Canuck fans, upon hearing negative opinions regarding their team.
In the past few weeks, Kyle Wellwood, Mike Babcock, and Theo Fleury have all come under fire for some pretty offensive comments. Yes, unforgivable utterances, these. The things they said were so vile that it apparently became acceptable to forgo proper human decency and, instead, return their brutal statements with the worst slander, bigotry, and hatespeech Canucks fans could muster.
Just what did they say? Well, brace yourself. You see, each of them expressed skepticism that the Canucks' regular season dominance would extend into the playoffs.
Wellwood suggested the Canucks were too immature to handle playoff adversity. Babcock suggested Luongo might not have what it takes to lead the team to a Cup. Fleury suggested that, after coasting through the regular season, the Canucks were ripe for a first-round playoff upset. In truth, it was pretty harmless stuff, but the response from many Canuck fans was much less so.
As kneejerk vitriol goes, Kyle Wellwood and Mike Babcock got off easy. Granted, Canuck fans flipped the pool, and peppered both men with cheap, personal attacks, but most of it was pretty silly stuff. Welly's a soft target (so to speak), so bitter fan response didn't extend much further than jabs at his weight or the fact that he's a little weird. Mike Babcock, too, escaped relatively unscathed, because he's pretty hard to criticize. He's one of the NHL's finest coaches and a Cup finalist in three of his seven seasons behind the bench. The best Canuck fans could do on such short notice was embarrass themselves by calling him overrated, or a choke artist because he's only won one Stanley Cup (and World Championship, and Olympic gold medal).
Theo Fleury, on the other hand, had some pretty awful stuff floated his way. He's suffered some terrible trauma, and he's wrestled some demons. This is a guy who was sexually abused, and who has struggled with drug abuse for much of his adult life, and many Canuck fans, to the chagrin of the ones who still have souls, immediately went there. I won't repeat any of it, but you can just go ahead and imagine the worst, vilest things a person could spew at somebody who's been through what Fleury has, and it's probable someone said it.
And why? Because he had the nerve to suggest the Canucks weren't going to win the Stanley Cup. It was appalling. Regrettably, being an awful human being doesn't preclude one from being a Canucks fan. It was embarrassing to have anything in common with these dirtbags.
PITB apologizes on behalf of any Canucks fan who realizes that saying crap like this is not okay. Presumably, we're speaking for the majority here.
The bitter reactions are especially embarrassing because none of these statements called for anything other than a dismissive shrug. Wellwood, Babcock, and Fleury's statements couldn't possibly have been more ignorable. What's a few "no confidence" votes? The Stanley Cup isn't decided that way.
In truth, all we had here were a few extremely biased opinions. Lest we forget: Wellwood plays for the Sharks; Babcock coaches the Red Wings; and Fleury is a lifelong Flame. These guys have allegiances to Western Conference teams that will have to go through the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup, so when they predict the Canucks will fall, it's little more than optimistic fan chatter. Their opinion is no more objective than Fred from Minneapolis who thinks the Wild are close.
In future, the best response to anyone's lack of belief in Vancouver, especially the fans of other teams, is the one Roberto Luongo gave yesterday when presented with Fleury's prediction: "Who cares?"
Unfortunately, many Canuck fans simply couldn't muster such brevity.