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The Game 3 Fans

I certainly don't want to say anything disparaging about the Pens fans in Game 3. They were loud enough, I suppose, though they produced nowhere near the noise generated in MSG or the Verizon Center or in Philly last year, at least based on where we were sitting. Maybe it's an acoustics thing.

(OK, here's one disparaging thing: the huge banner that read "Stuff Ovenchicken." Ovenchicken? What's an ovenchicken? Is that Pittsburgh specialty? Is it different from, say, a microwave chicken? Or a toaster chicken?)

They were all dressed in white, though it was because of t-shirts they were given at the door, and it was a bit odd when the Caps were also wearing white. The white towels were a nice effect. There were 60 or so Caps employees sitting together in a huge clump and wearing red; other than that, scarlet was extremely scarce in the building.

The Pens fans did show up in large numbers for an outdoor rally that was held before the game in a driving rain; I left when my shoes started getting wet, even though we were promised an appearance by the county exec of Allegheny County.

The home fans struck me as mostly non-quirky, but then, most fans seem to fall in that category. I think the Verizon Center might be unusual. I walked the entire concourse for about 10 minutes, and saw one fan worthy of a photo: he was wearing Black Hole-style shoulder pads, and posed for me while saying something like "this is how the ladies like it."

Many of the Penguins were asked about the fans today, and they said the same thing everyone always says when asked about the fans: hooray for fans!

"To have the momentum in our building and our fans, to feel the energy--and we felt the energy as well," Coach Dan Bylsma just said. "It was great to have the whtie towels come on the ice after the game and after the victory, so we're looking for more of the same on Friday. And it's a big part of playoff hockey, the fans and the energy they bring, and ours brought it for sure."

Also, the Pittsburgh fans seemed to love Evgeni Malkin's jumping-into-the-boards celebration. Interesting.

Matt Cooke did some excellent fan courting today by wearing a Steelers hat during his interviews. I don't remember him doing the same with any Redskins hats last year, but the media loved it.

"I mean, I followed the Steelers back when Jerome Bettis was playing, they were probably my favorite team back then," he said. "Got away from it a little bit, but then Ben came in our room out in Vancouver a couple times so I started cheering for them again. You know, when you know somebody....Lo and behold, I come to Pittsburgh, so it's easy to cheer for them."

He was told Pittsburgh fans would love him even more; "I'm lucky I grabbed the right hat today then," he said.

As for the sign pictured above, it was right behind the Caps bench for long stretches. There was another sign, something about Ovechkin having swine flu and Boudreau smelling like cat urine, but the security folks confiscated it. Security folks: enemies of bloggers whether in D.C. or Pittsburgh.

(The sign above read DIVE KING, for the record.)

Oh, and there was a fierce Caps soccer game in the hallway before the game. They've got skills. Ovechkin wanted to know the Barca-Chelsea score.

(Photos by Getty, Reuters and Jonathan Newton - TWP)

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 7, 2009; 1:01 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Next: Boudreau on CBC: "Pretty Classless Act"


What was that sign behind the bench? Maybe I can't put 2 and 2 together. I can't fathom what it is/means other than Ovechkin being the devil and some kind of king

Posted by: makplan20002 | May 7, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"They were all dressed in white, though it was because of t-shirts they were given at the door, and it was a bit odd when the Caps were also wearing white."

Yeah, the whole white thing? Never understood that once the NHL when to colored home sweaters.

And seriously, you ahve to give out t-shirts at the door to ensure uniform color (Philly does it, too)? Puh-lease. We in DC manage to pull it off all on our own, every single game.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 7, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Dan...what was that post all about? You never disappoint me. Except today you chose to do some backhanded negative post on the Pens fans rather than your normal routine: to criticize Crosby. Don't you have something to write about your own team? By the way, I've been watching your posts and just want to know: Why is it when Crosby wants to get back to the game after the hat trick and try to give his team a chance, he is a whiner. If OV did that he would be considered a competitive beast. Why is it when Crosby has a hat trick, he is just pretty much going through the motions and trying to keep up with OV. OV is, again, a competitive beast when he gets the trick. Crosby does every interview, answers every questions, does the right thing when it comes to the press with no real benefit to himself. OV pouts about losing and refuses interviews, and he is (yep, you're right) a competitive beast. Crosby mentions anything about other players, officiating, etc. that is the least bit tinged with controversy and he is lambasted. OV (and the Coach) basically call the officiating a joke and they are praised for speaking out....competitive beasts again. The Pens fans and Crosby are comfortable in their own skins and don't need your praise and recognition. Just wondering why you are so fixated on them and not your own team and fans.

