A Few Words About the Pittsburgh Crowd
More observations from this morning at the rink....
* You saw how Bruce Boudreau and Matt Cooke were trading barbs. This was the last word I heard from Cooke: "Bruce can banter all he wants," he said. "I could care less." As for Boudreau describing some of the Pittsburgh complaints as "so funny"....well, Dan Bylsma was asked to respond. "I don't know who's laughing, but the games have been refereed the way the games are normally refereed," he said.
* The Empty Netters blog today linked to a Post-Gazette story with this lead-in: "Unlike say.... Washington... Pittsburgh is a hockey town." So I read the story. Look, no one is arguing which city is nuttier over its hockey team right now, but for all the folks finding cosmically opposite fan bases, check the final quote:
""There was nothing worse than a Tuesday night in February with the Oakland Seals coming in," [longtime fan Dave] Disney said. "There were enough years when we needed people on the bandwagon or we wouldn't have a band."
But, but, but, people in Pittsburgh aren't bandwagoners! They told me so themselves! "We're very fortunate to be in this situation," team vice president Tom McMillan told the paper. "It wasn't all that long ago that we had our struggles here."
* Maxime Talbot was asked about the home-ice advantage, and whether the fans would heckle Alex Ovechkin.
"I think they're more a cheerful crowd than a hostile crowd," he said. "They cheer for us instead of trying to be negative towards the other players, so they're gonna push for us and it's definitely gonna be a big help for us, a big boost."
Someone asked whether the hostile crowd thing referred to D.C.
"No, it was more relating to Philly maybe," Talbot said. "But our fans are positive, they've got our back, they're supporting us and it's great to have them and see them again tonight."
* How much does home ice actually matter? We'll see, I guess. In April, the Caps were 4-2-1 at home, 4-2 on the road. In March, they were 2-3-1 at home, 4-2-1 on the road.
"Home ice advantage is big, but I think for us we haven't played the best hockey we can play yet," Brian Pothier said. "We've been a little bit maybe too cute, a little bit too fancy. So I think being on the road might actually benefit us, not trying to put on a show and just really simplifying our game, tapping pucks deep and just playing real simple hockey."
Has Pothier been too cute? Not likely.
"I'm not a very cute player," he noted. "I'm not good enough to be cute."
* From TSN:
Ovechkin may have added a little trash-talk to the equation as he appeared to be chanting "Penguins suck" along with the Verizon Center faithful near the end of the game. The Pens were not about to be drawn into a war of words with the Capitals superstar....
"That's the way he is," Pens' forward Jordan Staal said of Ovechkin. "Obviously he's an exciting player, but at the same time he wants to win. When he does stuff like that he gives a little fuel for the fire of our team."
NOTE: He was chanting not "Penguins Suck," but "You Suck," a la Rock & Roll Part II. Guess not many Terps fans work at TSN. Watch the video here.
* A Versus reporter was gathering some notes to compare and contrast the personalities of Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. I overheard her asking Crosby a few lighter-side-type questions. "I'm boring," he told her.
* Talbot's quote suggested that player actually hear individual messages from fans. I've gotten several responses on that one. "You don't hear what they're saying, you just hear the loudness," he said. "It gives the home team some momentum, so we're gonna definitely have to come out hard and be ready for it."
* Apropos of nothing, the Caps' video of Jim Zorn on the kiss cam Monday night earned something like
100,000 190,000 views. In technical Web video terms, we refer to that as "a lot."
* Forward Eric Fehr, of course, didn't skate, instead riding an exercise bike while reading the newspaper. USA Today Weather page. He said he was working on his U.S. geography.
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