If you're like me, and more than likely Tom Kostopoulos and Ryan O'Byrne, you've probably heard all the jokes by now.
"Why'd he steal a purse?" "Because it matched his pumps!" Hahahahaha.
"Whose purse was it anyway?" "Brisebois'." Hahahahaha.
"It wasn't O'Byrne. Lapierre stole the purse and hid in the corner, and O'Byrne had to stand up to the cops." Hahahahahaha.
Then there's the speculation: It was probably just a drunken mistake. It might have been part of some stupid rookie initiation prank gone horribly wrong. Maybe he was so far gone he thought it really was his girlfriend's purse. Perhaps the woman had some embarrassing pictures on her phone he was trying to erase before they went public. Maybe he's a kleptomaniac. (Yes...I actually saw kleptomania as an excuse raised by a fan online today!)
Whatever really happened, we'll never know unless it comes out in court or if one of the players chooses to tell us. The team has rallied around the two players involved. Most importantly, Bob Gainey has come out and said the team won't take any action against the two. That, to me, is pretty telling. Gainey has a reputation for being one of the most honest and upright people in hockey. If he's talked to the players involved and has decided not to at least suspend them or fine them for their actions, he obviously believes the incident was minor.
I hope that's the case. Because today I thought of the woman involved. If she was somehow party to the "party" and became involved in a misunderstanding, that's one thing. But if she was an innocent bystander who turned around to find her purse, with her money, her phone and her ID suddenly missing, it's not so minor. If you've ever had your purse or wallet stolen, you know the panic and headaches it causes. So if Ryan O'Byrne really did steal that woman's purse, for whatever reason, I'd hope the team realizes it's not a joke. Right now, Bob Gainey is treating it as a one-off mistake, and that's fine. I trust him and his judgement, and I'm relieved he thinks it's not a big deal.
Now, let's put purse-gate in the past and drop the puck already!