DK'S GRIND

Kovacevic: On being better than Philly

At some stage of the Penguins’ game with their archrival here tonight, something is sure to go wrong for the home team.

Matt Murray. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

PHILADELPHIA — At some stage of the Penguins’ game with their archrival here tonight, something is sure to go wrong for the home team. And when it does, you’d better believe the standard barrage of boos will cascade down from the seats.

It’s who they are.

It really isn’t who Pittsburgh is. Never has been.

And take it from someone who’s first-hand witnessed as many sporting events in our city as anyone in recent memory, it still isn’t.

Let’s clear some stuff up …

Sunday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena, as everyone knows by now, the crowd had a striking reaction to Matt Murray’s goaltending very early in what wound up a wonderful 4-3 win over the Bruins. Murray wasn’t booed, though many have mistakenly described it that way. He also wasn’t given a Bronx cheer, though that’s come up, too. Nor was he jeered, though I doubt many of us even know what that word means.

What occurred was this: The Bruins scored twice on their first three shots, both on big-time defensive breakdowns. And with the next puck that came Murray’s way, a slow slider anyone could’ve stopped, he sticked it to his left. At which point some in the crowd reacted with mocking applause.

It’s a technical distinction, I know, but one very much worth making. Because, as I wrote in the Grind after that game, I believed the reaction came from whatever unfortunate portion of the crowd showed up that day without a blessed clue about how defense or goaltending in hockey work.

As such, I didn’t see the reaction as boorish as much as it was born of hockey ignorance. Which is why, in that same column, I further wrote of the “few” who reacted that way, “Our city, for all its hockey history, still exhibits a lack of understanding defense, goaltending and how those two impact each other. It’s too common, and it’s too casually accepted. Maybe hearing about it from the iconic captain will begin to change that.”

Maybe it will.

Because this is one of those rare social discussions in modern society that wasn’t ignited by the media. It came directly from Sidney Crosby, and it came without provocation of any kind. Crosby was asked how he thought Murray did, nothing more, and he proceeded to remark about the crowd’s early treatment of Murray. The same soon came from other team leaders.

All anyone in this line of work does from there is report the story, analyze, opine, whatever. But the spark came from within. It’s the players who were peeved about this, including the player who counts the most — one who’s barely spoken a controversial syllable in his life, to boot.

Ask me, and that’s what has people chapped in the 48 hours that’ve followed. It’s one thing if a nobody like me pipes up on the subject. It’s another when a civic treasure does so, since that genuinely forces those people to reflect a little, maybe rethink the reaction a little.

My only hope in this scenario, as expressed originally, is that even more Pittsburghers venture to learn even more about this beautiful game. It’s almost never condensed to a single focus of blame or, for that matter, credit. It’s a total team effort, for better or worse. And goaltenders, contrary to a common misperception among newcomers to hockey, aren’t like baseball catchers where they’re expected to stop everything. (My dad used to think that, and it drove me nuts.) The stats show that they stop roughly 9 of 10. And when it comes to high-danger chances like those Boston had early, it’s a lot lower than that.

Our city’s never known more about hockey than it does now, and that’s awesome. We’ve never had more participation, more coaching, more people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, colors and ages loving it.

To me, that’s the only real lesson here: We’ve got more work to do.

• I’ll take educated booing any day of the week in any setting, even if it blasts a Pittsburgh team or Pittsburgh player. But damn, make it about something that’s real.

• Philly fans boo because they’re born angry. I’m convinced of it. It’s among the most bizarre sociological phenomenons in American history, and it’ll definitely be my college thesis in another life.

• To emphasize this for clarity: I wasn’t wild about Murray’s showing the first two periods, but that had nothing to do with those two goals and everything to do with some erratic movements on shots that went wide, which has always been a red flag with him. He seemed to find stability on that front in the third period and made some terrific saves.

• Oh, and this, too, then I’ll change the subject: I made such a big deal about this right after the game that it was the ninth bullet in a 10-bullet column. I clearly failed clickbait school.

• I’ve got other hockey thoughts, but I’m here to cover the Penguins’ last game for quite a while, so I’ll save those for tomorrow.

Patrick Mahomes raises the Lamar Hunt Trophy Sunday in Kansas City, Mo. – NFL

• If the NFL conducted a complete drafting of every player everywhere, including those currently in the league, Patrick Mahomes would go first overall.

• As such, it’s tempting to take the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, particularly when putting Mahomes against Jimmy Garoppolo. But there’s still the Andy Reid factor, which can’t go away until it’s gone away, and there’s the not-small-matter of Nick Bosa and that hellacious defensive front of the 49ers. If there’s any way to disrupt a mobile quarterback, as the Steelers ably showed this season, it’s to start fires in his kitchen.

