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Caps Fans vs. Crosby

Even before yesterday's game started, I received the above photo from longtime Bog photo sender Brian. Some enterprising, or possibly inebriated Caps fan was having this jersey made in the Verizon Center gift shop. If D.C. is gonna be the capital of jersey fouls, I say we embrace the title, and go all out, including verbs in our jerseys if necessary.

"The Penguins fans around me," Brian reported, "were not amused and [were] using choice words for the owner."

Well, choice words for a choice jersey, so it all works out.

Moments later, I met the fan whose possibly-in-poor-taste-but-real-amusing t-shirt I previously published. I asked him why he was wearing a shirt proclaiming Sidney Crosby to be a [feminine hygiene product].

"Because Crosby is a [feminine hygiene product]," the fan explained. "What other reason would I have? Look, the guy has a reputation for diving, he plays soft, he has no leadership qualities, he's taken a couple of cheap shots at guys. Look, when you've got the best player on the planet, it's a little frustrating when the face of the NHL is a guy who clearly isn't the best player."

A few rows away, Rachel Hart was pressed up against the glass, with her anti-Crosby shirt and her vulgarly but snicker-worthy anti-Crosby sign. Maxime Talbot skated by and laughed. "You know it's funny!!!!!" Rachel yelled at him. I asked her to explain.

"I have pure hatred for Pittsburgh," the 16-year old told me, as her mother smiled. "If you're a Caps fan, it's embedded in your genes to hate Pittsburgh. There's no one on that team you can say anything at all besides hate."

I suggested to Rachel that maybe she would take a more charitable view toward Crosby if she actually met him face-to-face. She considered this.

"If there were no paparazzi around, I might take a swing," she replied. "I can't stand him."

Next to Rachel was Rebecca Childress, a season-ticket holder with a large stuffed Penguin decked out in Caps gear. Her husband won the Penguin at an amusement park several years ago, but this year it became obvious what the Penguin's role in history would be.

"This has been his destiny," she told me. "He's gonna be here from now on. His name is Ted."

She ticked off the list of Caps fans grievances against Sir Sidney. The recent SI spread. The perceived NBC adulation. The glam shots. All those required a Penguin to help.

"He's crossed over," she said of Ted. "He's a real Penguin now. Real Penguins are Caps fans."

And I shouldn't suggest that everyone there hated Pittsburgh. Some were more cautious with their words.

"It's a rivalry," said Al Anderson. "Hate's a strong word."

Anderson, I should note, was passing out striking stickers of a Penguin with a red X through its chest. He found them in a shipping supplies catalog years ago and ordered several thousand, passing them out during every Pens game.

"People seem to go crazy when we bring them," Al noted. "As long as the Penguins are still coming here, we'll still hand them out."

While Anderson shied away from the hate thing, there were plenty of others to take his place. Like Marty Bentley, who also had a stuffed penguin. Except his came complete with detachable head, sharpened stick and acrylic paint-style blood, spattered across the Penguin's body.

"I hate 'em," he said by way of explanation. "Hate 'em."

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 23, 2009; 12:07 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Next: Mike Milbury Loves Ovechkin


FYI: Pierre McGuire used to work for the Penguins organization and was a writer for the Pittsburgh Gazette. This would explain his comments about our team's class during the game while we skated to the benches. I found it truly revolting that Pierre McGuire was pretty much siding with the penguins and Crosby's complaints when he noted that the Caps choice of words were excessive while skating to the bench.

Posted by: blanknerc | February 23, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The reason that some consider the term to be offensive is that using it in a pejorative sense is based on the idea that the female body part on which the apparatus is used is inherently dirty and must be cleansed.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 23, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

lollers at natsfan1a1. Thanks for that.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | February 23, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I will be there tomorrow night with one of my "Flyers Suck" t-shirts.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | February 23, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Caps fans hate Crosby because he is poised, talented, & the Pens have just plain owned them over the past 20 yrs. Caps fans have NEVER been devoted. Pens fans gobbled up all the tix for gmes in the 80's & 90's & fat Ted tried to block zip codes to keep them from buying tix.

Posted by: grant44 | February 24, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The sad state of affairs that is the NHL is that even Pittsburgh fans will agree that Crosby isn't the best player in the NHL. They'll argue Malkin vs. OV. Crosby isn't even close. The NHL is trying to turn an Adam Oates-style player into a superstar because OV and Malkin are from Russia.

This is only going to hurt the sport as a whole. People who watched Sunday's game on NBC took away that Crosby is supposed to be the superstar, but he didn't really do anything, while the guy wearing #8 for Washington seemed to have a spark, a jump and was having fun. Crosby always looks like he's closing out a 12-hour shift at the mill when he's on the ice.

I spoke with a couple of people who I encouraged to watch the game who aren't big hockey fans. They wanted to know why Crosby was so great and what the deal was with Ovechkin. Yesterday, they bought Ovechkin jerseys from Even novice hockey fans can see that Crosby isn't all that.

Posted by: dj1123 | February 24, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Caps fans hate Crosby because he is poised, talented, & the Pens have just plain owned them over the past 20 yrs. Caps fans have NEVER been devoted. Pens fans gobbled up all the tix for gmes in the 80's & 90's & fat Ted tried to block zip codes to keep them from buying tix.

Posted by: grant44 | February 24, 2009 10:09 AM

Thanks, grant44, for confirming that Pittsburgh fans would rally behind a guy who considers manning up is punching a guy's nads from behind and pulling another guy's jersey over his head so he can't face the guy, man to man. Enjoy yourselves reliving your past glory days, while we gear up for the playoffs and beyond.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 24, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I have been a caps fan for 20 years. This is sports. I will reserve my hatred for scum who kill innocent people in the name religion (or any thing else, for that matter). That being said, anyone who would rather have Crosby on their team instead of OV is on crack, or lying. Remember that Crosby is just a kid. He was anointed as 'the next (great) one' in canada at an early age and has lived in that prima-donna bubble his entire hockey career. He is now dealing with the fact that another player is demonstrably better and probably even more painful, much more popular. He is dealing with that. How he deals with that will define who he is as a player and person. It is always interesting and sometimes painful to watch very young atheletes deal with that much attention and that much money. OV seems to be dealing with and enjoying all that much better.

Posted by: mikegarcia | February 24, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Pens fans always want to know, why is Crosby such a lightning rod?

It's because when I watch a Sharks-Blackhawks game, every commercial for Center Ice or VCast or whatever has footage of Crosby or a someone wearing a Crosby jersey. Anything in the media related to hockey will reference Crosby and/or the Penguins. He's the only player my non-hockey-fan friends know by name. He hasn't earned this level of celebrity, and he doesn't deserve it. He's overexposed to the point of nausea.

Posted by: qwertyqwerty1 | February 24, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I always root for McGuire to get a puck upside his head.

As for Crosby, he was just a whining baby on Sunday.

Anyone that watched Crosby and Ovechkin ten games into their careers could tell Ovechkin was goling to be light years better than Crosby.

Today it is not even close.

Posted by: turfnsport | February 24, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

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