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Assessing the NHL/NBC decision to play Pens-Caps on Sunday

On Friday night I received a dreadful e-mail on my BlackBerry. It confirmed reports of Toronto Maple Leafs GM BRIAN BURKE’S son’s death because of injuries sustained in an auto accident. About 36 hours, later the NHL and NBC allowed a hockey game to be played Sunday at noon in Washington — a game that, for it to be played, required league officials, two teams, fans and arena employees to travel dangerous paths during a time of record snowfall and extreme winter conditions.

Reckless and disgraceful — no better words describe the NHL and NBC’s decision to have the Penguins and Washington Capitals play Sunday at Verizon Center.

From my dialogue over the weekend with folks at the NHL and with the Penguins and Capitals, I can deduce only one reason that the league would risk the safety of two teams, fans and arena workers — ratings, as in whatever Nielsen hits the NBC “NHL Game of the Week” could garner between the Super Bowl Sunday hours of 1-3 p.m.  That span of time represented treasured TV real estate, it was explained to me, because many Americans are searching for programming to fill the gap between the meat of Super Bowl pregame shows and the actual contest itself.

Plus, dare I forget to mention, Sunday was NBC’s only regular-season opportunity to broadcast a game featuring league top draws SIDNEY CROSBY and ALEX OVECHKIN. (An e-mail to NBC was not returned Saturday.)

To paraphrase what an agent once told me: This is a terrible, disgusting business, and we’ve all sacrificed something we would rather have back to be a part of it.

The NHL and NBC were willing to sacrifice the safety of everybody at Verizon Center on Sunday, and both companies should consider themselves fortunate that blood is not on their hands.

I, like everybody on a path from Western Pennsylvania to Washington, awoke Saturday to levels of snowfall (between 2 and 3 feet) that called for emergency declarations by government officials. Many residents were without power, heat and clean water, and we were told to stay off the roads to allow for response crews to clear snow, treat icy patches and remove trees — some that lay across streets, others that rested on power lines.

Flights into airports were canceled. Select hospitals stopped taking new patients. Interstates were shut down. An NBA game at Verizon Center on Saturday night was postponed.

Remarkably, an NHL game at the same arena was played Sunday afternoon.

Who cares that Washington coach BRUCE BOUDREAU was forced to stay at a downtown hotel because his suburban home lacked power? Was it really a problem that NBC analyst EDDIE OLCZYK couldn’t get to the game from out of town because of travel restrictions? So the Penguins were forced to fly from Montreal to Newark, N.J., from where they traveled via charter bus Saturday night through dangerous conditions to arrive at a Washington hotel after 2 a.m. on Sunday morning — hey, hockey players are used to tough travel from their days in junior, collegiate or minor leagues; was this really a big deal?

Here I thought the NHL held itself to a higher standard than minor-league hockey. Saturday afternoon should have arrived with the following statement from the NHL:

The NBC “NHL Game of the Week” scheduled for noon Sunday between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals at Verizon Center has been rescheduled for a date and time to be determined. The safety of our teams, fans and Verizon Center employees is our first priority, and cannot be 100 percent guaranteed because of a massive winter storm that has crippled both the Washington and Pittsburgh markets.

Ticket-holding fans in Washington and Pittsburgh were left in the cold most of Saturday regarding the status of Sunday’s game. I did not receive confirmation from the NHL until after 9 p.m. on Saturday that the game would be played as scheduled.

I have no doubt that the NHL spent Saturday weighing all its options, but I question why a storm reported on for most of last week hadn’t forced the league to consider those options seriously before Saturday — so that by early Saturday an announcement could have been made.

Actually, my dialogue with officials from the NHL, Penguins and Capitals leads me to believe that the game would be played so long as the Penguins could reach Washington — and, hey, if they could reach Washington, these “Are you really going to play this game?” questions I’d been asking really were much ado about nothing.

A couple of reporters in Washington for the game — the weather prevented me from attending — shared horror stories of their voyage to Verizon Center. A Capitals beat reporter informed me that many players expressed a lack of confidence handling the treacherous road conditions from their homes to the arena.

I can only imagine how the NHL and NBC would have reacted had Ovechkin been delayed to the game because he was in an auto accident, and what would have happened had the Penguins’ bus from Newark stalled, or worse, been involved in a crash as the result of black ice?

Penguins and Capitals employees publicly said all the right things about playing that game Sunday. Privately, they fumed that the contest was not postponed. It could have been. It should have been. Verizon Center had no scheduled events for Monday, and the Penguins and Capitals were each off Monday and Tuesday. Playing Monday made the most sense, especially given the arena options and teams’ availability.

Instead, Penguins-Capitals went off at noon — again, despite an emergency state declared for Washington at the time. Response workers reportedly needed a second consecutive weekend day to prepare that city, our nation’s capital, for weekly business that would begin Monday; but why not create a little traffic to deal with by dropping the hockey ball in the process?

If ever there was a weekend to remind leagues and companies that in troubled times the safety of people should come first, it was a weekend when the New Orleans Saints played in the NFL’s Super Bowl. Yet on that weekend the NHL and NBC placed in harm’s way every person at Verizon Center for the Penguins-Capitals game  — all for the sake of some national TV exposure and a potential ratings boost.

As always, dear reader, your thoughts are appreciated: rrossi@tribweb.com.

TAKE A BREATHER

Of course, given their hectic weekend, the Penguins could use a day to regroup (and rest). They will resume practice Tuesday — the start of prepping for three crucial games before the Olympic break. The Islanders (Wednesday), Rangers (Friday) and Predators (Sunday) visit Mellon Arena this week, and the Penguins should consider any point total fewer than five as unacceptable. Put simply: Teams with championship aspirations make good on a stretch such as this week.

Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

Comments

  1. Preston Calvert says:

    Rossi,
    I think you need to step back a bit and take a breath. I am a Caps fan, and trudged through 30″ snow in my neighborhood to reach a crossroads so a friend with a Hummer could take me to the game on Sunday. I joined 15-18000 of my best buddies and witnessed a spectacular hockey game, with the best that your Pens and my Caps could offer. The Caps Captain, Alex Ovechkin, said in interviews after the game that the encouragement of our fans helped fuel the Caps third period rally over the Pens. Sure, a few professionals in the media business and some fans could not make it to the game, but it is terrific that the game went on as planned. You should know that DC public schools were OPEN today, with only a 2 hour delay, only 18 hours after the game ended.
    It was all good, and was a great display of professionalism by the athletes, coaches, officials (well, maybe less by the officials), etc. Get over it.

