Most fans are aware of the Flyers’ Scott Hartnell’s Twitter hashtag #HartnellDown. In an effort to poke fun of the fact that he falls on the ice often, he has created a charity, for which he donates funds based on how many times he falls on the ice. There are shirts that can be purchased with proceeds going to the charity of Hartnell’s choice. (See the charity website here.)
I am the first to say that as a player, I loath Scott Hartnell. If I had to name my five most hated hockey players, he is in the top. Why? Because of the role he plays on the ice. He gets under your skin. He has perfected this art. Off the ice though, I admire Scott Hartnell for the role he plays in his community. He is a total stand up guy. He is the type of player who you love to hate but if he were on your team, you’d be the first in line to buy his jersey when he penned his contract.
I was only able to watch bits and pieces of the controversial third period of the Pens game today. I went back and watched video of almost the last fifteen minutes of the game, where this happened during the chaos of the last few minutes (which I will cover in another blog, later this evening).
Pens fans FREAKED via social media. I mean some of the most hateful and livid tweeting I have ever seen. I thought what Hartnell did was funny. If you missed it, a fan well known in the Pittsburgh region was taunting Hartnell and stirring up the crowd and Hartnell did the same thing back in return.
So explain to me this, Pens fans. How is what Hartnell did today different than this:
You can buy a T-shirt of that!
Okay…so how is it different from this:
Wait…what about this?
Even better…how is it different from this:
This difference was, the fan that Hartnell taunted was a recent cancer patient. Thankfully, Cy Clark was declared cancer free last fall and we all wish him well. But please explain to me how cancer was brought into the conversation? I mean people were tweeting Hartnell blasting him, asking him how dumb he felt for taunting a cancer patient.
What exactly do you think happened? Do you think that Scott Hartnell sat at his computer last night, wringing his hands menacingly, Googling “Pens Fans with Cancer” and just hoped and prayed that one would sit behind him on the bench today and taunt him just so he could mock him? Really, guys?
How on Earth Hartnell was supposed to know something like that is beyond me and why it was brought into the conversation is just unfathomable.
Yes. Me. Me who blasts Hartnell for his on ice antics on the regular is defending him. Fan/Player interaction like this helps fuel the rivalries that we all hold so dear. It makes the game more fun. But what I saw today was the least logical argument for hating Scott Hartnell I have ever witnessed. Our fans took two things which were unrelated and mashed them together in an effort to tarnish the guy.
If you can dish it out, you had better be able to take it.
And whoever threw garbage on the Flyers bench, that was completely uncalled for. I don’t care what happens on the ice, between the teams, between the teams and the fans. Throwing garbage? Come on. Those justifying it, I almost hope that their comes a day when Flyers fans throw garbage on the Pens bench. I’d love to hear your outrage. Yes, I know that Peter Laviolette broke a stick and it splintered everywhere. But the same people saying that Hartnell shouldn’t have retaliated in taunting Cy are saying it was okay to throw garbage on the bench. Hi, Pot? This is Kettle. You’re black!
Grow a set, fans. This game is supposed to be fun and you twisted something that was championed when our players did it. Like I said before, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.