Tec...you're crazy man. I love you...but you're crazy.
I can hear it now. "How does a hockey goalie even remotely mirror an NFL quarterback? Aside from both of 'em playing in Pittsburgh and recently getting contracts? Other than that, they're completely separate monsters...amiright?" No, you aren't.
We fans sit in a frustrating position as it pertains to the sports we watch. The players play, the owners own, the coaches coach. The fans cheer, boo, cry, whatever, but we don't influence said players,owners, coaches. Sure, we may try with walkouts and the such, but we don't always have the power that we think we have.
I sat in my apartment watching the Steelers game on Sunday night, throwing verbal barbs at ref Ron Winters for calling James Harrison's legal hit on Garrard a foul. My screaming did nothing to change the play or the outcome of the game, but that speaks to the connectedness AND disconnectedness that the fans experience.
So this is where Big Ben and Fleury come in.
This past weekend was awesome, what with the Steelers avenging their playoff loss and the Penguins opening their season with an OT win. However, in both games, the fan passion that I outlined above came into play. And the guys I was directing my shouts at were Big Ben and MAF.
We can't beat it into the ground any more. Ben...GET RID OF THE BALL! We know you can extend plays and get it to your receivers, but that's no excuse for taking 45,000 sacks. I'm sure that $100mil+ can buy a lot casts and surgeries, but that doesn't benefit the team paying you that scratch. Everyone watching the games probably says the same thing when Ben is dragged down by a pursuing defender...but that doesn't mean Ben hears us. Sucks...I know.
MAF has been fantastic of late, just like Big Ben. Both players are primary reasons that their teams are in the position (currently and long-term) that they're in. But watching the games in Sweden with me sitting on this side of the pond, I felt I had to scream louder...QUIT TRYING TO HANDLE THE PUCK! YOU AREN"T MARTY TURCO!
And this isn't just from the current, respective young seasons. Ben had the same problems last year, and MAF kept trying to display his new puck-handling skills more often after his injury and leading into the playoffs.
Both guys are trying something that isn't working with the efficiency needed to cell them successful plays. Ben will elude some tackles, but takes way too many sacks. MAF will toss a clean outlet pass from time to time, but he still almost turned the puck over to Jarkko Ruutu in Sweden.
Look, we know you're both elite players. That's why we cheer. But you guys are stressin' us out. Just play the game, plskthxbai?!