• Mahomes being the league’s best player doesn’t mean he should be MVP. That was unquestionably Lamar Jackson. Different criteria. Mahomes missed too much time.

• The NFL’s championship weekend featured franchises based in Kansas City, Nashville in Green Bay, and I’m willing to bet not a solitary mention was made of market size. Not related to the teams’ success, nor to the epic national TV ratings that resulted.

Funny how that works in a fair system.

• Pardon the language below, but nothing’s been more uplifting out of this awful Astros scandal than seeing players from other teams speak up about it:

This was even better, from CC Sabathia’s Instagram account:

When athletes cheat, they don’t just cheat the game and the fans. They cheat their competitors, their peers. And rest assured, if Major League Baseball doesn’t go after Houston’s hitters, name by name by name, those competitors, those peers will exact their own form of revenge.

• If Rob Manfred thinks this aspect of the scandal will simply fade away, he’s terribly miscalculated.

I mean, unless, of course, he expects anyone to not see right through Jose Altuve’s … uh, shirt:

• No one here booed Starling Marte after he was caught cheating. Not that I heard.

Not even sure why I just added that, but I did.

Terrific talk with Ke’Bryan Hayes by Alex Stumpf atop the site this morning.

• Pitt’s 12-6 overall, 3-4 in ACC play after annihilating North Carolina over the weekend, and I’ll stand first in line to praise Jeff Capel for propping up the program as he has in such short order. I covered that game, and that’s as intensive, as passionate a collective performance as I’ve seen from the Panthers since the Jamie Dixon days. They were genuinely stung by the losses to Miami and Wake Forest, and they emerged with a purpose.

That said, again, they’re 3-4 in ACC play. And the dagger in there is that half of those losses did, in fact, come to Miami and Wake Forest, both 2-5, and those aren’t where the losses can be absorbed. Not if anyone’s seriously entertaining a return to NCAAs this March.

What’s more, there’s still much missing. I respect what Trey McGowens and Xavier Johnson have done to restore respectability, I love the way Justin Champagnie’s maturing, and I enjoy the hell out of Ryan Murphy on and off the court, but there’s nowhere to go without a true big man and a pure shooter. Think Aaron Gray and Ashton Gibbs. In that mold.

I can live without a point guard. I get what Capel’s doing with the penetration-kickout offense. But those two missing pieces need to be addressed.

• Murphy’s a madman with the work ethic. Nearly a half-hour after that game ended, he was walking out on the long-since-abandoned court reliving a sequence from what had just unfolded.

• Don’t like Capel yet? Or don’t know him?

Here’s two minutes that’ll change both:

Get a guy like that for football, and no one will ever mention an on-campus stadium again.

• Hockey. Back to hockey. Morning skates bright and early.

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Dmxfury
Dmxfury

It’s weird. Based off the sheer amount of comments and articles written I feel like I should be more passionate on this topic. But I’m just not finding the energy nor care level there

Years of Control
Years of Control

paying customers want to BOO, it’s their perogative

For anyone – a few jeers isn’t all that much adversity, in the big scheme of things

Dmxfury
Dmxfury

I’m not a booer myself but generally I’m not bothered by those who are. Unless it’s just totally obnoxious and nonsensical it’s all good and their prerogative

Van Damme I’m Fine
Van Damme I’m Fine

Lol instead of fans taking ownership of this situation and reflecting, still shifting blame to the sportswriters. Make people know the difference between a Philly fan and Pens fan by the behavior, not the color of the sweater.

Jkaminski30
Jkaminski30

DK you gonna have a fan meet up at the game?

ews423
ews423

I’m glad DK pointed out that there was no “Bronx Cheer” as that term keeps being used. Although it would have been something unforgettable if that was the crowd’s reaction. It always amazes me that sportswriters and sportscasters use “Bronx Cheer” incorrectly on a regular basis. It isn’t quite as bad as incorrectly using the term “rugby scrum” to describe an unorganized crowd of players, but it is pretty close.

LupeSanchez
LupeSanchez

I remember plenty of times at the igloo as a kid hearing the mock cheers for a routine save.

