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Nathan Horton, Lightning Fans, Are Idiots

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New Puck Daddy: The Bruins need to stop chewing valium before games (they’ve given up a goal in the first 70 seconds three times in the past five games)

New Hockey Primetime: My running diary of last night’s Bruins/Bolts game. Sometimes I think I’m funny.

*****

I feel like I shouldn’t even be writing about what I’m about to write, because it’ll only make it a bigger deal, but….

Nathan Horton sprayed a fan with a waterbottle after last night’s loss to Tampa, then threw it at him.  That link there will take you to the Puck Daddy post on it.

The problem here is two-fold: one, is that there’s a precedent for this kind of stuff.  You just can’t do it anymore.  Players and coaches have started getting suspended for it, and the NHL even added a rule to make that stuff an extra no-no this year.

Chucked end over end like a ping pong paddle, I do not want that in the face.

Two, is that I don’t blame Horton one bit, I only wish it had hit that stupid fan in the forehead and split him for stitches.

Really, we’re throwing plastic drum thingy’s at players, some of whom don’t wear visors?  Real fucking bright.

Someone, by the grace of Satan, just happened to be filming the Bruins coming off the ice, and now we’ve got a real pickle on our hands.  This was something that should’ve just happened in the aftermath of a tough, passionate playoff loss, never been seen, and ended there.  But now it can’t.  And now by writing this, I’m only further making a deal out of it, so the rumblings start, and eventually the fan-clamouring makes it so the NHL has to act (unless they use common sense).

And then we end up with a tainted game seven, because the Bruins are without their biggest off-season free agent acquisition in the biggest game of the year because of something that happened OFF the ice.

Sometimes he helps, apparently.

I would like to take a second to note that Nathan Horton just can’t stoop to that level there (especially given the potential consequences), but you go through the most disappointing day at work ever (literally ever – this is his first kick at playoffs), and have someone throw stuff at you.  I always expected the taunts; that’s part of being an athlete.  But most athletes are aggressive people by nature, and when something you don’t expect like this happens, it’s tough to stay composed.  He’s a fiery guy.

So now the ball’s in the League’s court.  Let me ask you this, Tampa fans:  Do you REALLY want to see one of the other team’s best players get suspended for game seven for something completely unrelated to the anything that happened in a game? 

My guess is you don’t.  I want to see the two most evenly matched teams I think I’ve ever seen play a playoff series (both teams have exact records of 46-25-11 in the regular season, and 11-6 in the playoffs) both skate into their one hundredth game of the season (yes, the records just so happen to be dead even after 99 games – thanks to Katie Baker for tweeting that today) at full strength.

It’s too great a game seven scenario to mess up. 

If he did get sat down, it doesn’t mean Boston won’t win, it doesn’t mean Tampa’s a lock, it just means we don’t get to see the two teams play with the best rosters they can field.  And we, as fans, deserve that.

Man I hope he doesn’t get suspended.

*****

Thanks to those of you who joined in on the live chat last night!  Was a lot of fun.

If you’re intersted, here’s a horrifically curse-filled rant on why Drew Magary is allowed to wear shorts if he goddamn wants to.

Comments

33 Responses to “Nathan Horton, Lightning Fans, Are Idiots”
  1. andy says:

    i watched krejci take a few of those stupid paddle things off his head and body as he was skating off… fuck that.

    people who think its ok to throw things at someone and then cower behind the “players should act like professionals” argument deserve… something. not sure what. maybe standing in front of a few chara bombs. naked.

  2. Cassie says:

    This whole situation is stupid. One of my biggest pet peeves is about respect. Everyone should be treated with respect, even if they don’t actually deserved it.

    The fans throwing things on the ice – and after a WIN, too! – should be banned from coming to arena for anything for a year. And Horton shouldn’t be suspended. But I do think that he should be fined a substantial amount, just to make a point.

    The whole thing makes me want to smack people upside the head to hopefully knock some sense into them.

  3. @skennedy39 says:

    Crazy situation with Horton. He should get suspended – he sort of has too but…the Lightning should get hit too. They shouldn’t be providing things that could injure a player to fans during a playoff game.

    As a lawyer I don’t get how anyone can approve this. Fan throws towel, paddle, etc onto ice. Player get hit in eye, trips over, slips on thing thrown and suffers injury. Who is responsible? Could be worth millions. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  4. Nick in NY says:

    Given the precedent-setting events that you mentioned, though, and even considering the aggravating circumstances that led Horton to decide to do what he did, how can the league NOT discipline him? The league takes a ton of abuse for its seemingly inconsistent supplementary discipline decisions already (justified or not). If they go against their own precedent it’s not like there won’t be any stink on the game tomorrow. It would just be the other team’s fans who were put out. What if the league doesn’t suspend Horton, he plays and scores the GWG? The optics of going against their own precedent here are treacherous.

