The Devils Managed to Blow yet Another Multi-Goal Lead, and Taylor Hall Somehow Committed a Cardinal Sin Worse Than His Blind Behind-The-Back Pass
Oh no. Just, no. Hallsy...baby...what is you doing? Honestly, the only way a Taylor could actively tank their approval rating amongst their own immature consumer base as badly as this would be if T-Swift entered a loving relationship with the intent of actually staying in it, as opposed to turning the premeditated breakup into promo for the next 'Bad Blood'.
As someone who bounces back and forth between being a silent self-loather and a maniacal mutterer while filling the thankless and unpaid position of Assistant Coach in Attendance, you won't hear these vocals joining a chorus of boos anytime soon. I personally find such an insanely unoriginal act to be the criticism of a caveman, but that's neither here nor there.
The fact is that I do sympathize with the sentiment, so I can speak for all the infuriated fans out there in saying that an understandably hot-headed home crowd is much like a hangry pregnant woman. More or less telling them to "calm down", no matter how harmless the intent, is just about the only thing that could kick a proverbial leg out from under what is, at best, a wobbly chair of emotional instability.
As a person, I appreciate the honesty and humanity in Taylor Hall openly expressing his distressed displeasure in feeling like we've reached a point in which every little mistake will end with him and his teammates feeling exiled on their own ice. As a fan, who has had every ounce of preseason optimism, joy, and excitement knocked out of me by the unrelenting gut punch of multi-goal leads quickly turning into inexplicable losses, I offer him a simple piece of advice that Cory Schneider apparently could have used last night...just fucking save it...
I don't know that there is ever a "good" time to criticize the fickle frustration of the fans, as the one thing that is typically true about boos is that they are, shockingly, a product of the overall performance of the people they are directed at. A prime example of the worst time, however, is on the heels of yet another gut-wrenching home loss that was the direct result of yet another blown lead.
It was Taylor Hall's blind behind-the-back pass, which was made so long after it was actually open that you'd think the button on his soon-to-be-thrown controller got stuck, that gave Tampa Bay the possession that they eventually put off him and into his own net to tie the game at five. In a lot of ways, it was a pee-wee-level play that was depressingly symbolic of how creative they've been in creating their own bad luck. As a partially self-appointed leader, whose struggles have been far from mutually exclusive to those of his team, there may have been no better time for a little self-aware silence than last night. The impending free agent of the elephant in the room asked for the expectations that Ray Shero so gracefully provided throughout a busy offseason. He's since been complicit in turning them into a self-deprecating punchline, so - anatomically speaking - it's a far less painful endeavor to bite your tongue as opposed to putting your foot to the back of your throat.
Like, at least try to read an irate room better than you read the defense. You'd need more asterisks than the MLB record book to say aloud the explicit content echoed throughout the Prudential Center last night aloud in front of a room full of children, so an intricate, mind-mannered conversation was not something the crowd collectively felt ready to get roped into. This seems almost too obvious to even type. You cannot, under any circumstances, follow up a "victory" that was nauseatingly moral in nature with an overly nuanced appraisal of those who definitely aren't referring to a super-select powerplay percentage or that particular evening's advanced analytics when giving voice to ten largely cataclysmic games' worth of grievances.
This isn't some secret, most fans don't give the crustiest of crap about incremental improvements (no matter how big those increments may be) if they aren't accompanied by the result that gets you hired and/or fired in professional sports. Sure, the Devils - sans both their #1 defenseman and their goaltender (that, to their credit, accepted full blame) - played their second straight good game in which they were decisively the better team...
Considering they spent the first period looking as though they were passing with one eye open, managed to repeatedly leave Steven Stamkos streaking down the wing in transition with so much room that they might as well have gone ahead and offered him board, and - in a way that's metaphorically fitting - didn't...ahem...pick up the other point in letting Jan Rutta load and unload a puck that cut their recently extended lead to one, I certainly wouldn't say they played an amazing game. Point being, they hardly put themselves in any position to add to their opposition in addressing the inherently irrational idiots (myself included) that have gotten a sickeningly familiar piss poor return on what was shamelessly marketed as a much safer investment.
Again, I don't think Taylor Hall's actual words - that admittedly seem exponentially more moronic when read through eyes as red as the hundreds upon hundreds of #9 jerseys in the arena - were anywhere near as wrong as his timing. To put it simply, if you want to find a way to make this nightmarish start about anyone outside of that locker room then fine. Just please, for the love of Jesus fucking Christ, toughen up, tune out the noise, and find a way to win a goddamn game that you lead by two with under twenty minutes left first.