Posted by: vahockeyfan | May 7, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

someone call the waaaaaaambulance to take vahockeyfan back to Pittsburgh.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 7, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Why take vahockeyfan back to Pittsburgh, they are doing fine in Dale City.

Posted by: 415M | May 7, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

crosby's rep has been developed over many years. however, if anyone, gretzky, ovie, messier, the ghost of rocket richard, had made those comments about the hats i would call them a whiner. thats a joke and he needs to be smarter about keeping such comments to himself. when did ovie refuse an interview?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | May 7, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering why you are so fixated on them and not your own team and fans.

Posted by: vahockeyfan | May 7, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Um, have you read the bog before today? Dan is the master of finding the quirkiest of quirky Capitals fans. And giving us updates on Mountain Man KArl Alzner. And Tyler Sloan's dad. And so on. So I'm left to conclude the following:

a. You either don't read the Bog and are thus making a gross generalization about Dan; or

b. your reading comprehension skills are just that lacking.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 7, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Nobody has any answer for what that Ovie/devil/king sign is??? It's killing me. What does it say before "king"?

Posted by: makplan20002 | May 7, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin doesnt want to talk about Varlamov because he doesnt want to jinx him or whatever.

He doesnt want to talk about the refs because that only gets you in trouble and makes you look like a whiner

Posted by: makplan20002 | May 7, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Nice in-depth real sports reporting there, Dan.

Posted by: makplan20002 | May 7, 2009 10:52 AM
Hear, hear! When the Caps have 7 pk's to the Pens two, the Caps are going to look tired. Emrik called the first minutes of overtime "a dazzling display by both teams." It was. The penalties were beee eesss. E.g. The first two minute delay of game when the Pen shoved the Cap into the net dislodging it; Kunitz practically beheads Varly, and not a peep until Ovie blogs and the Bettman fines. Ovie's right - 7-2, it's a joke.

Posted by: flynnie1 | May 7, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the Pittsburgh fans are smart enough to get the self-loathing undertones in the idea of having their fans "white out" the arena. White out afterall is used to cover mistakes right? Right.

Posted by: harbinger79 | May 7, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh Dive King. I get it. That seems like quite a stretch of a play on words or whatever you want to call it. Then the devil just seems out of place. Why not goggles and a snorkel? Good effort (for a 4th grader), but alas, a fail .

Posted by: makplan20002 | May 7, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Its probably better to be the dive king than the dive kid. Can't get that stupidity out of my head. For as long as it took to make that sign (seems pretty difficult what with the giant printout and all), there was plenty of time between conception of the idea and various stages of development to realize the sign was not as funny, witty, or relevant as originally thought when you could kinda make two other words out of the letters that spell ovechkin

Posted by: makplan20002 | May 7, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin voted MVP by his own piers because of diving...

Crosby voted biggest whiner by a sample of his own piers because??????

Can a Pens fan please explain my 2 points above?

Posted by: SA-Town | May 7, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Vahockeyfan - another fine example of someone from Pittsburgh who obviously doesnt want to live there - than moves to the DC burbs to better himself. Why would anyone want to live in Pittsburgh? I've asked this question many times only to get no response.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | May 7, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

You've got to be kidding me capsfansince74. Caps fans have no room to talk about their fan base. DC is the most transient city in the US, and amazing the team has a huge fan base after 2 solid hockey seasons. Your insult of VAhockeyfan is amazingly dumb. He, like countless other Midwesterns, migrated to DC for a better career. God forbid he brings some sense of home with him. Yes he should be like Caps fans and abandon teams they cheered for as kids because the Caps have Oveckin. Caps Fans = Hockey fans est. 2007

Posted by: phyler | May 7, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

phyler - you didnt answer my question - why would anyone want to live in Pittsburgh? Thousands of people migrate to DC from Pittsburgh, but I have yet to meet one person from DC who moved to Pitt. What a dump of a town!

