Tom Wilson has avoided suspension after taking Brian Dumoulin out of Game Two with a head shot that went unpunished. As the Pittsburgh Penguins venture onto the ice for Game three to take on the Washington Capitals, you venture onto social media to take on their fans. With the series tied 1-1 and tensions already reaching a boiling point, here are Four things to keep in mind when engaging online.
1)The consistently miniature punishments handed out by the Department of Player Safety encourage players to cross the line. I don’t just mean rats, either. They encourage everyone to play the wrong way. There’s almost no risk involved. Most players avoid suspension anyway, especially in the playoffs.
Greasy players will take their chances because they know most often they’ll get away with it. At worst, they’ll maybe pay a fine or sit one game. Big deal. Skilled players know they have no League protection from greasy players, so they protect themselves with dirty or cheap shots. It’s a matter of survival.
No one wins.
Tom Wilson is an easy online target. He’s an opportunistic thug sometimes. But he’s also a regular top line player on one of the NHL’s consistently best teams. He’s a product of what this era breeds. It’s not personal. It’s business.
2)The onus is obviously NOT on the hitter as much as the NHL claims it is. When arguing the hit, the truth is on your side. Use Wilson’s own words against him and let the defence rest.
In this Washington Post article, Wilson is quoted: “I’m at no point trying to target the head at all… I’m skating, backchecking, trying to do my job, and unfortunately there’s a collision there. … I think if you watch it at game speed, I don’t even alter my movement at all. I’m just skating straight. The way I look at it: There’s no way I can get his head from that point where I am…”
When I’m chasing someone and skating as hard as I can to catch them, I don’t often find it useful to stop moving my feet while thrusting my shoulder upward and outward into a hit. When he said “I don’t even alter my movement at all”, I think they must have forgot the part where he said “except for thrusting my shoulder upward and outward into a hit.” He is right on one thing, there’s no way he could have gotten Dumoulin’s head from the point where he was…except he did, by thrusting his shoulder upward and outward into Dumoulin’s head.
3)No matter what anyone says, you’re right: The Pens don’t get all the calls. I’m not saying the Pens don’t get some calls, but they get burned an awful lot. But remember, EVERY team does. It’s an NHL wide problem. Fans of all teams need to lay off each other for being whiny about the officiating. At the same time, spread the word that others also need to stop attacking our entire fan base just because they’re team got hosed by a call while they happened to be playing against ours.
4)In this day and age of NHL parity with almost no real rivalries, remember how lucky we are to not only have a horse in not one but two of them, but also to have both rivalries play out in the same playoff season back to back. Capitals fans in general are smart hockey people. They’re also rightly on an extra constant breaking point because every year has been “their year” for the past decade and they can’t even get even get out of the second round. Respect that it would take less to set them off. Don’t push them too hard.
Let’s continue to be the fan base every other team community wants to be. Keep it classy!