  2. bvllets says:

    Seriously, stop being such a whiner because you lost.

  3. kushiro says:

    Gee…I wonder how many people were without power and didn’t get to stay at a warm hotel at someone else’s expense? Or had to work a shift without having any choice in the matter, nor arranged transportation, expensed meals and per diems?

    Way to stick up for the oppressed (wealthy) athletes, Mr Rossi. You are a true force for social change.

  4. Darren says:

    It’s no different than asking the Atlanta Thrashers to try to leave Washington while the blizzard was ongoing to make a game the next day.

  5. sam says:

    This just shows you how much of a bonehead Gary Bettman is…if something terrible would have happened that little puke still wouldn’t have resigned.
    it seems he is going to be the little general till the day he dies and when he does the owners will prop up his pathetic corpse and still worship him…

  6. JWJr says:

    You do realize that hockey is a winter sport, played, if not directly in winter conditions, then during winter conditions? Given this year’s compacted schedules, postponing every game where there was some kind of snow emergency would result in an uncompleted season for many teams.

    …and, BTW, today (Monday), your proposed makeup day, finds us _still_ under snow emergencies here. Why would today have been any better? -JW

  7. Michelle Dulong says:

    I’m in Nova Scotia and barely slept Saturday night knowing what was in store for the Pens trip into a blizzard.
    There simply is no excuse.

  8. Randy DeMichiei says:

    I agree 100% with you about the decision. i would have been disappointed that there was no game but safety should come first. It is a disgrace that the NHL would risk player’s, coach’s and the public’s well-being less than 36 hours after Burke’s accident on a snow covered highway. it is a shame that the all mighty dollar clouds our sensibilities

  9. Sue says:

    Well said. Despite being a Canadian used to more snow than I care to have, and despite having had to drive unexpectedly in lousy conditions, I was dismayed to see the game go forward. It should have been postponed. It not only placed the Pens at risk, and to some extent the Caps, and all the fans trying to get to the arena, it placed everyone on the road at a greater risk. Even one more vehicle on the road in dangerous conditions adds to the risk faced by all those who must be on the road to get to specific life-saving jobs. I have no trouble with trying to increase the ratings. I love hockey and want others to join in the fun. But, this was ridiculous. Your statement is the one that should have played on Saturday afternoon.

  10. Harp says:

    I think the lack of rest between games hurt the Pen’s as the game wore on. You could tell they were not mentally as sharp in the third period. This game should have been postponed until Monday so the Pen’s could have rested up which would have been fair.
    Sure they came out on fire but fatigue set in.
    Add this factor to some weak penalty calling and this game was set up for the Caps to win.

  11. wvs923 says:

    What a ration of crap! If it was such a big deal you should have written about it before today. This is typical Pittsburgh whining. If it was such a big deal to the players do you not think they would have said something? I am sure the NHL would have taken into consideration the Penguins feelings about their safety if they had said something! The Penguins lost, deal with it!

  12. Let’s see crapital fans, a team plays two games in less than 24 hours and 10 hours of travel including a four hour bus trip. They then get up 5 hours later(normally the players get to the rink 2 to 3 hours before the game) and their is no fatigue factor??? The column was right on target, the game should have been played Monday. But you heard no complaints from the Penguins. That’s the mark of a champion. As for the loser fans in DC, your coach is about the biggest whining A#$$ that has come into the NHL in some time. Your city has the same caliber of fans as the compitency level of politicans preciding in the White house and Congress. We’ll see how cheap shot artist Ovie fairs against the Pens in the last two games of the regular season and playoffs. By the way, nice touch with the hardhat Ovie. What a class act. See you in the playoffs losers.

  13. king cooke says:

    Ridiculous! Millions of kids are driven to hockey practice at 5:00 am in heavy snowfall every weekend. Hockey is a winter sport, born and bred in cold, icy towns, where we stay and play under the lights of the outdoor rinks at -25 for hours, before walking home on slippery sidewalks… I wouldn’t miss a game of pond shinny for a few feet of snow (in fact, the deeper the snowbanks, the higher the “boards”), so why should millions of viewers be deprived of the most spectacular game of the year, on one of the best sporting days of the year??? It was a wonderful day, thank you Pens for making the trip, bus and all, and thanks to the 18,000-odd Caps fans who didn’t mind the snow and rocked the building.

    Just because you didn’t get there because of the weather… shoulda had another beer and enjoyed an outstanding game.

  14. Beaver says:

    I’ve always respected your writing and read what you had to say as an “enemy” writer, but I can no longer do that. As a Caps season ticket holder, I must address a few things with you.

    1. Although the city was shut down, the residents of DC and Caps fans (and Pens fans, to an extent) deserved this game. DC is an absolute mess, the only bright spot in this city anymore is the Capitals. The same goes for Pittsburgh. While DC might be experiencing less of a recession than most of the country (And Ad revenue for Pitt helps in gams like these, as well), our city has had an awful calendar year (METRO crash, a crippling winter, and government funding shortfalls). Games like on Sunday do a ton to revenue business in Chinatown as well as throughout DC.

    2. As much as this storm affected the Penguins, it also had an effect on the Caps Let’s leave out Coach Bruce having to stay at a hotel. Many areas around the District were without essential City Services, while others were without even the most basic utilities. A real joy for many (myself included) was to be able to get out of the house in some way and arrive at the VC (in my case a 45 minute walk through snow) to forget that not only was DC an absolute mess after this storm, and that we are expecting another foot and a half on Tuesday, but that I, like many others, had to work later that night in a Service job in the city, even though Residents were asked to confine themselves to their homes.

    3. Last, I have to question your motives in writing this entry. Why? Beside a loss for your side, there was nothing wrong with this game. Crosby showed why he is the legitimate scorer for the Pens, Jordan Staal is scary when left open, and Malkin, while not as dangerous with his shot as last year MUST MUST MUST be covered for fear of the sparking passes he made to set up amazing goals, while Ovechkin showed that when called upon he can put an entire team on his back and hope for victory. There was nothing not to love about this game. Superb goaltending on both sides, The Kid v. The Russian (while Ovie got the hat trick, Sid had two amazing goals where from the 400 level I’m still trying to find the puck), and the feeling that only Sid’s Pens v. Ovie’s Caps seems to bring us these past two years.

