Sunday, April 23, 2006

Penguins Bandwagon

I think that I may be a bandwagon Pittsburgh Penguins fan. I never thought I would say this for any team that I follow, especially a Pittsburgh team. One of the best experiences of my life was driving from Columbus to Buffalo and attending a Game 7 Penguins victory against the Sabres in 2001. Anyway, I think I’ll blame the team, former Penguins General Manager Craig Patrick, the National Hockey League, and cable TV for my bandwagoness. In the 2003-2004 season, the Penguins were the worst team in hockey. This was followed by the strike where there was no hockey for an entire year, and the 2005-2006 season where the Penguins “improved” to become the next-to-worst team in the NHL. It’s hard to support a team that has been so lousy and even harder to support to team when there was no hockey. Let’s go back to the beginning of the season. All Penguins fans including me were excited because Mario was going to be back, the team got Sidney Crosby, and Patrick signed high-profile free agents Ziggy Palffy, Mark Recchi, Sergei Gonchar and John LeClair. Lemieux had heart problems and retired, Palffy retired, Gonchar and LeClair did not live up to expectations, Recchi was traded and Patrick was just fired. Because of the strike season (and probably more reasons like poor ratings), ESPN decided not to broadcast NHL games this year. The NHL signed a contract with OLN instead, and OLN only showed hockey twice a week. After the first few months of the season, they stopped showing Penguins games. Therefore, it was extremely difficult for me to watch the Pens.

Anyway, except for Crosby’s statistics, I don’t think I followed the Penguins closely since the Winter Olympics. As I said before, part of the reason was because they were terrible and out of playoff contention. At this point, I don’t think I can name 1/3 of the team. Meanwhile, I can name almost every Steeler and Pirate player, and the Pirates have been dreadful since I was in high school. Is it possible that I don’t follow the Penguins as closely because I don’t participate in a fantasy hockey league like I do for baseball and football? While there may be something to this, I follow the Pitt and George Mason basketball team, and I’m not in any fantasy college basketball leagues. So I really don’t know where I’m going with all of this. I just wanted to share. I still consider myself a Penguins fan, but the team and league have made it difficult over the past few years. In Sidney We Trust!

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