DiegoPittFan
DiegoPittFan

Dejan, with all due respect your column today neither brings clarity nor closure to your prior comments about upset Pen’s fans being ignorant. Instead you seem to be pulling scabs. I was the first one to take issue with your characterization of some fans as ignorant. As far as I can tell from your reporting Crosby didn’t call fans ignorant, you did and still are, so the “rare social discussion” IS being created by the media, not respected players. More to the point, I fundamentally believe the jeering that occurred after the “massive defensive breakdowns” was not simply due to Murray giving up two very stoppable goals but instead due to several years of fan frustration with his penchant for coming up small. It’s not human nature to Bronx cheer, jeer or boo one’s team or its players unless a fan feels an enormous sense of failure or disappointment. That’s not an instant human reaction, it’s something built up over time. So with all due respect, I continue to reject your theory.

DiegoPittFan
DiegoPittFan

…Pen’s fans that jeered Murray are not ignorant, they’ve just seen enough and are maybe the truly enlightened ones..

Jkaminski30
Jkaminski30

Several years??

BigFiddy
BigFiddy

When I was 12 my late awesome Aunt took me to a pirates game against the Dodgers. (1978).
I remember booing the first batter that came up to the plate and my Aunt looked at me and said “we don’t boo anybody on my watch”. Point well taken, Aunt Betty.
It was a valuable lesson learned. I took that to heart and I quit booing people although I did boo Bob Nutting. My aunt probably would have too.
We live in a society where anything goes now, feelings or situations be dammed. Teach you’re children well.

Jkaminski30
Jkaminski30

You’re not a real fan if you don’t boo bob nutting lol

Burghman
Burghman

One thing I could never understand about Flyer fans… they cheer harder against Crosby than they cheer FOR their own team. I don’t know if that’s specifically anti-Sid / anti-Penguin or if they do it for the Rangers, Devils, and other nearby teams – I don’t watch enough Flyers games to get a feel for their tendencies. But can you imagine any Pittsburgh stadium or arena cheering harder against the opponent than they do for our team? Blows my mind.

Burghman
Burghman

I posted this on DK’s column yesterday towards the end of the day, so apologies for the broken record for those who saw it there too… I think Murray’s gross misplay behind the net at about 1:30 was more of the cause of the crowd reaction. He stops the puck then just seems to stand over it until the Bruin steals it and nearly scored. That play fired me up more than either of the goals and I’m sure it bothered others just as much or even more. That was the kind of play that got Fleury roasted around these parts, acrobatic saves be damned. I saw that and I couldn’t help but think that Murray’s head wasn’t in the game. Follow that up by a second goal and I can’t blame anyone for celebrating a clean save (if it even registered as a shot).

If he hadn’t flubbed it behind the net, I don’t know that anyone would have heard any mock cheers for the save in question. Not to say that there wouldn’t be idiots mock cheering, but they wouldn’t have been audible to many.

Burghman
Burghman

H/T to Willy and others, who hit on this hours before I did (by the time I got here today, there were 200+ comments and I didn’t bother reading through the earliest ones, only the more recent).

Giada’s Monchichi
Giada’s Monchichi

You state it more eloquently than I did Burgh. Nicely done.

Woomer
Woomer

I’m sure this must have already been suggested somewhere, but I haven’t seen it.

Why not just give the catcher a small microphone inside his mask and give the pitcher a small earpiece, and let the catcher tell the pitcher what he wants.

I mean the NFL does it with plays. This wouldn’t be that different.

And if someone says that the batter could hear what the catcher is saying, the catcher could simply talk in code.

Anyway, I haven’t heard of a more surefire solution than that.

chrisinindy
chrisinindy

Hah! I just had a very similar conversation with someone on exactly this.

WillieTheDuck11
WillieTheDuck11

Wow, THIS x 1000

Smokin Poke
Smokin Poke

Maybe no one booed Marte because Pirates fans are smart enough to realize the difference between what Marte did (used a cream for pain relief that had a banned substance in it) vs what someone like Bonds did. Not fair to include his name in the discussion.

Kridder19
Kridder19

Hard to believe…..Going back to 2007 —- 600 consecutive sellouts or 14 1/2 years =
Over 36,000 minutes of hockey and a few scattering of boo’s ring out for 2 goals scored within 2 minutes, has caused such a raucous! Wow…

rrflyerhater
rrflyerhater

Again with this whining about well deserved boos, huh?

This town is getting SOFFF.