    Maybe not to a “Hull’s foot in the crease Cup winning goal” level, but treacherous nonetheless.

    The Lightning (for giving out those dumb noisemakers in the first place), their fans (for being dolts) and Horton have all helped put the league in a tough spot here. But the league, lest anyone think I’m a league apologist here, is also complicit in the set up to this situation.

  5. vx inTN says:

    Don’t worry about Horton, The league wont suspend anyone for this regardless of what they say so long as the player is from one of the “protected” teams. Last year, a Chicago player, on national TV, did the water bottle thing and the league did squat. Then they used that incident in their training tape on what was a suspendable penalty for this season.
    Wow, theres news; the League Office is 2-faced.

  6. vx inTN says:

    Not justifying what the TB fans did is OK (i wish they could do the video and suspend/fine the morons), but whoever allowed that giveaway should be fired.

  7. Jarick says:

    Have to agree with you on that JB. Technically Horton got caught and should be suspended, but eff the “fans” that did that crap. Shame on both of them. I’d fine Horton and the Lightning and be done with it because I don’t want a suspension for Game Seven.

  8. HockeyPhool says:

    FWIW: I saw Roloson get hit with one of the thrown noisemakers, too. Fans were being indiscriminate about throwing them. Aside from the annoying “white noise” buzz they added to the telecast, giving fans something substantial to throw is idiotic. Who cares if they throw towels?

  9. petshark says:

    A friend and I were watching the game on tv trying to figure out what the heck they were throwing. I was like “I’m sure it’s something soft, right?” and she was like “No! Look, one just bounced of that guy’s helmet!” I’m impressed no one lost an eye. So, lesson here: do not give drunken fans anything you would not give to a three year old to play with.

  10. jtbourne says:

    Cassie – if only big fines existed. Somehow the MAX is $2500. Preposterous.

  11. PotvinRocks says:

    I also saw Krejci take one off the noodle. He didn’t look to pleased after getting hit.
    I don’t support the fans throwing anything but Hats onto the ice. But it was the Bruins fault for staying out there too long and starting that stupid scrum after time expired. Which pissed off the Tampa fans and so they started throwing stuff. You lost the game. Get off the ice and back to Boston, angry that you just blew closing out the series and having to play a Game 7.

  12. andy says:

    @PotvinRocks – you cant seriously try to justify that.
    the only people whos fault shit got thrown on the ice were the assholes who threw shit on the ice.

  13. Amelga says:

    As much as I don’t like the Bruins, I completely agree. I don’t really want to see him suspended. I don’t want our win to be tainted tomorrow night because we were being a bunch of whiners and they weren’t able to play one of their stars. No, Horton, should not have done that. He’s a professional and should act accordingly. However, a little water and empty plastic bottle have never hurt anyone and clearly didn’t hurt the fan. On the other hand, those rally drums had MUCH more potential to cause injury and prevent someone from continuing their livelihood. I also completely agree, Andy, that it’s BS to use the “athletes should behave like professionals” excuse. Being a fan doesn’t give you license to do whatever the hell you want. We’re all people and should treat each other with respect. I was mortified by the fans behavior. What if we had hurt one of our OWN players? How would you feel having stuff thrown at you?

  14. Neil C. says:

    It’s going to suck either way, if he gets suspended it’s a bummer that Boston plays that game 7 a man down over something that seems pretty silly, and if he doesn’t get suspended it looks bad for the league because it will be viewed by many as yet another incident where a Boston player magically escapes suspension when doing something that has been clearly isolated as a suspension-worthy offense in the past.

  15. Joe says:

    O MY GOD I have never read a more homer article in my whole life first off I was at the game and the Boston fans were pissed and threw those things in disgust then Lightning fans saw that and started throwing them at the ice in disgust of yet another late and group of cheap shots thrown by the Bruins players.

    Look fact is he hit a fan with an object that is a suspendable offense. He has played dirty this whole series and all you seemed to do is find a way to twist it to blame the fans for him attacking a fan….. great journalism im sure you have credibility somewhere just not here im afraid. And its sad because I have heard educated and nonbiased opinions that made me calm down at least enough to realize both sides but your pathetic excuse to say Lightning fans are to blame for a player doing what he did is just idiotic

  16. jtbourne says:

    Man. Comments like that never showed up here in seasons past, what happened? I guess I got too busy to respond as frequently. My apologies, regulars.

