I'm going to agree with The Hat - and also point out that, throughout all this Vote for Rory business, Rory Fitzpatrick has been as amiable as can be in what was a pretty difficult spot to be in. Here he was, for the first time, receiving recognition on a wide scale, and an awful lot of it was of the negative variety.
Over the past month, I've heard Fitzpatrick called a bum, a slug and even a jerk by members of the press - all for being the subject of a voting campaign he had no control over (or, in the beginning, knowledge of). Initially, he played along, mugged for the cameras and wore the Vote for Rory T-shirts handed to him, but as things got uglier in the press, you got the sense Fitzpatrick wanted nothing more than for this mess to be finished with.
Besides, not all of the 'computer geeks' Broph is talking about went about this with malice; after all, the NHL marketed the open, online all-star vote as a 'vote-for-whoever-you-want' deal, and as it turned out, there were some fans who genuinely liked the former Buffalo Sabre enough to start a campaign around him. Take a seat in the HSBC Center during a game sometime, and you'll see how readily Sabres fans have embraced that franchise's lunch-pail types: There are more Grant Ledyard and Rob Ray jerseys at the ready than I believed were in existence.
Ultimately, I think the end result of all of this will be the elimination of the write-in candidate the next time around - and a slight change in thinking for the NHL's marketing wing. After all, if you hold an open vote and tell your fans they can select whoever they like, you have to be prepared to embrace whoever that ends up being.
Even Rory Fitzpatrick.
Here are some words from Steve Schmid, the fan who created this whole phenomenon in the first place:
"I think Rory is a great bridge between the players and the fans," Schmid said. "He's your neighbour, coaches your kids' team. He's not a pampered superstar, out of touch with reality. I think it'd be great to return some heart and hustle to the All-Star game."
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