Borussia Dortmund and others set an example for NHL fans

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Supporters across all sports have always been touted as the invisible presence on the field of play.

The energy they create from their singing, chanting and jeering has that infectious ability to influence a player's performance.

When supporters are cheering on their team players find that extra cutting edge or that little bit of energy in the dying embers of a match. But a negative action can never illicit a positive reaction.

Going Across the Pond 

After a humiliating 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Edmonton Oilers supporters let their team know just how they felt. The fans booed the players as they made their way to the dressing room.

It's made worse by the fact that in Edmonton the players have to actually walk by their supporters, face-to-face, on the way to their dressing room.

In this video you can feel the disappointment as the fans berate their team.

To be fair to Edmonton fans, their team hasn't been playing well for a number of years. But jeering their team like this has not been conductive to positive performances.

In fact since that night the Oilers have gone 12-21-8 and are only three points above last place Buffalo in the NHL.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are yet another example of a team done in by their supporters. On three separate occasions a Leafs fan has thrown his jersey on the ice.

A clear sign of rejection towards a club that has promised so much and delivered so little. The first tossing occurred during a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

This season the Maple Leafs have a 25-31-5 record. Good enough to rank them 26th out of the 30 teams in the league and well out of a playoff spot. It seems the jeering just isn't paying off for either the Maple Leafs or the Edmonton Oilers.

Bundesliga Does it Right

While NHL fans jeer their teams in search for some sort of positive influence on their players it's refreshing to see how supporters in the Bundesliga approach the same problem.

With a 1-0 loss to Augsburg at the beginning of February, Borussia Dortmund found themselves at the bottom of the Bundesliga table.

Consider that in the previous season Dortmund were runners up in the Bundesliga and had reached theChampions League the year before. The fall from grace has been quite shocking.

Understandably the supporters were upset. However, when goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and captain Mats Hummels approached the gate surrounding the Westfalenstadion to speak with supporters they received support rather than a lashing. 

Since this event Dortmund have won four straight and find themselves out of the relegation zone. While winning the Bundesliga is certainly off the agenda, it seems that the ship has been straightened at Dortmund. 

During this three game winning streak Dortmund took on fellow strugglers VfB Stuttgart. Dortmund were leading 2-1 in a tense affair but, in the 88th minute, Stuttgart's teenaged defender Baumgartl gifted the ball with an errant back pass.

Marco Reus pounced on the mistake rounded the keeper and scored Dortmund's third and decisive goal. After the game, rather then jeer their players, and especially Timo Baumgartl for his mistake Stuttgart supporters comforted the youngster.

It's signs like these that allow a team to escape from despair. As a supporter you have a right to your opinions on the performances of the team. And you have the right to share these opinions with the team.

However, berating your own side hardly seems like a good solution to solving poor performances. The players and coaching staff are clearly under an already incredible amount of pressure.

Adding to this pressure will not guarantee results. Hockey fans have a lot to learn from their counterparts in Europe.

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