  17. Alanna says:

    Your website likes to erase my comments; maybe I should take the hint.
    Anyway, I think Horton should be suspended, since he can’t be fined an amount of money that would continue to convey a point to the players that you cannot go after fans. He strikes me as a hotheaded sh*tdisturber, and he needs to get that in check. I don’t think the incident was really about getting hit with the clapper things, but that probably aggrevated him further. As far as I could see he just snapped at one random guy. Maybe the dude was grinding his gears all game; I don’t know. I like seeing people be held accountable for being a**holes—you go after a player, you might get Artest’d, but this is player behavior that just cannot be tolerated. The guys are wound up and angry after a losing game and they need to keep their sh*t together for 10 seconds and get off the ice.
    I think the fans were just throwing stuff because they were excited; not trying to hurt anyone. I’m guessing that arena was full of half-drunk not-that-wily hockey fans who were thinking “Hey, people throw hats on the ice after a hat-trick, I’ll throw this thing in my excitement!” Yes, I agree that it’s stupid and reckless.
    ***Arena giveaway rule #1: Don’t give the fans anything you don’t want thrown on the ice***

  18. jtbourne says:

    Neil, you’re exactly right. He clearly should’ve got a game for consistency sake, but I’m glad he didn’t (for hockey’s sake).

  19. BECanucks says:

    Do you think it would be possible to compromise and suspend him for one regular season game?

  20. dtakaki says:

    First off, how lazy has the world gotten that we can’t even clap anymore?
    Second, when is the league going to prevent the opportunity for fan interaction with players? I don’t care what SHOULD happen. When you lose a game that could have sent you to the Stanley Cup finals and you see some of your buddies getting punched around a bit AND THEN you are being pelted with plastic whatever-the-heck that thing was and being jawed at, something is going to happen. The tunnel covers should be extended so that they completely cover the players and there should be zero chance of anyone, either a fan or a player, being able to touch one another.
    Third – why is it ok to throw stuff on the ice? Is the rule in arenas now that if it isn’t bolted down we can toss it on the ice? Hope all the seats are bolted down.

  21. Cassie says:

    I think suspensions would be far more effective if a hefty fine came attached with them. Three games AND $50K? Yeah, I think that’d stop most guys from being stupid again. Then they could throw all of that money into a kitty, and…I don’t know…run an on-ice officials school or something. But I’m sure the PA is the one behind the minimalist fines. Either that, or the BoG really don’t have a clue. Or, most likely, a bit of both.

    Also, I think that teams ought to be fined for stupid fans throwing crap on the ice. Crowd control is part of the package, after all, and any home team’s responsibility. Besides, who wants a player accidentally injured? And if they can’t control the crowd, then they should be disciplined for that. Unfortunately, the BoG will probably never allow it.

    Money makes the world go ’round, right? So, hit them all where it hurts the most. Right in the wallet. Oh, if only the NHL were slightly logical and had even just a modicum of common sense!

  22. Simone says:

    I’m thinking I would rather have seen the NHL suspend Horton. If only to light a fire under the Bruins collective “arse” so they come out firing and win.
    Now, I see Guy will use this as motivation for his team “the league/refs/ is/are against us”…yes, the evil maestro will be busy devising his plan to energize his team. (he reminds me of Peter Lorre, can’t shake it) Should be fun stuff at the pressers on Friday!

  23. Alanna says:

    Cassie, thankfully when players are suspended they forfeit their salary for those games. Matt Cooke was suspended for 10 games and lost about $220,000 in salary abd that money goes the the NHL Players Emergency Assistance Fund I believe. I’m not sure if it always goes there.

  24. Steve C. says:

    @Joe
    …talk about a “homer” comment…blaming Boston fans for the poor behavior of Bolts fans in Tampa Bay.

  25. Nolan says:

    @Joe,

    “And its sad because I have heard educated and nonbiased opinions that made me calm down at least enough to realize both sides but your pathetic excuse to say Lightning fans are to blame for a player doing what he did is just idiotic”

    I’m sorry, but your entire comment is out of line. I am a completely unbiased reader here, being in Texas, and I do not see how in any way JT’s post can be construed as being a “pathetic excuse to say lightning fans are to blame”. He did not excuse Horton’s actions whatsoever, and said he felt a suspension would be appropriate but he would rather not see it in the interest of seeing what will almost invariably be a great hockey match up on Friday. I’m not sure where this anger comes from in your post but your condescending know-all attitude is a dangerous thing to carry around in the world.

