The Search for More Contributors: Penguins

It turns out that, contrary to popular belief, there are in fact, more than 10 hockey fans. Thanks to an early announcement, we have been flooded by requests to join the MYFO ranks to represent their team. This all makes for great theatre and quality posts that involve little or no work, so Raskolnikov can stop punishing himself now, but I think he kind of likes it. All this week we here at MYFO will be bringing to you the best applications we have received, so let us know what you think: do these guys suck, should we keep them around for good, do you want to see more before making a decision, or do you think you can do better? If you want to give this thing a whirl, email me at LButler36@Gmail.com.

Today: Dan Hopper – Pittsburgh Penguins

Why My Team is Better Than Yours: Pittsburgh Penguins

Quick stat, then we’ll get things underway:

Goals By Players Under The U.S. Legal Drinking Age, 2006-07 Season:

Anaheim Ducks: 0

Ottawa Senators: 0

Rest of Atlantic Division: 0

Pittsburgh Penguins: 100

Yep, it’s a great time to be a Penguin fan. Not that we haven’t grown accustomed to having the best player in the NHL on our team, as we did win those Cups with that What’s-His-Name who once scored 160 points in 60 games, or that long-haired dude we drafted a pick after Mike Ricci who went on to win five scoring titles (including one in 2000 when he only played in 63 games), but I guess it is a little different when the best player in the world is only nineteen years old. I’m not sure I’d expect a nineteen-year-old to be the best in any field, besides maybe Starry Night Poster-owning, but we’re not complaining. In fact, I feel validated every time the fans at MSG start chanting “Crosby’s a homo,” not just because New Yorkers who were ecstatic to play host to the beacon of straightness that was Eric Lindros for three years, but also because the chants just further reaffirm Crosby’s undeniable, jealousy-inspiring greatness. Think anyone at Mellon Arena this year is going to start a “Gomez is a homo” chant? Why would they? Every NHL fan knows that for a player to achieve true homodom, they’re gonna have to do a little better than 13 goals in 72 games, and as far as us Pens fans are concerned, Gomez can go the hell back to banging his wife, missionary position, like the little 13-goal-scoring hetero he is.

Oh, Those Guys? We Have Them Too, No Biggie
We’re so spoiled with talent in Pittsburgh right now between Crosby, Evgeni Malkin (20 years old, 33 goals) and Jordan Staal (18 years old, 29 goals), that we can’t help but view every other team’s young talent with the same good-natured patronizing that student teachers toss at special ed kids. Wow, Phil Kessel, you scored 11 goals this year? I’m so proud of you!! On our team, Ryan Malone scored 16 goals even though he doesn’t even see power play time in his own season on NHL 2K7, and we consider him worthless and we’re trying to trade him, but wow, eleven goals?? I’m giving you a gold star made out of jam!

If Hugh Jessiman scores 15 goals for the Rangers this year, NBC will film an eight-part miniseries entitled “Hugh’s The Boss” to air multiple times during every intermission (and sometimes in lieu of second periods). If Jordan Staal scores 15 goals this year, he’ll get booed. And Sure, Malkin sort of disappeared in the playoffs this year, but the dude is frickin’ twenty years old! When I was twenty, I was intimidated by my college ball hockey league, which included teams called “The Beavers” and “Balls N’ Sticks.” You think maybe we ought to let ‘Gino play more than five playoff games in his life before we hoist his effigy right up there with A-Rod’s?

Some people try to chalk up the Penguins’ recent fortunes to luck, but that would be monumentally shortsighted. Former General Manager Craig Patrick, the genius that he was, shrewdly made sure to not draft any actual NHL-caliber players from 1994 to 1999, ensuring a future dearth of talent that would allow the Penguins to drop to the bottom of the league, draft in the top five spots for five consecutive seasons, and ultimately yield five franchise-caliber talents and set the team up for a bright future after Patrick’s firing (he was really adept at keeping his grand scheme a secret).

Glory Days That We Can All Remember
A lot of hockey franchises have wonderful histories, but Penguin fans barely have to go back more than a decade to cite a legitimate period of glory, when we were treated to two Stanley Cups and hosted probably 10-12 future Hall of Famers, rather than having to rely on bygone eras of grainy footage depicting the true greatness of Rogie Vachon, or Remie Garouche, or Flippy McDinkle, or whichever human beings could score breathtaking goals on 25-foot wrist shots past spastic goalies who risked career-ending injuries every time they attempted to make a save. You know what, Flyers fans? The Pirates were great in the ’70s too. Doesn’t mean that I’ve had a lot of fun rooting for them in my lifetime. And, just in case anyone missed Mr. Lemieux the first time he dominated the league, he came back in the 2000-01 season, effortlessly scored 35 goals in 43 games, then immediately retired again (though Lemieux did allow Ray Sheppard to wear his jersey and play a few games over the next four years, just to keep the fans happy.)

Defense is a Waste of Everything
While some NHL teams feel the pressing need to lull their fans to sleep by playing consistent, responsible defense, the Penguins have spent the last two decades gleefully rejecting acts of cowardice such as covering any opposing wingers in the slot or not allowing multiple odd-man rushes on every shift (including power plays). Maybe those pussies over in Anaheim have a thing for “two-way responsibility” and “winning the Stanley Cup as a result of a paramount commitment to defensive hockey,” but what’s the point of watching your team on TV if you can’t constantly yell angry shit at the screen? When the Pens play, no lead is ever safe, and their proneness to JV-caliber mental lapses ensures that every game will be up-tempo, unpredictable, and full of creative swearing. After all, “two goal lead in the third, we pretty much got this one locked up” will never have the same ring as “DOES SERGEI GONCHAR REALIZE THAT HE CANNOT SHOOT THE PUCK THROUGH SOLID MOTHERFUCKING HUMAN BEINGS???”

