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Blue Jackets Fans vs Officials

First off, how bout that win last night? After a rough start the Jackets really pulled through to get the shootout victory. I know that not eveybody is as excited as I am about a shootout victory, but seeing the Jackets succesfully score on all 3 attempts in the SO just makes me giddy.

Now, onto the matter at hand. Apparantly there was a bit of a disturbance between the fans and officials last night. The Columbus Dispatch has gotten reports from several fans that veteran NHL referee Paul Devorski made a crying face and gestured a middle finger towards some heckling fans.

From The Columbus Dispatch;

Several fans in Nationwide Arena’s section 109 tonight said NHL referee Paul Devorski made a “crying face” and an obscene gesture during the third period of the Blue Jackets’ 4-3 shootout win over the Wild. In a late-night email exchange with The Dispatch, Devorski denied the allegations but would make no further public comment, directing all inquiries to NHL director of officiating Terry Gregson. NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell had no comment when contacted by The Dispatch. Gregson has not immediately responded to an email sent by The Dispatch. Roughly 15 fans seated in or around the area sent emails or Twitter messages to The Dispatch shortly after the incident, which occurred during a stoppage in play. Blue Jackets fans were giving Devorski grief for what they thought was a missed highstick by a Wild player to the face of Jackets captain Rick Nash. “Two guys in front of us started giving the refs (grief) after they clearly missed a call,” said Ritter Hoy, who was seated five rows up from the glass in section 109. “Happens at every game, right?

I have to admit I am rather torn on this subject. At first I was rather pissed. Just look at how the Blue Jackets have been treated by the officials lately. Crap calls against them, ignoring extremely obvious calls against oppenents, waiving off goals, and now disrespecting the fans in the home stadium. To be honest I still am a bit steamed on the subject. This team is just getting hammered by the officials, and now they are starting on the fans. There is a certain level of respect that a pro referee should have and obscene gestures towards fans, and laughing while making calls against the Jackets isn’t very professional.

But, then I get to thinking about the subject a bit more. I am a heckler.I often give officials hell, I give players hell, I give opposing teams fans hell, heck I even give other CBJ fans hell at times. That being said, it doesn’t bother me to get heckled back, and I kind of respect the ref for giving it right back. Think about it, this guy is in a stadium packed with 15,000 people, and I think it is safe to say that most of them hate him, and he gives it right back to the heckling fans. That takes a little bit of balls.

However, given all of the circumstances, I feel that it was absolutely innapropriate. If the Jackets were being given the same treatment and respect from the officials as the opposing team, I would probably laugh it off. But the complete disrespect being given to the Jackets from the officials lately is absurd, and taunting the fans isn’t helping matters.

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