    I understand your grievances with what occurred late Saturday. Perhaps if the NHL goes on a different path in finding a new commissioner who is not so $ (dollar sign) oriented this game would have been postponed, but for now I ask of you Mr. Rossi, are you really disappointed by the game itself or by its results.

    Any questions, comments, retorts, or criticisms can be directed to ryancroller@gmail.com. I do hope you respond, and look forward to hearing from you.

  15. Victor Ramirez says:

    Would you feel this way had the Penguins held onto their lead? I doubt it. In other cities, the Penguins have a reputation as a team of whiners. This didn’t start with Crosby (though he certainly embodies it to the nth degree); it went back to Lemieux and Jaromir “Puffnuts” Jagr, and continues on to the press and their fans.

    But, to be fair, there is one guy who sees it correctly, and said, “I don’t think [the travel] had anything to do with it…I thought our team had plenty of jump. I don’t think it was a factor at all . . . We had a travel day. Most of these guys have done that quite a bit in their career in the American [Hockey] League or growing up. I don’t think it was at all out of the ordinary for any of these guys.” I think the Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma, who had a much clearer view of the action, has just rendered any argument you might have null and void.

  16. Mike says:

    To Harp,
    You mean like that phantom call on Jeff Schultz for the slash of the stick that never happened with about four minutes to go in regulation…was that set up for the Caps too?

  17. James says:

    The only reason I’m convinced you and Cindy Crosby aren’t dating is that one of you would have to be the man in the relationship.

  18. Pam says:

    Once again, the powers that be were blinded by the potential ratings instead of common sense. Driving conditions were not ideal. Accidents in that kind of weather are likely. Also, did anyone consider what could have happened if a player was seriously injured during the game – or an arena worker or patron needed medical help? How would an ambulance get there and how quickly would they have been able to reach a hospital? How about the safety of the ambulance crew, etc. in getting to and from the arena? Skates cut, injuries occur from high sticks, checks into the boards, etc. Are we sure the NHL is being run by the same personnel as the KHL? As we teach our children, “safety first!”

  19. pm says:

    if the Pens had won you would be talking about what a great decision it was to play the game.

  20. Bob says:

    From the Fans, VC employees to the players – everyone had a choice whether or not to attend this game. I don’t recall a gun being put to a single persons head forcing them to the game either. Would this pussy opinion have been written if Crapsburgh would have won??

  21. Gabriel NJ says:

    STOP Whining!!! It is JUST SNOW….if people would just relax and take their time, instead of panicing, everything would go smooth. That’s what is wrong with people; when some bad weather arrives or something crazy happens, people act like fools and do stupid things. If people would just relax and think things through, there will be no problems or any major issues. GO PENS!!!!

  22. theotherone says:

    Penguins win this game, and the article reads, “World Champs Stop Caps Streak Cold.”

  23. Randy Gary says:

    This is a load of BS. If the Pens were so affected by the travel, why were they up 4-1 in the game? They seemed to be playing pretty damn well until the 3rd.. oh yeah, and they started the 3rd with a 5 v 3.

    And people in Canadia, we don’t care what you think. I don’t give a damn if you think the game shouldn’t have gone on when you were located 600 miles away in NOVA SCOTIA. Get a life. How do YOU know what the conditions were? Were you driving in them?

    You guys are a bunch of whiners. Lack of rest “HARP”? The Caps are playing the same rough schedule as the Pens. Just admit that you LOST fair and square. Bad penalties? How about that PHANTOM SLASHING call with 4 minutes left in the 3rd? Glad your Pens fans could take advantage……

  24. bigatrop says:

    are you kidding me? i understand that you think the roads were terrible and that it was dangerous to trek there, but in reality it wasnt bad enough to keep 18k people from making the game. the metro was barely working, so the majority of citizens drove there… and coming from someone who lives in DC, i can say the roads were totally manageable, and if they werent, people stayed home.

    i see this article as a sneaky attempt to legitimize the penguins losing by standing on an ivory tower and claiming driver safety as your reason for writing it. when in reality, you are drumming up excuses for the penguins losing another game to the caps.

    nice try, but your motives are rather transparent.

  25. Dieter Kelly says:

    I actually agree, it is easy to make snide remarks about Rossi being from Pitt and complaining because the Pens lost, and with hind site because seemingly everything turned out ok (though I have to wonder if anyone was bruised or suffered property damage to their vehicles trying to get to the game). The truth is there was an exceptional risk to everyone involved to make the game. We have season tix to the Caps and thought long and hard about going to the game and in the end my wife went because it was our daughter’s birthday weekend and we had promised to take her (and the rest of her party activities had to be postponed). The fact is that Monday would have been a suitable (for all except NBC) alternative since all the local school districts had already annouced either closure or delay and the Federal government was already shut down for Monday.

  26. Tom says:

    I went to the Caps game on Friday night. Knowing the Metro would close the outside train stops if the snow reached 8 or more inches, I drove an extra 15 miles to get to the first underground stop. When the game ended, my sons and I walked a block and a half to get to my car and drove the 20 miles home in a foot of snow that was still falling in blizzard conditions. I think that game should have been rescheduled.

    Sunday’s game, although there was snow on the ground, was played well after the last snow flake fell. People had three days to figure out how to get to the Verizon Center, give up their tickets or just not go.

    The Georgetown Hoyas played basketball Saturday at the Verizon Center and no one is whinning about that. The U of MD women’s basketball team played at 4 PM Friday. No one is whinning about that.

    The conditions on Sunday were not good. But each person involved with the game as a fan, player, etc. had a choice to make – go or don’t go. Neither the NHL or NBC held a gun to anyone’s head and forced them to attend the game or even play it. If the Pens’ management was so concerned about their teams safety they could have just refused to send their players. The could have said “forget it, give the win to the Caps. Saftey first”. They didn’t. The Pens could have put an end to the game and elected not to. The Caps could have done the same thing. They didn’t.