    If you have a passionate opinion about something in the future, I would recommend taking some deep breaths and trying to take off your homer helmet.

    Personally, I thought this was a great article. I have seen atrocious fan behavior in all rinks in the last couple of years, and I think part of the reasons for this is the tendency for groupthink to take effect. Very few people would throw paddle things at professional athletes in the street or at a restaurant, so why do they feel it is OK to do so in a hockey rink? Even at this past Olympics (which I attended) I was horrified at some of the fan behavior during Ice Hockey games given the nature of the Olympics being an event where the world can come together and celebrate sport. A young group of Canadian boys hucked a beer at a 70 year old USA fan and an all out brawl ensued during the Gold medal WOMEN’S HOCKEY GAME.

    What I’m basically saying, is hopefully people with confrontational and irresponsible attitudes such as yourself change your ways moving forward. Undoubtedly the popularity of Hockey is growing in the last couple of years, and I suspect it will grow even further if the NFL lockout persists. Good behavior from fans in the rink would be greatly beneficial as Hockey seems to be a sport that can attract a lot of negative attention from some of the on-ice altercations, the last thing we need is some drunk idiot breaking a players nose because he thinks paying some money for a hockey ticket gives him the right to act like a savage.

    Sorry about the novel.

  26. Joe says:

    yes I respond in defense of the situation from the other side because this blogger wanted to only focus on the Lightning fans and im a homer? I wouldnt even have typed anything had he given a fair and balanced point of view but even when he pointed out Hortons faults he went right back to blaming the fans for his frustration.

    Call me crazy but if this was Downie everyone would want his head on a platter and say that he just cant control his emotions and is reckless…..But the king of calm cool and collected Horton who has been involved in altercations at the end of every game and cold cocked our player when he wasnt looking but yet again will not be punished…..yeah dont talk about that these guys are aloud to live above the law and sadly when the game gets called more closely the Coach of the B’s needs to complain because its not fair we are an original six team!!!! yeah okay whatever you say

  27. Joe says:

    Justin Bourne just to make it clear to you I dont care if you make all the comments in the world on how you feel about things but to call out a fan base when you werent actually there to see it started and ignore the fact that Boston fans chucked stuff after games one and two at our players and again the Boston fans at game 3 threw beer at Roli. thats why im frustrated with your very biased sounding piece.

    Trust me I love heart felt pieces but please show some respect for Tampa and the fan base and I wont feel the need to defend. you would think if there was going to be any bias it would be for the Lightning you have a fellow Alaskan and is the last one in the playoffs.

    I have had time to calm down from your earlier saying of calling the Lightning fans Idiots and hope that was just a gross over statement on your part and hope to read more balanced pieces from you in the future since I found you through a twitter feed this was the first article I have ever read of yours. Lastly sorry for calling your credibility out but seriously think of your favorite team growing up and tell me how would you react if you read this peace with your teams name in its place.

  28. Neil C. says:

    “Lastly sorry for calling your credibility out but seriously think of your favorite team growing up and tell me how would you react if you read this peace with your teams name in its place.”

    Joe, you seem to admit here that the reason this bugs you so much is that the team in question is your favourite team growing up, in which case, it is YOUR credibility that ought to be questioned, not Bourne’s.

    Quit while you’re ahead Joe, you’re just digging a hole.

  29. andy says:

    i think bournes only “bias” is against people who throw things on the ice (at players).

  30. Cassie says:

    Thanks, Alanna. I did know that, but I wasn’t even thinking about it when I typed all that out. Silly me! :o )

  31. NewtownJack says:

    How about the teams sharing responsibility…
    Suspend Horton based on precedent.
    Open game 7 with a 5 minute penalty against the Bolts for inciting the situation (providing the clappers).

  32. Matt says:

    Sorry for the late comment, but I know the kid who got sprayed and hit by Horton. He DIDN’T throw his noise maker at Horton (or at all, for that matter). I was at the game too and people threw the noise makers because they were excited and saw a few others do it. To blame Tampa fans for hitting the bruins players is wrong because lightning players were also hit. People were excited about the win and got a little crazy. Horton doing what he did shows that he needs to have better control over himself. You can’t do that just because you lose a game. I think he should have been fined because if his actions. It gives fans the wrong message when they don’t fine/suspend a player for doing things like this, whether they’re provoked or not.

  33. jtbourne says:

    Matt, they did fine Horton. NHL fines are bullshit though, so it probably barely crossed his radar as a care, but it did happen.

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