Murray wants to break the bank. Doesn’t get a diaper and a blankie for comfort too

lizard_kingbb
lizard_kingbb

Enough with your obsession with Murray’s next contract rr. He’s an RFA with little leverage. He’ll get what the market bears or maybe he moves on – worry about it in the off-season. I’m sure you don’t ask for the highest salary you can get at your job either regardless of performance, right? In any event, I have a mock cheer reply ready for the next time you make a comment that actually makes sense. 🙂

lizard_kingbb
lizard_kingbb

C’mon rr no one’s fooled. You just want him to appear too expensive to keep hoping he gets moved out. But my guess is (much to your chagrin) GMJR will do his best to keep him. Whether that comes to fruition of course remains to be seen.

rrflyerhater
rrflyerhater

I don’t want 7 years of bad goaltending…

Ya got me

JJFlash
JJFlash

I can see both sides of this debate. I think in some cases, mock cheering the goalie is just a convenient (albeit lazy) way for us fans to express our disapproval of a lack of team effort. Totally unfair to the goalie, but so is the coach pulling him to send a message to the team when they’re leaving him out to dry.
Perhaps instead we should mock cheer after a slow start when the boys start fighting for pucks and playing D the way they’re supposed to.

josham623
josham623

This is the only instance I can think of where Crosby has openly campaigned for the fans to lay off a teammate. If Sid, who rarely says anything but “Give 110% Effort” platitudes, felt the need to volunteer this during what has been a very successful season so far, I wonder if it’s fair to say that Murray gets bothered by fan heat, and therefore is somewhat fragile.

wisertime
wisertime

Originally I didn’t think the booing was that big of a deal, but after reading DK’s take on this booing topic, it sure made me think. The way Murray was treated, was different than just the normal booing of a player. The people that did the mock applause, had one purpose which was to denigrate and humiliate the guy. One wouldn’t expect that from their own fans. The guy helped win two cups, and plays for the Pens, it’s strange that some of his home fans were angry or upset enough to humiliate him at home. I can see why some people feel that some fans crossed the line.

josham623
josham623

I get the point your making, but the guy is a veteran professional athlete with multiple Stanley Cups. It’s not like he’s a WB/S call up. If he can’t handle jeering from the home fans, how will he handle guys like Brad Marchand and Tom Wilson telling him to his face how bad he sucks during a playoff series.

wisertime
wisertime

Dammit. So much for trying the nice person approach. Tough crowd. The down cups are raining down. Boooo!! Haha

josham623
josham623

Own it Wisetimer. Good Heel Heat is just as much fun as a Face Pop! (FTR… I gave you a cup up).

wisertime
wisertime

Haha. Thanks Josh

Mike P.
Mike P.

To quote that dude who was the Buccos catcher for five minutes that one time,

“Don’t like it? Play better.”

PeteH
PeteH

You’re so full of it I don’t even know where to begin, so why bother.

MT
MT

Oh MY!

Confluence66
Confluence66

So let me understand. Why would fans that pay 2 days wages ( if you use minimum wage) to watch a millionaire let in 2 goals on three shots be berated because they used mock applause when a puck doesn’t go in the goal. While much of the expression was aimed at Murray it was meant for the entire team. Last time I checked it is still a free speech and expression country. The fact that the media berates the fans says more about the media than the fans who pay their own money to come to the games.

lizard_kingbb
lizard_kingbb

Seriously? It was meant for Murray and Murray alone. The only goalie in this league who has a built-in hate group in the fan base. Reality. And yes, everyone is free to act as dumb as they want to be. I think the berating comes from being embarrassed for the city on national TV. I know as a Pens fan living in DC, I’m embarrassed.

DiegoPittFan
DiegoPittFan

Yes, National TV. All 25,000 American households that tuned in and now feel differently about the city of Pittsburgh

Paul
Paul

There are a couple of points about booing.

Yes, Philadelphia is an exception. They are, indeed, born angry. They define themselves so much by their teams, and they rarely win championships. They are an angry group with an inferiority complex to New York.

But Pittsburgh is not otherwise different from other cities have have had some winning teams. Many fans say stupid things. That’s human nature, not a city trait.

Oh, the bashing of Crosby when he struggled (take away his C), the calling Malking lazy when he struggles, the merciless attacks on someone like Kunitz when he started to wear down, it was embarrassing.

rrflyerhater
rrflyerhater

You’re very right…this line of “thought” about hurting a goalies feelings is both unproductive and makes the whole town look weak.

bennywo03
bennywo03

“Don’t tell the fans what to do.” Yet fans ALWAYS tell the players what they shouldn’t be doing. “Don’t go out late.” “Get your head in the playbook.” Or other dumb crap like that. Fans can boo. Players, media, and other fans can criticize them for it. Like they should have in this case.

