Penguins. They’ve got the market cornered on likability. Their adorable, oblivious waddling. Their lack of fear for humanity. Their harmless nature deeply contrasted by the vicious world they call home. Their library of nature documentaries. Their internet-based symbolism for the hopelessly awkward.
They’re covered from every angle. So when I tell you that will need to spend the next few days passionately rooting for their untimely demise, you’re probably recoiling in horror.
Somewhere between protecting their eggs from the harsh Arctic cold and learning to play hockey, Penguins became a whiny, detestable pack of Pennsylvanian jerkbags. And there’s not a thing Morgan Freeman could narrate them doing that could change that.
All of this boiling hot douche baggery culminated just days ago, when our Flyers and these Penguins indulged in one of hockey’s greatest traditions: vicious bloodletting.
The context of the brawl was a bit of a fairy tale. Sidney Crosby was skating around center ice, looking for a spot for a good cry, when the Flyers’ Brayden Schenn approached him.
Brayden Schenn naturally felt an intense urge to shove Crosby to the ground. This is a completely normal feeling felt by most people, but many of us are able to keep ourselves in check, mainly because most of us are often not close enough to reach him. Shoving our televisions to the ground serves as a decent compromise, but minutes later, the hate flows once more. Brayden, however, perhaps became susceptible to the adrenalin of the game and his instinctive nature to knock Crosby over took control.
Crosby’s instinct to engage in theatrics when seeing an opportunity to get sympathy from the refs also took over, and he tumbled to the ice. The refs skated over and asked him if he was okay and if he wanted them to call his parents, and through a curtain of sniffles, Crosby claimed he was okay, but so traumatic was the emotional scarring that he left the game.
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma responded by sending out his checking line with very little time left and laughed maniacally as Pittsburgh’s Joe Vitale burrowed his shoulder into Danny Briere’s face. Seconds later, the whole scene unraveled into a gallery of beatdowns, climaxing in Flyers coach Peter Laviolette challenging Bylsma to a fight and illustrating his desire to snap the opposing coach’s head off like a PEZ dispenser by breaking a hockey stick against the glass in uncontrollable rage. Bylsma fled into the locker room, sobbing uncontrollably.
And all of that with everyone fully aware that these teams will collide in the first round of the NHL playoffs, starting April 11 at 7:30. Until then, Peter Laviolette will be seething in his rage-chamber, Danny Briere will be nursing his legally received face wound with disdain, and Sidney Crosby will be sitting alone somewhere, drooling on himself, apparently.
So, this legendary rivalry received another bloody notch. For decades now, Pennsylvania has been the battleground of intrastate warfare that most people prefer to save for the football field. But what they often forget is that in hockey, openly assaulting each other is part of the game, making it a far more successful medium to indulge the more primal of our reactions.
The sweet and innocent penguins we’ve come to know on National Geographic can be cast aside–the Penguins of Pittsburgh should be the only penguins on the receiving end of your emotions, and those emotions should mainly be “BLAAAAAARRRGH.”
That was “Screaming and pounding on the plexiglass,” not “violently barfing into a hat,” like I made it sound.