To whom it may concern,
I've been a hockey fan since I was 3 years old when I saw the US Olympic Team defeat the Soviet Union at Lake Placid. That game made hockey an essential part of who I am. When I was 7, I went to my first Penguins game. Randy Carlyle was captain. Mario Lemieux was a name no one outside of the QMJHL knew. There were few hockey fans in Pittsburgh. I've been a proud fan and supporter of this team and have donned its colors and logo with pride every day of every year since then, even when Rico Fata was on the roster.
The way in which the Penguins conducted themselves in Philadelphia on Sunday validates every criticism that members of media and other fanbases have espoused in the post lockout era. We have been called entitled, spoiled & arrogant. Those critiques were turned into indisputable facts with our absolute lack of discipline, class and professionalism. We fell behind in a game with massive importance to our post season and instead of acting like professionals we looked more like a John Stevens coached Flyers team that saw Mike Richards take runs at Marc-Andre Fleury and Scott Hartnell biting the finger of Kris Letang as the 09-10 campaign began. The role reversal is now complete. We are what we hated so much about them.
We are now the, throw-a-temper-tantrum-when-we-are-down, team that we railed against just a few years ago. The Flyers are now the disciplined, professional team. I still hate them but now I am also completely embarrassed to have the Penguins logo on the front of my sweater as I type this due to the actions of our players and in action of our coaches.
"We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players. We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action." - Mario Lemieux in reference to NHL's lack of action for Islander's Goonery vs Penguins
I challenge Mario Lemieux to publicly apologize to not only the Flyers, but to the NHL for marring the great spectacle that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the childishness the Penguins as a team portrayed on Sunday. Mr. Lemieux wasted no time in chastising a New York Islanders team only a year ago for very similar conduct against our own players. If no apology is forthcoming in some fashion the Penguins organization will additionally look like hypocrites on top of the embarrassed and arrogant hockey club, they are undoubtedly, as they walk off of Wells Fargo Center ice.
I hope everyone in the upper levels of the Penguins Organization heard the chant that went up repeatedly today. "You can't beat us" That is a factual statement, as long as we continue to approach the game in the same way we have recently.
The Penguins have acted like an entitled, too cool for your club publicly for some time now, even to it's own fans at times. That mentality is pervasive and has bled into the on ice product. We looked like the Flyers today and we never want to look like the goon-Flyers team we all criticized and detested for years, ever again.
The failure of the players to control themselves, the coaches to control the players is now up to you to correct at a management level. The Penguins players and coaches that took part in the game today took a muddy boot and stepped on the legacy of the logo on the front of the sweater. They embarrassed the franchise and everyone who has ever worn its uniform, our city, and all of their fans.