to get righteous about what happened.
You don't cheer when players get hurt, that seems to be the general rule of thumb that viewers at home felt got violated yesterday. Problem is, that rule doesn’t apply to hockey. Again, this is the most bloodthirsty sport we have in America. In no other sport is ripping off your equipment and trying to beat up a rival player while the refs stand there and cheer you on appropriate. In no other sport is violence, damage and causing someone pain as integral a part of what happens as it is in hockey.
The idea that what happened during Wednesday’s game crossed some sort of line is a joke.
This is just a classic example of folks needing a cause to get behind, regardless of how nonsensical that cause truly is. Here’s a tip for anyone who thinks Montreal fans were classless last night for liking that someone got hurt: next time you cheer for your guy to beat up someone from the other team in one of hockey’s trademark 12-round bouts, think about what you're really rooting for when you do that.