Tom: BOOO!
Victoria: DON’T DO THAT!
Tom: Why not? Besides, it’s not like I’m the only one.
Victoria: If everyone was telling Dennis Wideman to jump off a bridge, would you do it?
Tom: Depends. Where’s the blue line? If he’s just going to trip and fall off anyway…

Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman is having a difficult year. The kind of difficulty Eric Gagne experienced in 2007. The kind of difficulty Mike Timlin faced when trying to close games late in his career (hence why I refer to Wideman as the Timlin of the ice). The kind —

Ugh. Depressing. You get the idea.

Anyway, the whole “everybody hates Wideman because Wideman can’t skate or play hockey” bit has been entertaining at times this season, but the situation hit rock bottom last night, on two different levels.

First, Wideman had another lousy game. He failed on a clear attempt that resulted in the first Columbus goal. He looked terrified anytime the puck came his way. He almost took out Blake Wheeler with a dump-in and made it look for a moment as if Wheels was going to be able to commiserate with Patrice Bergeron on just how devastating the guy can be as a teammate. Clearly, Wideman isn’t the guy who responds favorably to being called out by his coach.

That said, the Garden crowd took the easy way out last night and booed the guy whenever he touched the puck during the first two periods of the game. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the crowd quieted down when it came to #6 after Mike Milbury said on air that the booing should stop.

But left to its own devices, the hometown crowd was more than happy to boo one of its guys – and that’s unfortunate. You don’t boo your own players.

I’m not going to try to come off as holier than thou when it comes to showing displeasure with a player. I was yelling (and tweeting) at the guy myself last night. There are big differences between mocking a player and booing the guy outright:

  • It doesn’t require any intelligence or knowledge to boo a guy. My seat is in a hilarious section of season ticket holders. We’ll spend portions of games trying to figure out what to put on the latest sign for Firefly Ference. We figured out every possible way to creatively express our disdain for Phil Kessel. We’ve researched the number of American players on the Bruins roster so that we can counter the guys who chant “USA” whenever a Canadian team’s in town (and we’ve tried to get a “CZECH RE-PUB-LIC!” chant going for Krejci). Some of them might be (by which I mean “most certainly are”) stupid and silly, but at least we’re trying to be creative and we’re finding the fun in it. At least we’re doing so because we know something about the team. It takes someone knowledgable to mock. Anyone can boo.
  • The guy can actually hear the boos – like that’s going to help. Wideman is clearly in his own head right now. He’s doubting himself even before he gets the puck. He has a coach angry with him, teammates wondering what the heck is going on with him and a fanbase ready to ship him out of town. How is hearing thousands of people boo going to help matters? Is it the booing that’s going to make him realize that he’s having a terrible season and needs to shape up? I’m not saying that the crowd needs to get “Let’s go Wideman” chants going, but it might not be a terrible idea. I mean, if Boston could support and cheer on Julio Lugo during his 2007 slump, anything is possible…