2014 NHL Draft: Boooooooo

I spent the weekend at the 2014 NHL Draft, held in the lovely city of Philadelphia. As always, Flyers fans impressed with their ability to boo and taunt literally everything, including dead silence. I even spotted a fan with the Flyers logo tattooed on his head! Dedication!

All jokes aside, Philly put on an excellent show. Though in enemy territory, the new management with the Pittsburgh Penguins proved that they were ready to shake things up. Rutherford and Co, fueled by coffee brought to them by Bill Guerin’s son, selected Finland’s Kasperi Kapanen (LW) 22nd overall.┬áThe team also traded away James Neal to Nashville for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spalding.

As always, Penguins fans are expecting the team to physically burn to the ground from these moves, but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. This year’s injury to Pascal Dupuis proved that the Pens have little depth at LW, with folks like Chuck Kobasew serving in Dupuis’ place alongside Sidney Crosby. Dupuis is expected to return at the start of the season, but at age 35 can’t be relied on for long term support. Kapanen might be able to fill that void.

Meanwhile, the Neal move sends a headshot-prone winger away for a solid second line forward in Hornqvist. Spalding is a reliable bottom-six guy. Best of all? Spalding and Hornqvist combined cost about as much as Neal alone. Of course, seeing a high scoring player leave the Burgh is always tough, but this move might actually pan out to our benefit.

Pens GM Rutherford expressed that he will likely not be resigning any of the eleven unrestricted free agents on July 1st, however. The Pens will sorely miss Jokinen and Niskanen, who were easily two of their best performers in this year’s playoffs. Orpik, Glass, Goc, Stempniak, and others will be replaceable.

The loss on defense will require the likes of Simon Despres and Brian Dumoulin to step it up this season.

 

You’ll never walk alone… until you bite someone

I think my least favorite thing about being a sports fan is that most athletes are terrible people.

Sometimes, they bite people, elbow them, are racist, etc. And that’s just on the field.

This behavior, while terrible, really puts fans in an awful position. These are players that you love to cheer for, maybe you even own their jersey. So what are you to do when your favorite players do something disgusting and inexcusable?

This post was really in response to the actions of one of my favorites, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. I love this guy. He’s passionate about the game, he’s clutch, and he scores amazing goals. I love his success. I love the fact that he helps my team win games. However, I don’t love the fact that he, you know, bites people. And says racist shit to them.

Personally, it’s hard for me to explain my feelings about Suarez to other people. After he bit someone today, I received tons of messages from my family and friends asking how I felt about the incident. What Suarez did was wrong, I can’t ever imagine denying it. But a part of me still remembers that league-leading goal scorer side of Suarez, and that part of me wants him to stay in a Liverpool jersey forever.

Fans should never feel obligated to defend their favorites when they do something bad, in fact, it just makes the fan look stupid. We don’t have to justify his actions or come up with a punishment. Leave that up to the league and team management. As difficult as it may be, its okay to let everyone else voice their opinions about your player. Let them be. Your player did something bad, not you.

Ultimately, I can’t tell anyone how to feel about Luis Suarez. For other fans, the feelings of anger and hatred come easily. But to those of us who cheer for Liverpool, it’s a complicated situation. I’m not going to defend Luis Suarez. I sincerely hope that FIFA, Team Uruguay, and LFC take action to correct the situation, whatever that action may be.

So, in the end, I love Luis Suarez, goal scorer. I am not a fan of Luis Suarez, people-biter. I sincerely hope that he takes the correct action to reform himself. I don’t know how many more second chances he can get, but I do know that he could be one of the best in the world if he stops being a jerk on the field.