The Rangers play the Hurricanes tonight for the first time this season and will be missing Marc Staal, just like we have been the whole season, because of a concussion that occurred when his brother, Eric, hit him last season. There is nothing that frustrates me more than ignorance, and I’m sorry, but anyone who thinks it is productive or reasonable to boo Eric Staal tonight is being ignorant.
Here’s a hit Marc Staal threw on Matt Stajan last season. Stajan appeared to be hurt on the play, but Staal’s hit was applauded. Why? It was a completely clean hit. He was trying to separate the player from the puck. He came from the front. And he didn’t make any contact with the head. We were by no means excited to see Matt Stajan hurt, but we appreciated a hard, clean hit.
Which then brings into question what it is that we are booing Eric Staal for. Was his hit legal? Yes. Was he trying to hurt Marc? Of course not. Eric is clearly upset about the turn of events. So what is the purpose of booing? What message are we trying to send? We don’t approve of players throwing clean body checks? Don’t play hockey the right way?
I get it. We’re missing our best defenseman. But while Eric causing it is simply an unfortunate happening, not the result of any wrongdoing. I would bet my life that Marc himself does not feel his brother deserves to get booed. It’s incredibly childish to feel the need to blame someone just for blame’s sake. It won’t change what happened last season. It won’t bring Marc back onto the ice. Irrationally booing Eric Staal does absolutely nothing but make our fanbase look bad.