Monday, October 25, 2010

Memo To Ranger Fans: Judge The Play Not The Name and Number

As a Ranger fan myself I take great pride in the passion and pride Ranger fans take in supporting their team even in years where it seems they care more than the guys getting paid to put on the jersey’s and lace up the skates.  That said there are few things going on with Ranger fans of late that are really irking me and so since I have a blog I guess I should use it to voice those opinions.  I was going to do a couple of them today, but instead I am going to stick with one here and maybe do the other later.  The topic now is about carrying over past opinions and blindly applying them to players today/ just seeing what you want to see out there.

This is something that I have touched on previously on Blueshirt Banter and slightly here in that the way certain players are judged is completely different than others who make the same plays.  There is no consistent standard and there is certainly a lack of objectivity based on the number and name on the back of the jersey.  Obviously this is each person’s right as a fan and just a person in a free society, but to claim it is anything other than selective vision and differential prosecution is fallacy.  I will not go into naming names of who does it or for which players the standards seem to be different because those who read and participate in Ranger discussions know who they are on both counts and like I said bias can be a natural thing, but be aware of it and admit. I admit my favorite Rangers are Staal, Lundqvist, Dubinsky, Anisimov, but I would like to believe I criticize them as harshly as others when they screw up and you can tell me if you don't believe that.

The point where it crosses the line for me is where you blatantly use what happened in the past as if it is the current scenario.  This happened last night in the Garden while playing another phenomenal game Michal Rozsival was booed and jeered with chants of “Shoot” from the crowd.  I as much as anyone have called for Rozi to shoot the puck more, especially on the power play, but to act as if he isn’t doing that this year means you are not really paying attention, especially tonight when he scored a goal from the point.  I still want him to shoot more, but there is something I notice about Rozsival in the difference in how he plays on the road and how he plays at home and frankly I am putting a large portion of that on the fans.  He knows before he steps on the ice any mistake he makes he will be mercilessly booed, while others wont be, and each time he touches the puck in the offensive zone the shoot chants will go. 

It is time to get over the past and recognize the way he is playing this year to point you not only don’t boo, but you should be on your feet cheering him.  He is playing on the top defensive pair, averaging 24 minutes a night, and scoring 6 points in 7 games.  If those numbers were on the stat sheet for Michael Del Zotto not only would the booing not exist we would hear calls for him to be up for the Norris trophy.  I expect better from our fans because I believe them to be more educated about the game, but this behavior doesn’t show that to be the case.

I was very happy to see Ryan Callahan tell Andrew Gross “Look at how many minutes (Roszival) logs per night and what he does for us..It’s disappointing to hear the boos coming from the stands. It’s unfortunate he gets that. I don’t think it’s right. I don’t think he should.”  This is another example of a young Ranger player being a leader and sticking up for his teammate in a place he should never have to, against the team’s own fans.  Callahan will probably get a pass from the fans on it because he is a fan favorite, which only furthers my frustration in some senses because while he is right if some other Rangers said that they would get ripped by the fans.

Another guy that fans need to get off his back is Dan Girardi.  Yes, he screwed up not sticking up for Gaborik in Philly last year with Carcillo, there is no denying that.  Fact is it’s over, he admitted to his screw up, get over it already.  Here is another guy who gets picked at by fans, more so after the incident than before, but is playing unbelievably well his last 3-4 games.

One of the best assets to Ranger fans is the pure passion they have for this team.  It is why they take each game as a life or death event that determines their viewpoint of the world when it ends.  We win it is a good day, we lose the world is ending and there is always next year.  That passion is why no matter how badly the team plays we continue to show up and support them even if in some ways that hurts us cause it allows ownership to keep repeating it, but that’s another story.  I would not take that passion away from them if I could, but what I would do is remind them that being passionate about the team does not give them free reign to do so blindly without looking at facts.  The other part I respect most about Ranger fans is there knowledge not only of the Rangers current and past players, but of their understanding of the game and the league.  Things like this for me darken that because it doesn’t demonstrate that kind of knowledge existing instead in some ways putting forward a bullying type persona.  We have the best fans in the game bar none, so let’s act like it and cheer everyone when it is warranted, boo whomever is warranted, but only when they actually do something that warrants it and regardless of the name and number on the sweater.

Maybe it is not smart for a guy just starting a blog to criticize the fans of the team he is writing about since they may not come back, but I have more faith in my fellow fans of this team, and I also hope that the honest opinion is respected and appreciated even if you don't like what it says.  Time shall tell I suppose.

Links to other blogs thoughts on Topic
BlueSeatBlogs: Michal Rozsival's Strong Play
RangersTribune: Why the Hate on Rozsival? 
NYRBlog: Callahan Disappointed in Rozsival Boos


  1. Amen. Rozsival gets booed for no reason at all. It's ridiculous, and it makes me ashamed to be a Ranger fan sometimes.

  2. well that leads me to a question, are they actually fans of the team since it appears they want him to fail so they can boo or are they people who feel entitled cause they bought the ticket and just think he is overpaid?

  3. why can't fans boo a Ranger player who has been bad and vastly overpaid if they spend their hard earned money on tickets?

  4. I was with you until this:

    "We have the best fans in the game bar none..."

    I'm sorry, but this whole line of thought and the MSG commercials are dumb. There are great fans everywhere. Rangers fans are no better or worse than the vast majority of other clubs. The fact that Callahan has to call out the fans and you have to write this post is fairly indicative that Rangers fans are not "the best fans in the game bar none".

  5. I can respect that Neil and cede that you are right even if they were, they are not acting like it, so they would be "disqualified" from the running.