Sure - the Caps have alot of new fans. This happens in every town when a team wins. However, the Caps also have thousands of fans, myself included, that have been there since the begining.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | May 7, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse


I'm a Penguins season ticket holder here in Pittsburgh and I'm a fan of both the Pens and the Caps. You mentioned that the fans were not quite as loud as in Philly or DC. That might be true but it really depends on where your sitting. Where my seats are located the crowd is intense and rambunctious. However, I hear from my friends who sit at other parts of the arena and that the crowd kinda sucks. I think it really matters where you sit and since the Igloo is pretty big the sound isn't held in very well which might explain why it is a little louder in DC (I've never been to the Verizon Center so I don't know how it is there). I hope you have a fabulous time in Pittsburgh!

Posted by: bullfrog37 | May 7, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

white out is racist. the KKK used the same term

Posted by: mwalk1 | May 7, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse


I dont know how much the term transient applies to DC anymore. I think that would imply people coming and going. Of late, it is more people coming and staying. Sure some leave. But overall the city is growing with new people, because it is a great place to live. What's wrong with dropping old allegiances and supporting your new hometown team? It doesn't matter how long people have been rooting for a team. What matters is that they come and are loud.

I think what is offputting about people like Vahockeyfan is that they are sort of acting like idiots while a guest in someone else's house. Dont be mad at DC because it provides you with a career better than your hometown.

BTW, I am a transplant from NY and have adopted the DC teams in the sports I like and whose games I can actually attend.

Posted by: makplan20002 | May 7, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm a whiner? I'm just pointing out that Caps fans and their homer reporters (Re: Steinberg) are more fixated on complaining about the Pens and Crosby than about their own team. I don't remember dissing Caps fans or OV. Caps fans are very dedicated (though you have to admit rather Johnny come lately) and OV is a generational player. Why can't the Pens and their players, especially Crosby, get that same amount of respect from you? Seems the dissing is all coming from your direction.

Posted by: vahockeyfan | May 7, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

lolol. you can't call steinberg a homer. this is a dc sports BLOG. he's a blogger (as said above), not a reporter. If you want to see dirty dissing, read thepensblog. they're filthy. the REAL dissing is from ya'll, not us.

Posted by: mwalk1 | May 7, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

BTW...The Igloo is a dome, so the sounds goes straight up. It is bound to not sound as loud as the VC. (I've been to both). Also, and this might make some of you Caps fans mad, but the Pens fans tend to be much more hockey savvy. They actually like to watch and evaluate the action instead of stand up and scream everytime a star player touches the puck. I mean that as no disrespect to the Caps fans. As in religion, the newest converts tend to be the loudest and most ardent. As for my loyalties to the Pens and other Pitt. teams, I've lived here for 25 years, but my loyalties and family ties run deep. I don't dislike this area. It has treated me well. Why all the hate for those of us who don't choose to give up the childhood teams we first came to love? Those of you who have such hate for Pittsburgh have no idea about it....probably not ever been there. Respect is a two-way street. You can't respect where I came from, how can I respect you?

ps OV did refuse to talk about anything after the game last night. That's his right, but let's be fair about it. If he wants to be the face of the game and not Crosby (guarantee Crosby would give up that albatross in a minute) then he needs to own up to the responsibilties that come with it.

Posted by: vahockeyfan | May 7, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

You can't even compare The Pensblog to Dan's blog. tPB is to Dan's blog as The Daily Show is to CNN. tPB is trying to be raunchy (though very clever, if you ever read it) is not affiliated with any established media organization. "Fake" homer coverage at its best! Dan's blog is associated with the Washington Post. I think that holds him to a much higher standard, and that's why I get disappointed with him when he resorts to the petty stuff about Crosby and the Pens.

Posted by: vahockeyfan | May 7, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse


We don't have to respect you and your crappy ex-home town (went to school there for 2 years, I know all about it) = you live in OUR city.

You're just reinforcing (accurate) stereotypes about whining Penquins too, you realize?

