To boo, or not to boo, that is the question.
For Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk, it’s not really in question at all – he’s not a fan of it.
After a 6-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night, Tkachuk was in the process of answering a media question about the club not getting any bounces. But then he changed the subject.
“It’s frustrating,” Tkachuk said. “The negativity from the outside, the constant booing and the bull***, kinda from the crowd too tonight was…I understand that they’re a passionate fan base. I understand, I love it. But I mean, when you face adversity, you don’t turn your back on the guys out there. We’re playing hard. I know it’s frustrating right now, but it’s not like we’re giving up out there. We’re fighting to the very end. So, to be honest with you, I was very frustrated today.
“It’s frustrating, the negativity from the outside, the constant booing, and the bull**** kind of from the crowd tonight.” – Senators captain Brady Tkachuk pic.twitter.com/ZJb3FX1fCt
— JayOnSC (@JayOnSC) November 5, 2023
“In here, there’s no quit and there never has been,” Tkachuk said. “I don’t think we’ve ever shown a time where we’ve quit on the people that paid money to support us. I think it’s a non-negotiable in our group that we finish hard no matter what.”
“Don’t get me wrong. I understand (the fans) are frustrated, but we leave it all out there. Of course, you want to win. Of course, we had pressure and expectations this year and we want to live up to that. So we’re facing a ton of adversity right now. Everyone’s thinking so negatively right now. We just need to get out of it.”
It’s likely that part of Tkachuk’s intent was to defend head coach D.J. Smith. With GM Pierre Dorion replaced on an interim basis by Steve Staios last week, Smith’s hotseat dial is cranked up to 10 right now. Fans have even been chanting “Fire DJ” in recent games.
Tkachuk’s commentary has now sparked an interesting controversy in Ottawa. Should fans boo their own team during games? When they do, should players like Tkachuk push back on fans, the very people who pay Tkachuk’s current $10.5 million dollar salary?
While that debate rages, it’s at least something to talk about besides another poor start to a season. At 4-6, the Senators are only four points out of the final playoff spot, but they are dead last in the 16-team Eastern Conference.
There’s a storm brewing. If the Senators can’t right the ship soon, and they continue to drift away from the Atlantic leaders, then new ownership and management are ready to unleash something that’s a lot harsher than booing.