    I’m sure if Cindy and the Baby Pens would have won Sunday the headlines would have been “Pens defy blizzard, beat Caps” or something even more cleaver that would make the Pens sound like they single handedly plowed the streets from Montreal to Washington D.C, saved thousands of lives and formed a human wall to protect the homeless from high winds before entering the Verion Center, hungry, tired, cold and shoeless to beat the Washington Capitals, who just cowarded in a corner fearfull of a little snow.

    The game was played. Cindy and team blew a three goal lead. Nothing more, nothing less. They lost and as Pittsburg is want to do (as shown by the Pens player who smacks Semin with a high stick and blames the players face for getting in the way of his high stick) they are making excuses, crying and whinning.

    The Pens have a sea of talent, it’s just a damn shame they have no class, no courage and like the ability to take blame and give creidt.

    I’d really like to be able to respect Cindy and his mates, but the entire city of Pittsburg and their “always have an excuse, I am going to cry and whine’ attitude makes it impossible.

  27. rconner says:

    Pens lost. Haha. Bad penalty calls set the CAPS up to win? I’m sorry, but the Caps won in spite of the bad calls. Pittsburgh sports are on the downward slope. Get used to it. And not to say that this article is just whining because the Pens lost, but it does make you wonder if this article would have been written if they had won. Probably not. Go CAPS!

  28. Sunny says:

    I am a rabid Caps season tix holder, and I made it to the game, and I am thrilled to have been there for an epic victory. And still, I agree that it was 100% the wrong call for the greedy NHL and NBC to proceed with this game. The game should have been cancelled or postponed. It’s hockey, nobody needs to take risk with life and limb for a sporting event.

  29. jeremy says:

    Dude, lighten up with the “what ifs”… The fact is Ovechkin DIDN’T get in an auto accident. The fact is the teams, their employees, and THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of people DID make it to the building. The fact is college kids played basketball in Verizon Center the afternoon the NBA cancelled. At least be fair in reporting.

    You can “what if” forever and ever … the Caps are heading to Montreal this very moment. The Federal government is STILL closed. Should the Caps NOT go? Should we reschedule the game in Canada? What if there’s an accident? What if the plane crashes?

    I live in DC (the city, not the area). I don’t OWN a car. I *walked* to and from the game. (People DO live in this city, my friend.) The streets are STILL a mess. As you yourself say: you didn’t make it to Washington, so you don’t know what it’s really like here. So lighten up with the what ifs…

    And how awful of you use the death of Brian Burke’s son to fuel your sky-COULD-have-fallen blather. Shameful.

  30. SmartThanYou says:

    Harp wanted a double minor for that slashing call I guess

  31. Joe says:

    Say whatever you want about Rob but he is correct on this subject. It was a foolish and greedy thing for the NHL and NBC to play this game Sunday putting so many people at risk.
    Some people had the choice of whether or not to attend the game but the teams and many other people had zero choice.

    What would people be saying today if the Pens team bus had crashed and players were killed and injured trying to get to Washington? Would people be so nonchalant or about Rob’s comments?

  32. Jeff says:

    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

    That’s the sound that fat dudes in Cindy Crosby jerseys that are too small for them, wearing little yellow plastic miner hats on top of their fat heads make.

  33. Moogatu says:

    I’m a Caps fan that drove in the horrible conditions on Sunday to get to the game. I wouldn’t have done it but people were relying on me to pick them up and bring them to the nearest underground metro stop to go to the game. It was irresponsible to go forward after a record snow fall for the DC area. Don’t give me it’s a “winter sport” crap because the weather we had this weekend was definitely not normal. In no way did Mr. Rossi blame the Pens loss to the commute they had to make. He only states that it was very dangerous for the Pens to make the trip, dangerous for the Caps to drive from their homes to Verizon, and dangerous for the fans and Verizon staff to also make the trip to go to the game. I nearly got stuck twice in the snow. I saw the aftermath of a car on I-66 crashed with it’s front end totaled after losing control in the ice and hitting a wall. It was a complete disregard of safety by the NHL and NBC to have the game on Sunday as scheduled.

  34. Jason says:

    The posts by the Craps fans on here just make me laugh. How quickly you forget that the Crapitals dominated the Pens in the regular season series last year, but lost when it counted. And talk about whining, OV laid on the ice and cried and whined every time he was touched on Sunday and Semin is the biggest baby, actor, whiner in the league. I will give credit where credit is due – the Craps are the most dynamic offensive team in the league but the D and goaltending is a huge question mark – Mike Green may be great offensively (although he was invisible in the playoffs last year) but he is one of the worst D-men in the league in his own end and the rest of the Craps D are nothing more than 5-6th D on other teams. Keep talking about “Cindy” and the rest of the Pens being classless while your team celebrates a regular season win like it was the Stanley Cup….guess that’s the only time they’ll be celebrating like they’ve won Lord Stanley though…

  35. Duke says:

    If the Crosbies……err I mean PENGUINS won the game on Sunday this article would never have been written. Thats a Fact.

    Whats hillarious is that the media takes after the players in Pittsburgh and love to CRY about everything.

    I was at the game and if it had been rescheduled for a NON – Sunday game I would have been pissed off. The roads were passable by Sunday morning and Metro got me there in one piece.

    Did you start writing this article after Eric Fehr’s goal or when OVIE put on the Fedora?

    LOVE IT.

  36. Steve says:

    Sorry, but the main roads in DC were fine. People had problems getting out of their driveways to get to the main roads but if they were able to get to the main roads there was little danger. We aren’t talking about people driving 100 mph. In fact, the problem with driving to the game was slow going traffic, not dangerous conditions. And as has been mentioned, why was there no whining about the Hoyas playing the day before in much worse conditions? By the time the Penguins’ bus hit the area the plows had done their jobs and cleared I-95 and the beltway. AHL players deal with this “ordeal” 20 times a year yet nobody cries for them. And by the way, please don’t harp on the back-to-back aspect. This was the Caps 3rd game in 4 days. No advantage for either team. And by the way, what a great, entertaining game.

