As a preamble, I've rooted for the Pens for 20 years. I'm reaching 31, and I remember the glory days of men like Lemieux, Jagr, and Francis. I was proud to root for them. They played the game well, and they played the game right.
This game today tests my faith in this organization. A team that is clearly outclassed by a harder-working, more disciplined Philadelphia team resorted to pointless cheap shots and immature sportsmanship....and I'm embarassed. They ARE arrogant. They ARE obnoxious. Know when you've met your match and take it like a man. This is about more than just this series...we're trying to place this game in front of the nation(thanks to NBC televising every playoff game) and to show this nonsense just re-inforces every non-hockey fan's belief that this is a garage league that has no place standing next to MLB, the NFL and the NBA.
This was supposed to be a bitter rivalry between the hated cross-state Flyers. And you know what? I don't even care that the Flyers are winning this. I don't. The Pens have embarassed themselves so much that I find myself saying, "The Flyers deserve to move on. I wish them luck." They play hard, they don't quit, and they play with much more class and smarts than I've seen on the other bench.
Last year, we didn't have Crosby, we didn't Malkin, but we played with 10x the amount of respect and class losing in 7 to an upstart Tampa team than we've shown this year to a hated rival.
I challenge the ownership group, the management, and the fanbase to realize that we need to be better than this. This is the kind of low-brow nonsense that made us hate the Flyers in the first place. High time to class this joint up.
Purely out of respect for better men that are no longer lacing them up, I'll hold off on shaving my budding beard until the series is for-sure over.
R.I.P. 2007-2009 Pittsburgh Penguins...you guys were the real deal.