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"The delusion that normally overwhelms fans of the Maple Leafs is already in full-bloom among those who fantasize about Steven Stamkos playing in Toronto. All it took was Fletcher refusing to dismiss the notion of trading up in the draft. Cyberspace geniuses have convinced themselves that peddling Alex Steen (signed at $3.4-million for the next two years) and the Maple Leafs' first-round pick (7th overall) would actually entice Tampa into foregoing a potential franchise cornerstone that comes into the league on an entry-level salary ($850,000) for three seasons.

Dreaming in technicolour has long been a staple in Leafs Nation. Clearly, nothing has changed."

-Howard Berger

It is this continued hostility towards hockey fans, specifically Leafs fans that gets people's blood boiling, especially surrounding hockey where emotions amongst players and fans alike run high regularly, particularly where a team as polarizing as the Leafs is concerned.

Let's stop for a minute and think about the audacity and arrogance of someone who makes their living being as hostile and rude as Howard Berger is towards his fan base. Today's rant is not quite his usual venom, but it is the latest in a string of blogs and reports that suggests Howard has about as much respect for Leafs fans as he does the teams management. Why is this type of behavior allowed to continue when pointing it out in a similar forum has a site members privileges suspended? I was quite surprised to find out that a pre-lunch response had my posting replies halted until almost 5PM today. Just like a kid led to the principal's office I find myself wondering what it all means. Should I have a hissy fit and scream and cry in the halls or should I man up and be quiet? Is freedom of expression in a hockey blog really worth getting worked up about? Should I care?

Aside from being particularly critical, I did not threaten or use fould language, nor did I insult anyone personally...I pointed out that this blog was VERY similar to what has been written since the season ended by bloggers, "commenters" and newspaper writers. Moreso, perhaps it was a crack Howie enjoying writing about the hated Sens that did the trick...oh well, as they say in Ottawa, "we can't win the big one." (I realize that had nothing to do with this topic, I just enjoy digging at the Sens wherever possible)

Aside from being a little peed-off regarding my after-lunch surprise, I find it funny that a guy who makes what I'm sure is a very good living following around a hockey team and writing and reporting about what goes on can continually find himself on-air and online when you get nothing but criticism of readers and cynical reporting. What is funnier and perhaps hypocritical is that Mr. berger finds himself the victim of the same "delusions" he accuses his readers of...(see his high hopes of a playoff birth, and the living with each win and dying with each loss down the stretch)

Howard is that guy on the hockey team that is great when things are going well, but as soon as there is a little adversity the bottom lip begins to stick out more and more.

I guess I am left to ponder my actions on the bench outside the principal's office a little while longer while my friends run and jump in the schoolyard...at least until 4:49 this afternoon or so.
Filed Under:   berger   ban   leafs   hockey  
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