  37. Ed G says:

    Mr. Rossi, I’m afraid your rant here DOES come off as a rather large portion of sour grapes. I’m a diehard Penguins fan and I was thrilled that they played the game. Of course I wasn’t thrilled with the outcome but, at least the Pens got a point. And let’s give credit where it’s due. The Caps are a seriously strong team. There’s a reason why they have won 14 in a row. Granted, the Pens did look like they kind of ran out of gas in the third period but, they have looked like that for many games this year. Having lots of rest time is clearly not the answer for them either. Just look at what happened in Montreal on Saturday. That was after 4 days off. Also, lots of people deal with terrible weather conditions so they can get to work. And most of those people aren’t multi-millionaire athletes. And I didn’t hear any of those multi-millionaire athletes complaining. As a matter of fact, that was probably the most intense game I’ve seen since last year’s playoffs. If the Pens’ players and coaches are upset about anything I’m sure it’s the fact that they COULD have come away with two points.

  38. Brad says:

    Wow!…unbelievable how this was turned into a “whiners” blog. Look, I am a die hard penguins fan and I agree that we lost fair and square. We gave up in the third and basically handed the game back to the Caps. But I think what you are all missing, was the point. We all know how greedy Gary Bettman is..The game should have been cancelled for safety issues, whether we won or not…and as for bad calls? they happen on either side..They happen to you Cap fans out there, just like they happen to the Pens fans…I admit that slashing penalty shouldnt have been called…Sid broke his own stick…but I also think Semin should have won an Oscar for his dramatic “highsticking” scene….I played hockey for 14 years, and you are all right, its a winter sport, and I have made my way through some pretty bad snow storms to get to a game, but I have also missed a few due to that brutal east coast weather..But, the players, coaching staff ect; werent held at gunpoint. They made the choice to play, and it shows their love of the game…However, the NHL should have made the call…

  39. Jack says:

    Climb off the cross, Mr. Rossi. Jesus needs the wood.

    The teams and over 15,000 fans were able to make it to the game. The Pens travel was no worse than what many teams and parents handle on a regular basis. Was it a bit unusual for a NHL team? Perhaps. But remember the Pens are the NHL franchise that “created” a 1-2-2-1-1 playoff schedule in 2000 because a Yanni concert was scheduled at the Igloo; so much for home ice advantage… Last years playoffs had 24 hr turnaround between games because Mellon Arena had events already scheduled. When it comes to supposed higher standards for the NHL and scheduling games, the Pens have no moral high ground to stand on.

    Sunday’s game was a great game. NHL.com listed the highlights as “Game of the Year?”. The superstars were on top of their games and NBC could not have hoped for a better matchup. That game rivaled the dueling hat tricks in last year’s playoffs. Stop being a sore loser and complaining about the weather.

  40. Glenn says:

    Tom, nobody is whining here. The Pens lost because their defense isn’t playing well enough lately to hold leads, especially against a good offensive team currently healthy and playing well. That’s all. They miss the kind of defense that Scuderi was giving them to limit Ovi in last year’s playoff series (you remember, the one where the Caps went down hard in Game 7 at home).

    Get back to us when your regular-season wonders the Caps have actually accomplished something in the post-season. Meantime, we’ll enjoy our 3 Stanley Cups. Bye now.

  41. JoyceJoy says:

    Let’s see, the DC area was in a state of emergency and the people were told to stay off the roads. Why weren’t the people who were on the roads ticketed or fined for doing so? I always thought it was LAW to stay off the roads in an emergency state.

  42. William says:

    What a bunch of losers.

    Sorry, nothing else to say but that. Losers in life, losers in every sense of the word. This is what the message board/comment section of every web page has turned into. People who either can’t read, or refuse to comprehend what they’re reading, and simply look for arguments because they’re angry all day pumping gas for a living.

    Where does he complain about the actual game, or the outcome? Name one part where it’s more about the final score than the nonsense that people had to go through to either play or watch the game?

    He talks about the safety of Washington residents. He talks about the safety of Caps players who were worried about driving to the game. He talks about the consequences of what would happen if Ovechkin got hurt or God forbid, worse.

    He talks about a young kid dying at 21 years old and how greed and ratings trump even the death of someone who’s life hadn’t even truly started…

    …and you all actually think that he’s whining about the final score of a regular season game in February?

    Honest to God people, grow up.

  43. William says:

    Tom,

    You didn’t hear a single Pens player complain about the travel. In fact, they all spoke about how good they felt, etc…

    Please don’t complain about Penguin fans and players not having class and complaining. There’s actually no reason to complain about anything when you’re defending Stanley Cup Champions, so I’m not sure where that argument came from other than your personal dislikes. It certainly isn’t based on any fact.

    All you need to do is look at your red faced garden gnome of a coach who complains about EVERY single call that goes against your team. Dan Bylsma will blame himself first after every loss and never once loses his cool on the bench. That’s a class act and a leader.

    Add to that Capital fan conspiracy nuts about officiating and Bettman, and you wonder if you’re not talking about yourselves.

    So, who whines again?

  44. NOMOSNOW says:

    It was definitely irresponsible to make the teams play for the sake of some tv ratings. Monday would have been fine. As a Caps fan, i’m glad we won, despite the despicable officiating (is an investigation being launched? are they even going to try to find out where that ref got the balls to call slashing from the blueline?); however, if the roads were so bad and weather so dangerous that state officials pleaded with folks to stay home, the penguins should have been prevented from busing to DC from Newark, not encouraged to do so. ESPN and NBC bailed on hockey a long time ago. They should not be in a position to determine when games get played, who they get played by (winter classic), or what conditions are bad enough to derail travel. Sure, nothing happened, but thats not the point. Something could have happened and the risk is what i take issue with, or rather, the risk just to be on NBC, who has crap coverage anyway.

  45. It’s funny how all the Caps fans are reduced to calling Sid the Kid “cindy” and all the other crap. Sore losers? I don’t think so.
    They know they should have won that game but they let your Caps stick around.
    I watched every Ovie interview after every play off game the Caps played last season and he whines the most, and the loudest–and never compliments the winning team…called Lunquist “well, he’s not a God he can’t win all the time.” Ovie, quote: after losing again to the Pens game 5 of the Stanley Cup playoffs last year: “I don’t want to talk about it.” He is a bad sport. He showed that last season. Yes, he is a great player but he is also a sore sport.
    The Caps won because they played better in the third period, period. The Pens didn’t put it away. I am a Pens fan and those guys are classy. Yours are not–but I will not call them childish names. Your Caps won and they deserved to win. I do put credit where credit is due.
    But Ovie and your head coach sure do alot of whining and complaining on the sidelines, to the refs and too all the opposing players. It is very entertaining.
    I do agree with Rossi that the game should have been rescheduled but it was a great Hockey game. It should have been rescheduled because of the weather, period. It’s only a game and not worth risking someone’s life.
    I am glad our Sid is the youngest team Captin to win the Stanley Cup. Period. Oh, and he will win a Gold medal for Team Canada and we will be there in Vancover to watch it. Priceless.
    See you in the playoffs.

