The Los Angeles Kings' official Twitter account ruffled some feathers following Game 1 of the team's first-round series with the Vancouver Canucks. Shortly after the final horn sounded and Dustin Penner's 3-2 goal stood up as the game-winner, the account sent out the following tweet:
Why was this outlandish? First, because it originated with an official team Twitter feed, usually reserved for benign links from its website or ticket offers for fans. Second, because the Canucks are considered the most hated team in hockey, and the Kings' official Twitter feed kicked sand in their face on behalf of the rest of Canada.
Cue outrage, although one wonders exactly why. Forgive me if I didn't expect the Kings' official Twitter account to remain neutral, like the Democratic Order of Planets.
But many felt that the Kings crossed the line with the tweet, and it was enough for the organization to issue an apology Thursday morning.
"We encourage our digital team to be creative, interactive and to apply a sense of humor whenever possible," Michael Altieri, the team's vice-president, communications and broadcasting, wrote in an email. "To anyone who found it offensive we sincerely apologize."
Was this necessary?
I don't think so. Mike Altieri, the Kings' vice-president of communications and content, told The Globe & Mail earlier Thursday morning that situation would be addressed, but I had hoped that his way of doing so would be to stop in the doorway of the social media guy's office, say "Good stuff, bud. Be careful, but good stuff," and keep walking.
As Thomas Drance of Canucks Army suggested, I suspect that much of the shock and awe among Canucks fans and even fans in other Canadians hockey cities stems from what they've come to expect from their team's Twitter account, which embraces the word "official" and addresses the untold masses with the professionalism and relative remove.
You'd never see something like this out the Canucks' Twitter account because it isn't trying to drum up interest or attention; it's just trying to maintain the status quo. Heck, it avoids full-on Orwellian status simply because the Canucks' social media guru, Derek Jory, is talented enough to walk that fine line.
The Kings' account, on the other hand, is actively trying to engage -- and engage it did.
The tweet was on the edge, sure, but it accomplished the rare feat of getting everybody worked up and yammering about the Kings while still being relatively harmless. Moreover, it tapped into Canada's new national pastime of hating the Canucks without drifting into sexism, prejudice, unfair and unprofessional journalistic bias, or full-on imbecility.
It doesn't deserve the outrage; it deserves a slow clap.