Go read your Penguin friendly "Daily Show" news and let Dan "Anderson Cooper" Steinberg do his thing here for us Caps fans.

Posted by: paulfromsilverspring | May 7, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

vahockeyfan: "petty stuff"? To reiterate RedBirdie, have you read The Sports Bog prior to the start of the Caps vs Pens series? This is what Dan Steinberg does in his blog. He writes about the little details, the funny things with pictures or video, for the amusement of readers. Yes, he does write some serious blog posts, but usually, it's for humor and behind-the-scenes information we usually wouldn't get in a traditional Tarik El-Bashir or Mike Wise Washington Post Sports section main article.

Dan Steinberg is a Caps fan. The Sports Bog is his >blog<. He's entitled to any biases in his blog; the blog is here for him to write his opinions...why should he be team-neutral? And what home newspaper, in any report, will be team-neutral? If I wanted to read a neutral report, whether an informal blog or official report, I'd just go to But I like reading it from OUR side, OUR point of view. So please, if you don't like our biases...don't read anything from the Washington Post.

Posted by: kinokonoko | May 7, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

lol here vahockeyfan is saying all these bad things that caps fans say. ultimate counter-point:

Posted by: mwalk1 | May 7, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

the opinions of vahockeyfan should be discounted out of hand because he's from va and is a penguin fan.he just bandwagoned on a traditionally winning franchise instead of supporting the local squad. bet he's a cowboys fan too.

Posted by: harbinger79 | May 7, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

You guys are getting pretty ugly. Proves some of my point. I am a pens fan, but I live here and read the Wash. Post. Sure Dan is certainly welcome to give his opinions about the Caps, and I fully expect him to be a homer. I would be disappointed if he wasn't. I'm just saying that he spends too much time concentrating on negative Pens/Crosby talk instead of talking about his own team. And I guess some of you just didn't read what I said too well. I am a Pens fan (and Steelers, and, believe it or not, Pirates fan). Those are my childhood teams! My husband grew up here and is a Caps fan. My 4 kids grew up here and are Caps fans. Wish I could convert them, but just like me they have loyalty to their first team. That's only right. We actually coexist and have Caps season tickets so that we can all just enjoy the sport we love together. Just want to know what's with the Caps fans obsession about the Pens. I was at my son's travel hockey tryouts tonight, and the kids are talking about the game and saying "Cindy Crosby Sucks", "Cindy is a girl,...." They were almost vicious. These are 9-10 year olds!!! What do you do here, indoctrinate them at an early age to think this way? Pretty pathetic.

Posted by: vahockeyfan | May 7, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love the fake moral outrage from the hockey mom. Fortunately you were raised in Pittsburgh where all parents made sure kids knew all about respect and everybody had a great upbringing, vahockeyfan. This is a bog. It isn't a blog. You continue to discount the purpose of this bog and the points in the piece and comments. Reading comprehension will help you a lot, vahockeyfan. You may have also missed the additional comments by Ovie and Crosby, the shots Dan has taken at Washington, or even that Crosby's reputation comes from other players.

Posted by: sitruc | May 7, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Verizon Center is loud because of the bells and whistles the fans bring. It's akin to a soccer crowd in England.

Team management in Pittsburgh is happy to provide free white Penguins t-shirts to all fans in attendance, along with a rally towel. Nice gifts, don't you think Uncle Ted? Cheapskate.

Posted by: ruce226 | May 8, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Meh. Take another look. All that free stuff is always sponsored. I thought I remembered Red being provided last season. I could just be confusing with the Wizards white outs or whatever they did though.

Posted by: sitruc | May 10, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The Melon Center wasn't very loud at all during game 4. I rarely heard group chants. And when they don't give out t shirts, they don't wear the same color. In fact, it was mostly the powder blue jerseys. Playoff games at VC were a lot louder during regular play. More chants. And of course everyone was in red.

Also, the Pittsburgh fans were a lot more nasty than in NYC. But I was at a Friday night Pittsburgh game and game 6 vs NY was a Sunday afternoon, so that probably had a lot to do with it.

Posted by: TheRealDuffman | May 11, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

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