Wait a Minute – isn’t Pittsburgh a Steelers Town?
Why yes it is, amorphous devil’s advocate, you are correct in assessing that headlines about Alan Faneca’s high ankle sprain will always appear in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a larger font than the ones about the 450 police officers who just got laid off. Pittsburghers love their Steelers first and foremost, even after a worthless season, and anyone who believes otherwise is probably the kind of ignorant person who still unironically refers to the city as “Steeltown.” However, there are only eight Steeler home games per year, and, because there is pretty much nothing else to do in Pittsburgh, all of the city’s collective leftover enthusiasm gets piled onto the Pens. While young people in other cities are busy wasting their time at concerts, cultural events, and restaurants without the words “Lobster” or “Garden” in the title, Pittsburgh has an overabundance of people counting on the Penguins to provide the kind of respectably entertaining diversion that putting cole slaw on sandwiches or attending annual Jimmy Buffett concerts just can’t fulfill.

An Actual Mascot
“Pittsburgh Penguins” — it’s cute, it’s alliterative, and it’s an actual, physical animal that has been easily adapted into a unique and pleasant logo. It’s not a Thrasher, or a Flyer, or a human who lives on an island, or the concept of being wild, or a predatory cat forced into a market in which other cats will always be a lot more popular and profitable than this particular type of cat. It’s just a damn penguin. The Penguins opened the 2006-07 season at Mellon Arena by blaring a really uncomfortably long “March of the Penguins” parody video featuring the voice of someone trying to sound like Morgan Freeman but coming off more like either Amos or Andy, then a bunch of actual penguins walked out onto the ice. Try releasing a bunch of Blue Jackets into the crowd, Columbus. Oh wait, never mind, none of us knows what the fuck a blue jacket is. Although Nikolai Zherdev did rack up 10 goals this year, so, you know, gold star made out of jam for him too.

Inevitable Cups
Unless the Crosby/Malkin/Staal/Whitney/Fleury core grows complacent because they’re so sure they’ll win two Cups in the next ten years, this team should win at least two Cups in the next ten years. And if they don’t, who gives a shit? They’ll be a ton of fun to watch, they’ll have a ton of support, they’ll have a new stadium, they’ll probably still have Mark Recchi, and, no matter what happens, they will never, ever be the Pirates.

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27 Comments

  1. I grew up a Pens fan. There isn’t a team in the modern era that has had more highs and lows then the Pens. In the mid-80s when I became a fan I was openly mocked by Rangers fans (wrap you minds around that) and then reveled in the glory that was the late 80s and early 90s only to see the team sell off piece after piece of the team and have to suffer through Jags’s temper tantrums because no one was taking a switch to his ass. And now, it seems that the Pens fortunes are turning again, not just to perennial playoff appearer but Cup contender. Amazing drafts, talented young players, the Igloo, it will be an exciting team to watch for years to come.

  2. didnt we do this already?

  3. this is tough…: way better than the Ranger article, love the Hugh’s the Boss.

  4. Mmmmm…Lobster Garden.

  5. I find it strangely ironic the first team to have two submissions were the Penguins.

  6. And a Sabre can cut your cute little Penguin’s head off.

    How ’bout them apples?

    (for the record, I have no hatred for the Penguins or Crosby….only the VS and NBC assclowns who blow him on a every-minute basis during a Pens game)

    Penguins in NHLPA93 or NHL94: Absolutely. Fucking. Unstoppable. Lemieux, Jagr, Stevens (pre-coke), Ronnie Franchise, Mullen, Murphy, Barasso, I could do this all day.

  7. Oh, and looking forward to the outdoor game this year. Hopefully we’ll get some busloads of Pens fans and we can all tailgate in the Ralph parking lot.

  8. hey! i’m a human who lives on an island and i’m not only an actual, physical animal, but also unique, pleasant AND cute (some would say Handsome)! Try saying the same about a Canuck!

  9. I represent a power of mother nature so inherently awesome, I could kill each and every one of you without a moment’s notice.

    Yeah, bitch.

  10. I represent a musical style known mostly for its depictions of loss, longing, and alcoholism.

  11. I don’t know what the fuck I represent.

    All things not civilized?

  12. Can we turn this into one giant game of Rock, Paper, Scissors?

    So, the Sabres can slice a Penguin’s head off, but if you hold a Sabre in the air during a Hurricane, it might be struck by Lightning in the Wild…then you’ll be singing the Blues.

    Ah shit.

  13. Oh, and your carcass will be discovered by a Ranger.

  14. Doesn’t matter, it all gets swallowed up in an avalanche at the end

  15. This brilliantly captures the essence of being a Penguins fan–up to and including the “cursing loudly at the TV screen” part.

    I wouldn’t have it any other way…

  16. Two words you forgot to include:

    Mike. Lange.

  17. @ Baba: Touche.

  18. Um, I represent an ineffective means of bulletin board-savvy mass marketing?

  19. @ Hextall:

    No… that would be “fliers.”

  20. An Avalanche of pain

  21. Considering I said I’d go gay for Lundqvist in my post, looks like we’ll be competing for gayest team all year long.

  22. I’m glad you didn’t forget Kris Letang’s two goals before he returned to the Q.

  23. HAH – your “core” group of guys includes Fleury. Good luck with that one. Come back to me when he posts a sub-3.00 GAA in consecutive years, or wins a playoff series, or doesn’t make Jocelyn Thibault look like a worthy alternative

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