  46. Randy DeMichiei says:

    What is with some of you Capitals fans. Read the post again. Don’t you see the irony that Burkes son dies in a fatal car accident during a snow storm late on Friday and the NHL pushes ahead in putting thousands of people at risk for a regular season in February. as a penguin season ticket holder I could care less about the out come in the larger scheme of things. this was not a playoff game in April just another (although great) hockey game. Maybe you all will get over th 20 year inferiority complex with the Penguins if/when you finally win a cup

  47. Dave says:

    This was probably one of the best games I have seen this season. Whether Pittsburgh won or lost Rossi is right. I live in Toronto so the tragedy that has happened to Brian Burke’s family has been all over the news for the past few days. How is it possible to risk more lives after one has been taken?

    The game should have been postponed (whether DC was still under a weather alert for Monday night or not). Mortality is real folks. Death and serious injury can come at unexpected times. It was irresponsible for NBC and the NHL to continue with that game.

    Lastly, for the Caps fan who says us Pens fans are just upset that the Pens lost…2 words…Stanley Cup. Do you remember losing last year in the playoffs? Ovenchkin can score goals…but isn’t winning better? Ooops that right Caps fans wouldn’t know what winning feels like!

  48. Cathy says:

    I am stunned and disappointed by the people (including Caps owner Ted Leonsis) who think that the fact that it was a good game made it worth the risk to everyone involved. Is there any reason to believe that it wouldn’t have been a great game if it had been played Monday night? Or later in the season? I happened to be one of the fans that made it to the game from Alexandria, VA and while I certainly enjoyed the game, it was difficult to get there and left my friends and I discussing afterward how it was probably not that safe for us to have taken the risk to get there. It has nothing to do with who won or lost – the outcome of the game should not be more important than the lives of everyone involved. Good article, Rossi.

  49. Andy says:

    Look, Caps fans, I am willing to admitt that your team won fair and square, that the Capital’s players had to contend with weather as much as Pens, and that the turnout for the game was an incredible display on your part. Also, I must admitt that I was very excited that the game was played on Sunday, providing me with 2 1/2 periods of shear joy and entertainment. Say what you will about what Rossi’s article would have been if the outcome had been reversed – it is a moot point – but the fact that has been failed to be mentioned in the first 28 comments, is the most important: A highly respected member of the hockey community lost a son earlier that weekend in an car accident due to snowy/icey road conditions. While I understand the league’s (and fan’s) desire to put the pro sports best rivalry in the national spotlight, this tragedy could not possibly been lost on the one’s making the decision to play or call this game. The fact that they rolled the dice and allowed players, coaches, and fans to “brave” the elements to watch/play a game demonstrates incredible insensitivity, and a cavalier attitude toward the well-being and saftey of the players and fans of the best game in the world. Though it seems highly improbable the evidence of the seriousness of the risk is/was right before our eyes.

    My condolences to the Burke family for their lost, and I feel I speak on behalf of hockey fans everywhere when I say that I thoughts and prayers are with you.

  50. LeeL says:

    Rob never mentioned the outcome of the game as a factor for writing this article. The safety of everyone,(even you Cap fans), plus the poor choices made by the NHL and NBC were the focus of the article. There was no whining by anyone in the Penguins organization, there never is. So enjoy your win, and I am looking forward to the first signs of Spring.. The Cap choking in the playoffs!
    Go Pens!

  51. Ed says:

    It disappoints me to see Capitals fans using this forum as a place to disparage the Penguins and their fanbase.
    The purpose of this column is to address the greed of the NHL and NBC vs. the safety of attending staff, fans and players. I agree that the game could have, and should have, been postponed with those people in mind, regardless of outcome.
    Yes, the Pens lost. they were outplayed by the Caps. I’d be amazed to see a classless Caps fan admit the same thing of last year’s playoff series. Especially since 90 % of those fans were unaware Washington had a hockey team before 2005 (as evidenced by the lack of anything but red Ovechkin jerseys in the crowd).
    Stop acting superior, because, as an overall fanbase, you lack the knowledge of the game or sportsmanship to do so.
    Much like the team’s owner, Capitals fans have a sense of entitlement that the team is yet to earn in the postseason.
    Mellon arena has three Stanley Cup banners hanging from the rafters. Verizon Center has a WNBA attendance banner.
    You are jokes.

  52. Ed says:

    Except Sunny and the fans like him, who stayed on topic.
    The Capitals deserve more fans like you.

  53. jk says:

    At what point in the article was anything about the snow being the reason why the Pens lost? At what point was anything in the article about pens being tired? At what point was anything compared about crosby and ovi? None. Period. All that was said was that the game should have been delayed. That is all. The Caps won a great comeback game.

    All that was said, was the game should have been delayed. Especially after hearing about a GM’s son being killed in a car accident due to weather conditions. I know your still bitter over the Pens, but there was no hint of anything other than concern for the safety of the players.

  54. Kelly says:

    i agree 100% that the game should have been rescheduled. I live in an area that gets a lot of snow, but know that if they say stay off the roads….you stay off the roads!! For those that say the players had a choice…did they really? What NHL penalties would have been assigned them?….the NHL should have thought of the players, coach’s and personnel first…as well as fans, etc.
    Also…as someone who watches a lot of games…played by different teams…I think it is very funny that some call Sidney Crosby a whiner. Paying close attention to Sunday’s game…the 2 I witnessed doing the most whining during that game were Ovechkin and the caps coach. Give it a rest…like his idol Yzerman….Crosby knows the game, and knows when to speak up regarding issues…but whining he does not do. And for those of you who insist on calling him “Cindy”…you just look the fool!

