It is well documented how passionate sports fans in Pittsburgh are, and this is no secret, especially during the current playoff qualifying series against the Canadiens.
After a nearly four-month layoff due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the NHL was able to safely restart it’s season, beginning with a 5-game series playoff qualifying round and round-robin round.
The season was safely restarted inside ‘bubbles’ in both Toronto and Edmonton.
The Penguins began their series with the Canadiens last Saturday night, dropping Game 1 in overtime. They were able to even the series with a 3-1 win in Game 2.
Going into Game 3 and looking to take a hold of the series, they led 3-1, before allowing three straight goals and losing 4-3.
The Penguins now face elimination if they do not manage to win Game 4 this afternoon and Game 5 tomorrow.
Now, back to the passion. No, I am not saying that people shouldn’t care and can’t feel how they want to feel. Am I saying that such dramatic reactions to a 5-game series that is lucky to be played right now are a little over the top? Yes. Yes, I am.
Starting with some recent versions and flashing back over the past few years, here are some blurbs and headlines that made their way across the internet during times that things weren’t going well for the Penguins.
The first came on Wednesday night.
Why issue such a proclamation in the middle of the game before it was even decided?
Perhaps Murray doesn’t play in Game 4 and his tenure with the Penguins is over. But perhaps it’s not. If Murray comes back and wins the next two games, Game 3 will be an afterthought.
Flash forward to Thursday morning.
Again, what is there to gain by declaring that a 14-year run of success could be over?
“The run is over. It’s just not a very good hockey team anymore.”
If they had won on Wednesday night, this statement doesn't get uttered!
Now let’s take a walk down memory lane for some other hyperbole and histrionics.
Lest we forget that this was from the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, in which the Penguins would win both Game 5 and Game 6 with 6-0 and 2-0 shutouts.
The moral of the story here is not to point out all that was wrongly predicted or declared.
The point of my story specifically is to enjoy the ride. Four months ago, we all thought the season was over, shutdown, done with. The fact that the Penguins are even playing postseason hockey for the 14th year in a row is something we should not take for granted.
Enjoy the ride. Enjoy Game 4 this afternoon.