Thursday, May 13, 2010

merci, bitches

The first thing we want to say is Thank You.
Thank you to Mellon Arena. Words can't express the amount of memories that have been made within its walls, on its lawn, in front of its gates--both hockey-related and otherwise.
Thank you to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the management and organization, and every single fan who supported this team this season and in all years previous.
The previous sentence does not apply to the people who left the arena and the lawn tonight during a Game fucking 7.
It poured ass rain for awhile, yeah. And then the team went down 4-zip.
But you were witnessing history. Plant your ass in the seat and scream so loudly and so long that your insides burn and you're about to puke. The building, the team, the entire city of Pittsburgh was counting on you to keep your heads up. It's not just a sport. You are a member of a community.
Thus, an extra special thanks to every single person who stood on their feet in the final seconds of the game and applauded both teams and the old building and everyone around and therein. If you stayed until the clock read 0.0, you deserved it.

We deserve to be disappointed after this loss, because we know what our men are capable of and we hate to see them not quite live up to their potential.
But consider this:
For the first time since April 19, 2007 we will face a morning ahead of a hockey schedule featuring teams that aren't the Pittsburgh Penguins.
What this team has accomplished in the last several years has been indescribably amazing.
In 2005-06, in case you didn't remember, the Pens went 22-46-14. Yes, you read that right.
In 2007 they made the playoffs.
In 2008 they had a magical run to the Finals, and we all believed, though those of us that had taken time out of our lives to understand the game of hockey and the workings of an NHL season (and the mercurial tendencies of the hockey gods) knew that before you win anything in a meaningful way, you have to suffer for it.
And so the Red Wings raised Stanley on Mellon Arena ice, the only Cup ever to be raised under the dome--the rickety seats and sticky floors have seen enough champions and legendary names to fill a book, but only one Cup.
And that was the battery acid in the Pens' veins that took them back to the Wings to raise Stanley in 2009. Against any other team, it would have been great. But that series, against that team?
Like we said when it happened, Hollywood couldn't have made it more perfect.
Last year, everything was right, even when it was wrong--the late winter's drama of the coaching change and being desperate to even squeeze into the eighth seed made the victory that much more fucking cinematic. We did it.
Maybe this year, everything was wrong, even when it was right. The fact that Sid was a beast, that our supporting cast was generally flying around like madmen (Dupes, Rupper, etc.) and Jordan Staal's defensive work finally got recognized in a Selke nomination.
We all know that in this series, the amount of bounces that could have gone the Pens' way instead of the Habs' to turn the tables completely could be counted on one hand. It was close.
Right, but wrong.
Can't win it every year. The hockey gods have other things in mind.



When Brent Johnson took to the net and made the huge saves he needed to make, you felt the comeback.
We almost had it.
But someone let that little fucking shithead Brian Gionta do something again:
Damn.
Moving along. . .

Ted Leonsis got a lot of shit for saying that the Caps had arrived earlier this season over some completely meaningless thing that we can't remember and never constitutes "arrival" in anybody's book.
Rightly so.
We, however, can confidently say without getting shit from anyone that matters that the Pens, despite losing in the semis this year, have "arrived" in the sense that they've actually won something and proven that they are a perennial playoff contender with the potential to not only make the playoffs, but go home with the Stanley Cup.
We know what they're capable of.
This might be another tough offseason, but our core remains intact.
And say what you will about the Pittsburgh Penguins:
They helped to make the game exciting in a post-lockout NHL with an uncertain future.
They're a great team.
They wrote an amazing script for the world of hockey these past few years. They're an exciting team to watch. They've been dominant.
It's no wonder people are sick of us. They've been everywhere lately.

Not only that, but they are like a second family to many of us. It's basically a known fact that the Penguins locker room is one of the best environments in all of sports. These guys are pretty much all buddies who care about each other during the season and their friendly attitudes rub off on us. When guys like Brooks fucking Orpik (whose gaze usually sears flesh) stay after the last playoff game to sign autographs for way too many crazy people clogging up the sidewalk on Centre Avenue, you know something special is going on.
They give us a lot.
And if you're a Pens fan in Pittsburgh, you know that you could always head to the arena, and there was a good chance some of your friends would be there, too, to cheer on the same team, the same second family.
If you were there tonight, you're still half-deaf.

We're probably going to stay away from the hockey media for a few days, except for like, Pensblog. We recommend you do the same if you don't want to see people ramming Halak's dick down their throats.
Or maybe you do.
You can still watch a little hockey. Pick your teams, folks. Take a look at your fantasy rosters. Make some new friends. Have a picnic.
For the first time since April fucking 19th, 2007. . .

For the team, for everyone who is proud to be a Penguins fan across the world.
For Pittsburgh, because we know that it's the best city in the world (because we don't feel the need to cause massive civil disturbances every time someone on one of our sports teams takes a shit), and that our hockey team is top notch.
Have a good summer, boys.
Rest up.
You've been busy a long, long time.
We're disappointed, but we're not mad.
Because we know:
We'll be back.
Hold on to your fucking hats.



Remember what they say: there's no shortcut to a dream.
It's all blood and sweat, and life is what you manage in between.


Thank you also to YOU, the readers of PH, for making this season that nearly ripped our lives apart memorable, rewarding, and glorious.
Our love for you is so boundless that it's probably kind of creepy.
But you're our favorites.
Thank you.

GO PENS.

and a P.S.
only player to come out of the arena with his beard still in full bloom?
Maxime Talbot.
word

late edits:
1. Be sure to check the new banner, it represents our souls.
2. If there wasn't a little jobbing of the opposing team in this post, we wouldn't be good Pens fans. And Montreal riots are stupid. Not arguing over that point.
go pens

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Puck Huffers by Kimberly Davidson and Zoƫ Hayden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.