Tonight, before the Habs' game against the Capitals, a couple thousand fans will rally outside the Bell Centre to demand that something be done about head shots in hockey. Except it's a lot more likely they're really agitating for something to be done about the head shot on Max Pacioretty.
"The assault of which we were all witnesses on Tuesday is only the latest episode in a saga of blows to the head that ended careers, changed lives and could ultimately tarnish the sport irreversibly," say the organizers (translated from the French over at Puck Daddy).
Bruce Boudreau, the closest thing the NHL has to a Rex Ryan, couldn't help but interject himself into this one.
"If you don't like it, don't come to the games," he said, and we're hard-pressed to disagree. Ticketholders staying home are more likely to get the attention of a league than marching, chanting, then going inside to buy a couple pregame beers from La Cage aux Sports. But Boudreau went even further.
"I don't want to get into a controversy, but what if that was Hal Gill that hit David Krejci?" he said. "I don't think there would be a protest going on here today."
Truth. Safety-conscious fans have been beating the drum on concussions and brain trauma for years. It's recently intensified with season-ending hits to David Booth, Marc Savard, and Marc Savard again. And with a litany of dangerous head shots, not to mention the wreckage left in Matt Cooke's wake, Habs fans choose the week after a Habs player gets injured to protest? (But only after they're done calling the police on Zdeno Chara.) For people ostensibly worried about "tarnishing the sport," the entire sport, they're not particularly distancing themselves from accusations of only caring about their own.
And not to say that one can't support more than one cause, but a more important and fruitful rally against police brutality is going on in Montreal at the same time. But attending that one would probably make it tough to catch the puck drop.