OK, so if you haven’t seen the video of Winnipeg Jets defenseman Adam Pardy getting checked into the crowd at the United Center and getting his helmet ripped off by a fan, it’s definitely worth a click.
With that in mind, I asked Capitals coach Adam Oates and a few players the most outrageous interactions they’ve seen between players and fans.
“Tons,” Oates said. “The best one to me was, I want to say Steve Sullivan lost his tooth and a fan was making fun of him and the fan lost his tooth that night. He got hit with a puck. Karma’s a b****, man.”
As you’ll see in this video, Oates’memory is pretty good. Sullivan, who scored two short-handed goals for the Blackhawks, was hit in the face with a high stick and was taunted by a Colorado Avalanche fan, who later took a puck to the head.
Capitals teammates Troy Brouwer and Brooks Laich didn’t think Wednesday night’s helmet caper was very funny but each shared their favorite fan interactions.
“I was there for when the fan poured a beer on [Rangers coach John] Tortorella and I remember seeing him snap," Laich said. "He turned around and reached over. That was a good laugh.”
Brouwer said he’s bumped fans’ beers off the ledge behind the glass and Laich said he’s had some animated conversations with fans when he’s been in the penalty box.
“If I was a fan I would do it, too,” he said. “I paid for that seat and if I’m close to somebody I’d give him an earful. That’s sort of why I enjoy going to NBA games. You’re right there.”
Brouwer remembers a couple years ago Blackhawks backup goaltender Marty Turco placing a bet with a Montreal fan over which team would score the next goal in the game.
“I think it was five bucks or Turco’s hat. We scored and the fan passed him five bucks and they caught it on camera. He gave it back but he got [reprimanded] for it.”
Of course, my favorite player-fan interaction came in a 2001 game between the Flyers and Maple Leafs in Philadelphia, when a fan fell into the penalty box and was beaten up by Leafs enforcer Tie Domi.
Afterward, I remember Domi telling me, "Nobody comes into my office and gets away with it.”