I dont know that I have ever posted in here before, but this is a good enough reason to start. A little background on me: I was young when the Pens were achieving greatness in the early 90's. My family was not a hockey family but through my friends, I discovered hockey. I have been a Penguins fan ever since, even in the early 2000's. Currently, I am deployed in Kuwait with the PA National Guard. I bought NHL Gamecenter Live about halfway through the regular season and haven't missed a game since.
Now, the reason why I am posting: Penguins fans need called out. I am not doubting the fan base, I believe we have as loyal a crowd as any team in the league. I am calling out the crowd at the games. Let me say this, watching the game over here I commonly wake my roommates up and then quickly yell sorry at every goal(games over here typically start at 0230 local time).
I would give anything (ANYTHING!) to be at a game with my Girlfriend and closest friends and making whatever section we were sitting in the loudest in the building. The crowd tuesday night was laughable. It had its moments, but this is the playoffs we are talking about. This isn't a meaningless 5-1 win over Edmonton where half of the crowd is more worried about catching up with the happenings and life events of fellow season ticket holders. THIS is the PLAYOFFS. Yinzers are known for loud crowds that stay loud the whole game through.
So I come here as a soldier. We soldiers, we pride ourselves on having heart. We pride ourselves on being able to run hours on end with little sleep in bad conditions and being able to do it day in and day out. We pride ourselves on winning whatever we do with raw emotion and professionalism. I am not looking for your thanks or your appreciation. I am coming to you all with a request, and a simple one at that. STEP IT UP!!!!!!!
If you are going to go to a Penguins playoff game and you come home with any semblance of a voice left, shame on you. We have been begging our team to step it up for four years now. We have been searching for answers, and desperately trying to regain the greatness and raw emotion of that ridiculous 2009 run. Do you remember it? I certainly do.
I watch the second period highlights from game 4 of the '09 finals at least a couple times a year. Does anyone remember that game? What I remember is the crowd. When Staal scored his shorty, I thought The Igloo was going to fall. The place was nuts! I was in a local sports bar in game 7 and the place went bananas. Every person in that bar hoisted and took laps with a big coffee urn after the game. It was the greatest sports memory of my life and I want it back. I want to burn Kuwait to the ground after the Pens hoist the cup. I want my fellow soldiers to think I have lost it and, make no mistake, if they win I will. But every game is another step closer. At the very most we have the possibility of 11 more home games during this playoff run. Thats it. We have 11 more games to make this team realize that we want it every second of the way as bad as they do. Good or bad, win or lose, is the job of us fans to make our team shake their head and smile. It is our job as fans to make that arena run on pure adrenaline, just like soldiers do when that time comes.
I come here to ask you fans to spread the word. There are diehard Pens fans 7000 miles away from home who would sell their soul just to be at a game and make it that much louder. Spread the word, the crowd needs to be loud. It needs to be LOUD, from START TO FINISH, game in and game out. I am begging the fans of the city that I love to step it up and do their part to bring that greatness home.
Thank you, that is all.
SGT Grant Covert
Bravo Company 1st Batallion, 109th Infantry Regiment
28th ID, PA Army National Guard