The Pittsburgh Pengiuns.
There’s a team that should get the bile duct of most Caps fans going.
Even though Pittsburgh isn’t a division rival, I can think of no team in the NHL that I hate more than the Pittsburgh Penguins.
They are my Dallas Cowboys of Hockey.
I hated going to games at Verizon Center whenever the Penguins came to town.
Sure the games would be close to sell out capacity, but that’s because it would be packed with Penguins fans. If the Caps scored, the crowd at home ice would boo them!
The now familiar chant of “Let’s go Caps” would be replaced with “Let’s go Pens!”
Pens?! Seriously?! You cheer for office equipment?
Could you imagine seeing this on Wheel of Fortune:
“Pat, I think I’d like to buy a vowel.”
Pittsburgh currently has Sidney Crosby. I hate Sidney Crosby. Not because I think he’s better than say, I dunno, Alex Ovechkin, but because he is more popular (well, in anyplace other than DC).
Sidney Crosby complained to the media this year that he thought Ovechkin was “targeting” him. He implied that he thought Ovechkin was trying to hurt him and taking “cheap shots.” He complained that the refs weren’t calling any penalties on Ovechkin and, get this, giving him special treatment because he’s a “star player.”
How can anyone seriously cheer for this cry-baby?
Okay, let me break this down simply. Ovechkin is not a “finesse” player; well, not totally. He is not afraid of contact. He relishes it. He expects to get hit when he has the puck, and he gives as good as he gets.
Ovechkin wants the puck. If nothing else, he doesn’t want the other team to have it. If you have the puck, and Alex is nearby…he will hit you; hard. If you don’t want to get hit, then maybe you picked the wrong sport. Hockey is a contact sport, maybe those delicate hands are more suited to wield a golf club as opposed to a hockey stick (see: Happy Gilmore). At least that way you won’t have to worry about someone knocking you off the tee (unless you invite Ovie to play…then who knows).
The sad part is that Canadians, who pride themselves on the gritty game of hockey with the hard hits, the fighting, the blood on the ice; side with Crosby.
It makes me sick to see these guys like Don Cherry (in his multi-colored crushed velvet suits) talk about what a great player Crosby is, and in the same breath describe Ovechkin as a “mindless goon.” Crosby is the next Wayne Gretzky while Ovechkin is more the ilk of Sean Avery (at least in Cherry’s opinion).
Cherry made his attacks more personal this year when he blathered on about how much he hates Alex’s goal-scoring celebrations. He compared Ovechkin’s exuberance with that of international Soccer players. He even had the nerve to use (you guessed it) Crosby as a contrast of what a hockey player “should be.”
The way Cherry made it sound, the rest of the league hangs their head in a dignified, almost apologetic manner whenever they score a goal. Kind of a “hey man, I know I just scored on you. Terribly sorry about that y’know, but my coach said I had to do it otherwise we might just lose this game.”
Everyone celebrates when they score. Yes, even your beloved Crosby jumps up and throws his hands in the air after a goal.
Ovechkin loves the game. He loves playing it, he loves being the best at it, and if anything his huge celebrations are a further example of how humble he is. What kind of arrogant jerk would he look like if he simply skated away from a goal like it was ‘no big deal.’ It would be the same as saying “yeah, I score all the time. I was going to score against you anyway, and now I have. Let’s not make any big thing out of it, a’ight.”
That may be the Don Cherry way, but considering he dresses more like he should be taming tigers in Vegas like his brothers Siegfried and Roy, and less like an analyst covering a professional sport, he doesn’t really have a lot of room to be criticizing anyone else’s “flamboyance.”
We are done with the whining. We already got plenty of that from New York. “Your fans spit on us and called us dirty names. Your guy bit us, I’m gonna tell. ”
Pittsburgh is going to think they have home ice throughout the playoffs, because that’s what they’ve been used to. They are gonna expect Verizon Center to be filled with their roaming bands of Gypsy fans, but when they get in there and see a sea of 18,000 people all wearing red…they’ll know they aren’t at home, and they certainly aren’t welcome.
Puck drops at 1pm Pittsburgh; bring your A-Game.