In it, Smizik's main justification for calling fans "knuckleheads" eleven times over the course of the piece boils down to this:
Penguins fans revere players who take less money to play for the Penguins. It shows these players are team oriented and put winning in front of the almighty dollar. But when Hossa does the same thing, he's lambasted.Of course Hossa will be jeered for his choice....It's not coming from Hossa being greedy--like if he took more to play for a team like Edmonton--but from the fact he chose the team and city he felt the best chance of winning in and it wasn't Pittsburgh. Obviously, it's not a bad choice as Detroit won the Cup this past year and returns the entire core of their team. The fact is, Pittsburgh has a pretty good team too and rather than come back and finish business here, Hossa elected to jump ship and give it a go somewhere else.
Fans, the ones who buy the tickets, have every right to cheer or boo at their discretion. It's the atmosphere of sports. In Jagr's situation, he asked to be traded three times and proceeded to whine and cry his way out of town. Fans responded by booing him and he ended up not playing well and producing points against the Penguins in his first returns to Pittsburgh. Perhaps it was luck, perhaps it got to his head but his boos were as much psychological as anything and the booing stuck. We don't follow the Ramirez situation closely enough to offer explanations on it, but a guess could be the boos aren't intended for the player himself, but rather the inept management that foolishly traded such a promising young player away.
Back to hockey, Hossa deserves to hear the fans displeasure when he comes back to Pittsburgh. This has nothing to do with what he did as a Penguin, it's about what he did after. Was Hossa a major reason the Pens got to the Stanley Cup finals? Absolutely. Does he deserve credit and praise for his actions while he was a Pen? You bet. Now that the initial shock and anger has subsided most rational Penguin fans (this one included) can respect the contributions Hossa made to the team while he was a part of it but still scowl at his decision to take less $$ for a chance to win...In Detroit.
As for Smizik, he can cram it with walnuts.