As expected, I really enjoyed this All Star Game. Apparently, I’m not the only one, since most of the recaps are rather positive.
One of the things I liked during this week end was the attitude of the Montreal crowd. I liked the reception of the Bruins All Stars, with a mix of boos and cheers. I liked how there were no more boos, but only cheers after Chara broke the record for the hardest shot, and spoke about his charity. I really liked the way Lecavalier was greeted, not because I actually think he’ll be traded to the habs, but because I just thought it was pretty funny to see a fanbase trying to woo a player like that.
But of course, it’s always difficult, if not impossible, to judge the quality of the fanbase you’re part of. I can say that habs fans are one of the best crowds in the league, but it sounds hollow, because I’m one of them (even if I’m far away).
Here is why the Soft European Research Team came up with a revolutionary impartial crowd assessment system, to compare the fans around the league: the Gary Bettman Booing Index, or GBBI™.
The lab strikes again.
Here is how it works: You just need to confront a hockey crowd with a Gary Bettman sighting, and observe its reaction. Careful data analysis demonstrates that the loudness and clarity of the booing is positively correlated with the refinement and the level of hockey knowledge of the observed crowd. Of course, it is necessary to take into account the situation where the said booing occurs. It’s not the same thing to boo Bettman when he hands the Stanley Cup to the other team in your own building, and to stop celebrating after a Cup win for a few seconds just to make sure nobody believes you cheer for Bettman. Booing the commissioner during a draft, or after an All Star Game also deserve some appreciation, since for those events, the crowd will likely include a larger proportion of corporate people and less diehard fans.
Now let’s use the GBBI™ to compare some crowds around the league:
Colombus, 2007 draft. Low start, but a good sustained booing. Nice effort. GBBI: 6.2
Ottawa, 2008 draft. Maybe a little less loud than Colombus, but even he had to salute the “passion” of the fans, with a huge grin. GBBI: 5.5
Tampa Bay, 2004 Cup win. The sound is shitty, but they are not booing. Sorry Tampa fans, but this is not good. GBBI: 0.2 (I heard a few fans booing in the cheap seats)
Carolina, 2006 Cup win. You had plenty of time to boo, canes fans. Fail. GBBI: 0.2 (Not better than Tampa, sorry guys…)
Pittsburgh, 2008 Cup loss. Mixed reaction, the crowd is still stunned. But kudos for not booing the Wings with the Cup. GBBI: 3.5 (Tough one, I think they deserve another chance.)
Devils, 1995. Wow, great fans right here. GBBI: 8 (And the Ookies weren’t even there yet…)
So, how did Montrealers fare yesterday?
5:30 – A nice, short but loud enough boo. GBBI: 7.
I’m relieved that the Montreal crowed passed this difficult test without too much trouble. I would have been pretty embarrassed to see our dear commissioner getting away without a good ol’ booing. Now, I just hope I’ll soon have the chance to watch the home crowd boo the hell out of him as he prepares to hand its 25th Cup to a certain franchise.
[Note: some franchises started a Sarah Palin booing competition at the beginning of the season, but their subsequent bad luck quickly doomed this noble attempt. Therefore, the GBBI™ remains the most reliable way to rank fanbases]