  55. Sentient Cheese says:

    Being one that actually lived near DC, and not up in PA. I believe I have a bit of a better veiw of the weather conditions (My mother is a meteoroligist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Weather Service.) Sunday found our fair city having its work crews focus on making sure the roads to VC were at least managable, if not down to black.

    Black ice? have you SEEN how maryland pretreats its roads?

    Listen to your Pen’s Coach:

    “I don’t think [the travel] had anything to do with it,” Bylsma claimed. “I thought our team had plenty of jump. I don’t think it was a factor at all . . . We had a travel day. Most of these guys have done that quite a bit in their career in the American [Hockey] League or growing up. I don’t think it was at all out of the ordinary for any of these guys.”

    If’n ya’ll can’t trust him to see to the safety of his players, who can you trust?

  56. Murphy says:

    I’m not sure any of you Rossi bashers read the article, but he wasn’t saying the game shouldn’t have been played because the Pens lost. The game wasn’t postponed because it was on national TV. All you craps fans, ask yourself this question: If this game was televised locally, would it still have been played? Don’t forget, the Wizards game the previous night was postponed. Any level headed Pens fan (there are some of us out there) realizes the travel had nothing to do with the loss. The Caps played decidedly better in the 3rd period. Rossi’s point is simply this: On the heels of an NHL GM’s son being killed in an auto accident, a blizzard in DC, arena availabilty on Monday, and days off for both teams, why not put the safety of both teams, officials, and everyone else involved in the game above ratings.

  57. sam says:

    Its not a matter of who won the game, caps did, congratulations. No where in the article does he say the pens lost because of fatigue, he doesn’t even talk about about the game itself. I suggest to read the article before you come post stupid comments.
    And this is not the same as just driving in the snow for a game, we’ve all driven in the snow, this was a declared a state of emergency. Anyone who does not put safety first is mental. It was just as dangerous for the caps as the pens. Sure, nothing happened this time, but something could have, and something did Friday night. That’s what surprised me even more that they still scheduled the game when something like this hit the NHL close to home. Had something happened to Alex, I’m sure you would not be worried about winning a game. I’m glad both teams made it safely and nothing serious happened, because this was a dumb decision to threaten the safety of so many purely for ratings.

  58. Joe says:

    I agree with Sunny. I too am a hard core Caps fan but Leonsis and the NHL were highly irresponsible to play that game. The local authorities were consistently telling people to stay off the roads, for their safety and to allow the plows to do their work. That was ignored and fans were told they had to get there or they would lose their ticket money. It was a terrible decision based on nothing more than greed and reflects badly on the Caps and the league. Having said that, all this whining about the Penguins bus trip is ridiculous. You’d think they friggin’ walked from Newark. One can think that the game shouldn’t have been played, but still see the absurdity of all this whining about the poor Penguins and their bus trip.

  59. Steve says:

    Lot’s of people had to travel in that weather. Nurses, firemen, cops, etc, all took the same risks Sidney and Co. took getting to work Sunday. And they took it for to earn $160 ($40,000 annual salary/250 working days). Sid made $106,000. Besides it’s a business and has to maximize revenue generating opportunities whenever it can.

  60. Cindy Ivancso says:

    I think the playing of this game just proves one point, that the game of the week teams should not play the day before. I understand the need for back to back games, but when you have to play at noon and it being winter, I think that the NHL shows their inability to think beyond rating by having teams play a back to back when they have a marquee matchup. I understand the excitement for this game, but to put people in danger by having a team travel during the biggest snowstorm in decades was not an intelligent idea. If the Pens did not play the day before they could have gotten there before the weather and the Caps were lucky that the game on Saturday was at home.

  61. marc says:

    without ovie you guys r nothing

  62. Some Caps fans=Ignorance says:

    I’m not a fan of Rossi in the least, but the opening article notes someone a famliy member of one in the NHL family DYING IN A CAR ACCIDENT.

    It also questions the SAFETY OF PLAYERS.

    Yet, I read how Rossi is ‘whining’, or ‘if the score was different’, ‘Cindy Crosby’, blah blah blah.

    I guess these are the types you have to have in your fan base to (finally) have interest in your hockey team, and though I enjoyed the game and matchup, the outcome has nothing to do with the point in this entry. People like Sunny puts it best, and Cap fans like him/her have it in perspective.

    For others unlike Sunny? Well, the mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  63. praH says:

    @Harp

    Pittsburgh was up 4-1 and yet still LOSE. The Caps was at a disadvantage near the end of the game when the phantom foul was called. The Pens coaching staff should do a better job on prepping the Pens players on managing the game since they were up by 3 goals.
    The Caps practically gave away the game at the start of the 3rd period by a 5 on 3 man advantage and yet still prevail.

    Good for the Caps, it can only boost their confidence when and if they face the Pens in the Playoffs. The Caps will know what it takes to beat them again. Good for the Pens, it can give them more motivation since the league will keep on saying that the Caps swept the season series. That reason is enough to spark a fire for the Pens.

    It’s just one game and it wont break or make the season for either teams. The Pens and Caps have more important things to worry over about this upcoming weeks opponent. It was a great Hockey game nonetheless and cannot wait for more Caps and Pens rivalry:)

  64. KIrsten says:

    You need to calm down! There is no need to be going off on NBC or the NHL!! They all made it there just fine. A few fans and reporters didn’t make it. Boo Woo! I am a Pittsburgh fan and I would have been angry if they cancelled that game. If Pittsburgh had said no I don’t want to risk it, where would they go? Just stay in a hotel and have to drive down there on monday anyway? They are not that kind of team and they made it safe and sound to play a great game against the Caps! So just let NBC and the NHL make there own decisions.

  65. JohnInMSP says:

    1) What is all this whining from the Caps fans about Pittsburgh? Is it jealousy about all the championships or are you still hurting from all the losing to the Pens in the playoffs?
    2) I do not see any whining from Pens fans and certainly not from any players or coaches.
    3) Crosby is the ultimate in humility, workmanship and hockey talent, and you do not have to bash him to support your view that Ovie is a great player.
    4) It was nice to see the Pens play so well after the trip. Fatigue or not, they lost. However, despite our power play stinking, Malkin in a slump, and the Pens continuing to deal with injuries with minor league call ups, they took the Caps (playing their best) to overtime. Hope the Caps are not peaking to early and the Pens can get healthy because I want to see another good playoff series.

