You may recall that, last spring, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, who gets full marks for enthusiasm and accessibility, used the platform of his blog on USAToday.com to post his "Take" on the fans of Philadelphia:
Day 6: Tuesday, April 15 (Flyers 6, Capitals 3)
My family and partners traveled to Philadelphia —the city of brotherly love. After a day of work here in DC — we jumped into a plane and landed at 5 p.m. and arrived at the Wachovia Center by 5:30. I note that there is a Phillies game scheduled — and I know this means traffic, and the pandemonium at the end of the game will be horrible.
We arrive at our suite — and the Flyers have ordered complimentary pretzels and cheese steaks for us; I joke —" I brought a food taster to check this out for us."
Game 3 of the Caps vs Flyers playoffs was scheduled — and as Rodney Dangerfield said, "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out". At least that is what it looked like for the promotions department at the Wachovia Center.
Here was the in-game presentation script:
Orange!!!!!!!!!!; show fight clips; Vengeance is ours!; show fight clips; Orange!!!;— show fight clips; make fun of Caps fans; show old fight clips; Orange!!; show more fight clips; Orange!; show greatest hits clips; show fight clips.Orange! Show fight clips.Vengeance is ours!; show more fight clips. Why didn't they just show the film Fight Club and be done with it?
At least the Flyers organization is consistent in its messaging. I take note — and have to laugh as their entire persona is one of being a bully — they even have a cafe named Bullies in their old arena — yet —somehow—it all falls flat on me— it feels like a wrestling match promotion with false bravado. We are seated in a suite— I sit outside in the exposed seats and right next to some Flyers fans; it is a fun experience until one of the fans has a few too many beers —and screams in my face — " Are you not entertained!". I calmly say, '"OK Maximus —sit down and take it easy —it is a long series." I embrace the setting; it is NHL playoff hockey after all. ...
Not at all an inaccurate picture of how things are in Philly. However, here are a bit of his comments following the Caps' loss to Philly in Game 7:
We all drive home and I listen to the postgame radio show. The fans are all positive and happy. This doesn't feel so much like a loss but as the start of a new era for us. I get online and I am overwhelmed. I have more than 400 e-mails and Facebook messages. Most are supportive of our team and our prospects for future growth. I do my best to read them all and respond.
The fan reaction makes me full of energy. I know we have started a new journey together. This playoff experience was great for us, and I know there will be many more for us in our immediate future. I am renewed and can't wait to get to the office tomorrow to start planning for what we have to do to get better next season. Life goes on — one door closes and another one will open. Go Caps.
An interesting "Take"...
So, what I'm reading is that littering the ice with debris and, in fact, hitting Jeff Carter in the face with a beer bottle just before a post-game interview were the actions of fans who were "all postive and happy". Riiiight.
Now, add onto that the beer-shower given to Rangers coach John Tortorella during this spring's playoffs.
Where is the high-profile message from Leonsis on these actions? Calling out fans of other teams is a pretty easy thing to do---hell, when it comes to Philadelphia, it's damn near a requirement for any sportswriter--but there comes a time to step up and call out the inappropriate behavior in your own building.
I can hear it now... "you can't judge an entire fanbase on the actions of a few knuckleheads".
Unless, of course, if they ever threw snowballs at Santa, I suppose.