Yesterday on AJC.com, Jeff Schultz posted a wrap-up of post-game reaction after the Hawks massively failed at Game Three of the East semi-finals. Joe Johnson had this little gem to say as a thank you to the fans who came and put up with the game:
The Hawks were booed often, including as they were leaving the court at halftime and after the game. When asked about this, the “team leader” unloaded this gem: “They don’t bother me. It’s about us in this locker room. We could care less if they showed up or not.”
Wow. Yeah. Imagine, if you will, a top paid player from a NHL team saying that. If Sidney Crosby told the Pens fans to go jump off a cliff. If Nik Lidstrom said he was retiring and the fans played a huge part in that decision. If instead of coming out and saying thank you to the fans in Dallas, if Mike Modano just would have come out and skatetd a few laps with his middle finger extended.
Kind of tough to do, isn't it?
Yes, there are jackasses in hockey every profession, let alone sport, has people in it who are just crappy ambassadors, or who just can't say the right thing if stuff's not coming up sunshine and roses for them. But being reminded of the charity that hockey guys do every day, and seeing the good that they do - seeing that more often than aberrations like Patty Kane's whole "thing,"it makes me proud to be a hockey fan first and formost. The Thrashers do a ton of work around the community, especially with Childrens' Healthcare of Atlanta. Everyone's seen the NHL Special on Patrick Elias and his work with Right to Play. Hockey Fights Cancer raises a ton of money every year. Just about every playoff team has a beard-a-thon for charity going. And then there's this, from the St. Louis Blues, just saying thank you to a St. Louis police officer who was shot in the line of duty.
And, to further make me begrudgingly like the guy, Sidney Crosby apparently sent an autographed jersey to the officer. Geeze. That, signing a bunch of stuff for little kids before the Thrashers' closer, generally playing amazing hockey this year... is he trying to erase that blemish of attacking Valabik in an awkward place fade? *sigh*