Sports are a funny thing. They make us have overly passionate feelings about people we have never met. For example all 13,917 Islanders fans last night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and their unhealthy relationship with former captain John Tavares.
In case you missed it Johnny and the Leafs made their first visit to Nassau County last night and the reaction from the Islanders faithful was that of a coliseum… (GET IT!)
During warmups the fans littered the ice with snakes, filled the air with boos, and one particularly passionate fan threw an Islander’s jersey as Tavares as he exited the ice.
On his first shift the boos were so overwhelming that it essentially created an icing call in which Mike Babcock instantly pulled Tavares line. For his efforts in attempting to quiet the crowd he was meet with an “asshole” chant that belonged at a WWE Event.
Unfortunately for the Leafs they were spanked by the Metro leading Islanders. Which only emboldened the fanbase.
Chants of “who’s your daddy” “it’s your bedtime”, and my favorite “we don’t need you” were common throughout the night and reached a thunderous level once they game was clearly out of reach for the Leafs.
There was plenty of speculation that this would be the scene upon his return. Head Coach Barry Trotz tried to quell the crowd asking them to be respectful. Which was a little late considering this video came out way before Trotz asked for decorum.
Now a part of me is like hey guys enough. It is just a game he wanted to go home and play for his childhood team. Then I think about little Johnny Violence when Jaromir Jagr said he was dying alive in Pittsburgh and demanded a trade. I thought how John Tavares didn’t think of the little Johnny Islander fan whose hero is leaving. He only thought about himself. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO let me look at this through a more controversial lense.
First off this game was circled on everyone’s calendar as a potential fire storm. Guess what it was. At the beginning of the season no one thought this game would be competitive. Which it wasn’t. However everyone expected it would be the Leafs delivering the beat down. Instead we saw the Islanders fueled by a ruckus crowd destroy the cup favorite Maple Leafs.
So all and all this was great for the Islanders as a franchise. A team that has only won one playoff series in something like twenty years. They now have a new boogieman and rival. They have a team that is defying odds and leading their division. They have moved the team actually back on Long Island. All of these things have rejuvenated a fanbase that went through a lot of shit in the past two decades.
So for this game to come up at this time was perfect. Twenty games out from the beginning of the playoffs you bring in the biggest heel you can, beat the pants off of him, and then march to the cup. Just like The Carolina Hurricanes are doing with the “Bunch of Jerks” this serves as a rallying cry for this fanbase. Which is only a good thing for the actual players. A passionate engaged fan base can be a difference in the postseason. Everyone knows that a playoff game in Montreal, Chicago, or Detroit is a scary place to be. Let alone in a game seven. Maybe against the Leafs for a chance to go to the cup!
Now that would be good for hockey.