The Penguins are sticking around, thanks to PA Governor Ed Rendell's plan to fund a new arena using money from the state's new slot machine parlors. And while I'm aware that this isn't Caps-related per se, who are we kidding - all Caps fans were watching this story with great interest.
I'll admit I was a little torn on this one.
The evil, bitter side of me was gleefully waving goodbye as Sid the Kid and all his little buddies packed up and moved west. I've seen enough of the Penguins and the thousands of fans that descend upon Verizon Center year after year to last me a lifetime of therapy. Too many of my most painful hockey memories are linked to the Flightless Fowl, so you'll forgive me if I wasn't exactly shedding a tear at the thought of them leaving.
But then the true hockey fan in me emerged and cleared my head a little. First of all, as much as I may dislike the Pittsburgh expatriates who insist on clogging up my beloved arena whenever the Pens roll into town, I would never wish for anyone to lose their team - if only because I know how heartbroken I would be if the Caps ever left. To lose a sports franchise that you've poured your heart and soul into, no matter how evil that franchise might be, is a fate I wish on no man, woman or child in all their mulleted glory.
Secondly, and it pains me to admit this, the Penguins are a storied franchise in the NHL history books if only because of the two Stanley Cup banners that hang in the disintegrating rafters of the Igloo. The names of my nightmares - Lemieux, Coffey, Samuelsson, Kasparaitis, Jagr - will someday fill the Hall of Fame (well, maybe not Kasparaitis...). This is a franchise that has been around for almost forty years, a milestone they will hit next season along with the Philly and St. Louis. To make it that long and then be moved would be a travesty for hockey.
There's a reason we Caps fans hate the Penguins, and its not just because of their fanbase. Really. It's because by some freakish twist of fate, the Pens, even at their lowest, always seem to have the Caps' number. And frankly, I'm going to echo fellow blogger William Yurasko's sentiments; I want the Penguins to stick around so I can see the day when the Caps will finally rise up and turn the tables on them, whether its next season or a decade from now. I want to see these two young franchises continue to battle for dominance for years to come, and I want to see the Penguins sitting at home in Pittsburgh when the Caps finally raise Lord Stanley's Cup.
And yes, I know - I just wrote an entire post dedicated to and supporting the continuance of the Penguins. Have no fear, an exorcism has been scheduled for later this afternoon.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007