    Go Pens!

  66. eurydice_krg says:

    The game should have been postponed. I spent 2 and a half hours digging out my car and woke up early Sunday morning to make the game from Pittsburgh. My friend (a Caps fan) was stuck in rural Maryland and I was left to attend on my own. The conditions were NOT safe. I should have used better judgement, but I figured that if the NHL was going to allow the game to proceed, then conditions would be okay. Many people looked past safety and instead looked at the money they paid for the tickets and the possibility of missing this highly anticipated game.
    I had fun despite the loss. I smiled in the face of the delusional Caps fans that hurled as many insults my way as possible. We’re not complaining because we lost, we’re complaining because we’re right. Yeah, it’s hockey weather, but DC is not a hockey town. It has a very good hockey team, but it doesn’t have the resources to respond to these weather conditions. Many looked to the NHL to make the right call on behalf of the safety of the fans. They got it wrong.

    I just love it when people accuse the Pens, and especially Captain Sidney Crosby of “crying” because you know what? The only crying that went on at Verizon Center on Sunday came from those dressed in red in the stands. Every time a Penguin brushed up against a Capital, the boos would reign down quite loudly. Numerous chants of “REF YOU SUCK!” were offered up because obviously the Capitals never commit penalties. Crybabies, look at yourselves in the mirror. The Penguins will have more class than will ever grace the halls of that angry red cesspool that is Verizon Center.

  67. jj says:

    Good job, again, Rob. I agree completely. The game should’ve been postponed. I, not being rich, was forced to work on Sunday and I had a horrible time getting to and from work that day, luckily I’m still alive.

    -and let me take this chance to say again that I’m glad the Pens got “robbed” of the number one pick in ’04! Go Geno!

    Pittsburgh Penguins, Three Time Stanley Cup Champions!!!

  68. Larry says:

    If the weather prevented you from attending, as you say here Mr. Rossi, why is it that a substitute reporter was all lined up for you for this game before the first snowflake fell on Friday, two days earlier?

  69. Harp says:

    Phantom call? He broke his stick across some pen’s leg! The rule in the NHL whether you like it or not is when a ref see’s a stick break it’s a slash, simple as that.
    I don’t see why with Monday open they could not have played. I bet if the caps played in Montreal and had to get into Pittsburgh where the players had about 5 hours of sleep you would be complaining too as well as your coach.
    If the Pen’s would have won I would have been amazed as there is no doubt that after the first 20 minutes fatigue was setting in. Monday would have been fair to both sides, both rested and then see what the outcome is.
    Yeah hockey is a winter sport, does that mean you have to be stupid about it and risk lives?
    As for Semin, I hope his acting catches up with him, if he continues to act as if he was hit when not touched he will get a reputation and lose the respect of players and the refs.

  70. Steve Naismith says:

    “Ticket-holding fans in Washington and Pittsburgh were left in the cold most of Saturday regarding the status of Sunday’s game. I did not receive confirmation from the NHL until after 9 p.m. on Saturday that the game would be played as scheduled.”

    FALSE. The official Washington Capitals web site had announcements as early as Friday afternoon indicating that BOTH the Friday game vs. Atlanta and the Sunday game vs. Pittsburgh would be played as scheduled.

  71. Mike66 says:

    epic victories do not occur in the regular season

  72. jjd says:

    Rob… They’re playing tonight. Did they check with you first?

  73. 21mk66 says:

    The fact that this game was played on Sunday was ridiculous. They put both of our teams’ lives at risk doing this. What if the Pens’ bus had crashed and killed someone? What if one of the Capitals had lost control of his car and gotten killed or seriously injured? I agree with you, Rob, as much as it kills me. The Capitals fans on here need to keep their opinions on the Washington and Capitals websites. We don’t need you telling us it was fine for them to play. We all know something horrible could’ve happened here. Of course, most Capitals fans wouldn’t care if our players were injured. Show us and our team some respect, and we will show you and your team respect.

  74. Jason says:

    Just a small reply to all the Washington idiots
    Pens 3 cup titles, Caps Zero cup titles..Regular season wins are what they are regular..Capital fans win something before you run your mouths.

  75. rconner says:

    I’m just a Caps fan talking immature smack. I absolutely love the Caps/Pens rivalry and Sunday’s game was not a disappointment. I made some pro-Caps comments and for me, it is all a part of that fun rivalry. I certainly respect the Pens franchise, and their Cup victories. However, fans of neither team can claim that they are classier or above the other. I see some pretty classless posts from Pens fans on the WaPo too, which is what really prompted me to post my previous comment. BTW, I don’t mean to make light of the situation, but people die in automobile accidents every day, slick roads or not, yet we continue to drive. It just seems kind of silly to cancel a hockey game due to snow. It is hockey. It snows in the Burg all the time, it doesn’t stop fans and players from getting to the Steelers or Pens game. In fact, the Steelers like the fact that it snows because it is a disadvantage to other teams. If we can’t have a little fun smack talk to go with a great sports rivalry, what fun is there in that?…Go Caps!

  76. Thomas says:

    When did Pittsburgh stop being a city of tough-minded, level-headed, strong-willed folks and turn into a town of whiners? (Perhaps when Crosby arrived?) OK, next time the two teams play, the Caps will make sure the outside weather isn’t too cold, or too warm, or too damp, or too dry, or that the ice isn’t too hard, the crowd isn’t too loud, and someone will kiss the Penguins boo-boos if they get hit by the mean men in red. Jeez, what a bunch of babies.

  77. rconner says:

    I will give credit to Crosby for not complaining to the refs about the hats on the ice when Ovie got his hat trick. Maybe he’s growing up after all. He might even get his own apartment one day and move out of Mario’s house. What a big boy he’s becoming.

  78. baacke87 says:

    The Caps fans should see that it’s a HUGE honor to be taken under the wing of not only the greatest hockey player of all times but the greatest philanthropist this city has ever seen. If you could live under the Lemieux legacy, why would you ever leave?

  79. PENSkelly says:

    In regards to the Pens leaving classless posts, the last time that I checked; we didn’t have nicknames for Ovechkin or post photoshopped pics (ie Cindy Crosby, Sid crying) which came right from Capitals fans so truly nothing can be said about the Pens being classless. We only speak the truth.

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