Do Capitals fans have a right to boo their team? A team that happens to be in the midst of a three game home losing streak, two of which coming against teams on the outside of the playoff picture looking in?
There will never be a definitive word on the psychology of booing.
Paying ticket holders surely have the right to let their team know when they disapprove of play as they applaud for moments of triumph.
The Washington Post's Dan Steinberg suggests that fans should cut the Caps some slack, especially since there's not much else to appreciate in this hapless sports city.
As far as one can tell, the boo birds flying around the Verizon Center haven't been of a malicious nature. Rather, isolated incidents of 'You guys squandered a power play? Well, we're going to let you know about it by pointing out the obvious.' Relatively harmless, right?
But it all depends on the psychology of this young hockey team. Boo an experienced playoff perennial for minor lapses of poor play and they'll understand it comes with the territory of playing in front of passionate thousands.
Boo a squad wet behind the ears trying to find their way and it may be a detriment to the goal of winning.
Coach Bruce Boudreau takes the correct high road by saying, "If they boo, maybe it'll make us better. That's what we're hoping."
It all comes down to who the Caps want to be. To paraphrase from the movie, Swingers, do they want to be the team in the PG-13 after-school special who everyone really hopes makes it? Or do they want to be the wolf with fangs taking games (and wins) by the throat?
If it's the latter, then the boos wouldn't matter. In fact, you probably wouldn't hear them at all.