Avs Fans Disagree About Booing


“Fans have the right to share displeasure.” Stephen Crociata

Real fans boo internally while outwardly supporting their team. Or, real fans express their anger when the team doesn’t perform up to expectations. Or, real fans just enjoy the hockey no matter if it’s win or lose.

The Colorado Avalanche’s 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks brought up more than what’s wrong with the team. Fans have started debating about what real fandom looks like.

My Thoughts

I posted this morning about how wrong it was to boo in the Pepsi Center. Not only is it “tough” on our Avalanche players, as captain Gabriel Landeskog put it, but opponents don’t need to see the divisiveness within the ranks. Likewise, as Coloradans, we know how difficult it is to play competitive sports.

Naturally, I did not imagine everyone would agree with me. Stephen Crociata, a former editor here at Mile High Sticking, was kind enough to articulate his disagreement to me in Twitter bites — and agree to allow me to post them.

Stephen’s Thoughts

I totally disagree with this [my anti-booing tweet] and your article. The Avalanche are fortunate that this [the booing] is the first bad incident. Their play in a city like any of the original 6 would NEVER be tolerated. They have been embarrassing on way too many a night.

Fans have the right to share displeasure. They have paid to watch a very poor product each and every night so far. Not fair.

[In response to my comment that Coloradans know how hard it is to play competitive sports] But none of the fans get paid millions to play sports. Of course it’s hard but at least compete. And the Avs have yet to do that. The amount they are getting out-shot on the season is really pathetic.

The Avalanche have been out-shot by like 104 shots in 14 games. ONLY Buffalo is worse. Am I supposed to be like, “It’s OK, thanks for trying guys!” No I’m pissed. I love this team and put so much of my emotion into it. Last night my emotion was crazy anger. As a fan I have the right to display that anger, seems like some players agreed. [They did. Both Landeskog and defenseman Erik Johnson remarked that the fans deserved better.]

In my eyes, though, this is the first season that can be seen as inexcusable. The Avs have sacrificed years to rebuild. Last year no one can expect to be matched, but they need to compete, and they are not competing.

Nothing should be put on Varlamov. He is nowhere near the problem. Best Avs player, easily.Varlamov doesn’t deserve an ounce of flak because he is good about 90% of the time — you can’t give him crap for 10%. The rest of the team has been good, what, 25% of the time? John Mitchell has been consistently good.

The defense is garbage —  no #1 and three 7s. And offense is just… I don’t know. [I remarked, of course, that Erik Johnson is the #1 — if you’ve read any of my other posts, that position comes through pretty clearly. I also remarked that people want Tyson Barrie to be the #1, but he’s practically a forward.] Johnson is the #1, but he’s in the bottom half of #1 in the league, maybe lower. Barrie is way more than just a forward.

[I promised not to leave anything out.]

Barrie is better defensively than John Michael Liles, and people lost their crap when the Avs let him go. He is aggressive with an offensive mind. It is his style, and his defense suffers sometimes from it, but it’s his style. Pair him with a strong d-man, and he’s fine. It is the SAME situation as Kevin Shattenkirk in St. Louis. If he didn’t have a good d-partner, he’d be in BIG trouble with his D skills.

[I pointed out that Johnson is strong both offensively and defensively.] He’s is neither elite at O or D, so he can’t truly be a #1. No Avs d-man is elite in one of the two.

At that point, Stephen stated that he would have liked putting a debate like this on the Mile High Sticking website when he was the editor, so here we are!

I’m just going to address the Johnson remark because, well, I have to. Erik Johnson is a superb defenseman with a solid two-way style. He is not flashy, however, and I think that’s why he doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves. I disagree completely that he’s not the #1 defenseman for Colorado, or doesn’t deserve to be anyway. He is our cornerstone, and I pose he’s just as valuable to the team as Matt Duchene or, *gasp* Varlamov. [Read more]

What do you think, Avs Nation? Please, join the debate!