We’ve been spoiled, Pittsburgh. Last year’s Stanley Cup run has turned a portion of the Penguins’ fan base into Augustus Gloops from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We wanted our sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets and we wanted it right there and then on Tuesday night.When that didn’t happen, the reactionaries came out on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else they could pop off. Some of their favorite low-hanging fruit are, “Fleury sucks…Bench Maatta…Kessel is lazy.”
Now, whether some of these fans are fair-weather and have little knowledge of the game would be no surprise, but nonetheless, to see the knee-jerking from a portion of the Pittsburgh fan base after a single loss is ridiculous.
I’m no superfan and am as intense as the next viewer, but if I learned anything from last season, it’s to remain patient with this team. They went from a stagnant, oppressively conservative playing style to a defensively responsible yet free-flowing team in a span of a few months. And they have a Stanley Cup to show for it.
If the team can remain patient after a loss, then so can its fan base. That’s why Tuesday night’s loss to Columbus is a reminder to us fans that nothing is automatic. Our team is comprised of humans who sometimes don’t breakout of their own zone clean, turnover pucks, play sloppy team defense, and struggle to get solid starts during games and at the beginning of periods.
But you don’t see Mike Sullivan grinding his knife on the whetstone, ready to clean house after a loss. He’s a mature coach with a mature team, and knows when to yank to the leash.
As we all know, Stanley Cup runs aren’t some strut down center ice toward the handshake line. There will be plenty more miscalculations, mistakes, and penalties during this playoff run, so now would be a good time for all the yinzers who are currently having a an aneurism over a loss to stiffen up and stay patient like their beloved team.
It’s not the whole fan base that does this, but it’s the same kind of people who called for Fleury to be traded well before the deadline this year that continue to read the Pen’s eulogy after every loss. They’ve been doing this all season, but now it’s time for them to join the rest of the Penguins’ faithful fan base and stick it out for the long haul.
If Mike Sullivan tells the team to “just play,” then us fans should take note and in the same vein, whether win or lose, just stay with this team.
Now, let’s go cheer the Pens on and see this series wrapped up on Thursday night.
Authors Note: Embed Code for the use of the Getty Image here
Kevin Cochrane is a writer and college student. Like what you read? Follow him on Twitter @RunFree_KC, find him on Facebook, or click the follow button at the bottom of the page to get Town Crier’s latest updates. Want to read more? Visit his blog at restandrefuge.wordpress.com which offers a Christian perspective on the surrounding culture. You can contact him with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.