Tbunner66
Tbunner66

Is this going to go down as “Boo-gate”? I’ve never seen so many local reporters so upset over a professional player being booed, jeered, mock-cheered…whatever you want to call it. Is Matt Murray that fragile that he can’t take some boos when they are deserved? Honestly, in his post-game interview when asked what he thought of it, rather than saying “no comment”, probably should have said something to the effect of “I understand their frustration, I didn’t play that well early on, but I think I definitely righted the ship” or something along those lines. To compare Pittsburgh fans to Philly fans is a bit of stretch. Murray is a solid goalie (and by all accounts a solid human being), but his play since the 2nd cup has been anything but elite. He’s been mediocre during the reg season and downright horrible in the playoffs.

chrisinindy
chrisinindy

Explain ‘downright horrible in the playoffs’.

We got swept by the Isles last year cuzza Muzz?

The previous year we lost the Wash series four games to two cuzza Muzz?

No. I don’t think so.

MT
MT

There you are!

DiegoPittFan
DiegoPittFan

His stats have been mediocre and more important to me he fails the eye test. He didn’t cost the Pens either series but he zero to help win

bennywo03
bennywo03

Why should he have to say that? Just so you could feel that you were justified in booing him? Make the fans feel better about it? He gave his opinion about it without saying anything. Fans always want their athletes to be honest except when it comes to them.

Serenade1
Serenade1

You know that, if he did say something beyond “no comment,” he’d be criticized for that. If he said it bothered him, he would be labeled fragile, a baby, and/or a whiner. If he said he it didn’t bother him, people would say he was apathetic and cold, something a number of people in this fan base already think, and don’t like him because of it. If he said it motivated him to play better, people would ask why he didn’t realize he was playing bad already and he has no accountability.

He was in a no-win situation and gave the best answer he could. I respect it.

chrisinindy
chrisinindy

This Muzz story shoulda gone away but, here it is again. This paves the way for many subscribers to point out how it’s not just this year that Muzz has sucked but, he’s sucked for two years. The only evidence these folks need is not winning a Stanley Cup.

Usually, this blame falls on the head coach but, Sully, as a Jack Adams Award candidate, earns a pass for now.

I don’t recall at any point in last year’s playoff failure thinking that the Isles swept us because of Muzz’s play. Nor do I recall feeling anything like that the previous year when we lost in the second round to the Caps, the eventual Cup winners.

This is a narrative established to address the mistake of the Pens not winning the championship. Further, it’s a story about The Accountability Police; someone must take the blame for this atrocity! Someone must be held to account!

Couple this with Muzz replacing the cutest, sweetest, most beloved Penguin goalie of all time, and ya get The Muzz Haters Club.

MT
MT

I am NOT a Murray hater. This post is malarky 😛

chrisinindy
chrisinindy

Mike Malarky?

MT
MT

Nope, chrisinindy malarky 😉

J-Dub
J-Dub

It’s okay and understandable for the paying customers to express their displeasure and disappointment via booing because the TEAM got down so much, so early in the game. But the fans targeting the goalie–as if he was solely responsible–are the same fans who blame every interception on the QB, and who scream “Don’t they practice free throws?!” after every missed FT…irrespective if the team is shooting > 70% for the game. A guy called into the Cook & Joe show this morning and actually blamed Muzz for the Jack Johnson own goal. The caller said the goalie “has to anticipate that!”. Geez…

Garthopus
Garthopus

Would this article be written if it was Tom Barasso?

chrisinindy
chrisinindy

Like it or not, Tommy Two Cups was known to be a complete jerk to the media back then.

MT
MT

Tommy was a jerk to almost everyone back then.

rrflyerhater
rrflyerhater

So? He got blasted for soft goals…

You see where that matters yet?

JJFlash
JJFlash

LOVE what Capel said there. Thank you for posting. Everything he said reminds me to appreciate every day 87 is here.

jackdeloplane
jackdeloplane

Two ways to motivate, a pat on the back and a kick in the a**. We all need both sometimes. Way too much written about this “incident”. MM is an adult. He can (and did)handle it.

J. David Krauser
J. David Krauser

Forgot to mention: Mahomes should be MVP rather than Jackson. Against the same defense look at what Mahomes did versus the stuffing that Jackson took. Tennessee throttled the best-record Ravens. Mahomes looked like he was scrimmaging.

OtherMK
OtherMK

Meta analysis by reading the comments and observing the cup scores – fans don’t like journalists telling them what to think or how to behave.

J. David Krauser
J. David Krauser

I’ve never been to a hockey game in Philly, but have gone to baseball and football games there. The fans were always good natured. Stood up for their teams and trashed the Bucs and the Steelers, but not maliciously. Two years ago several asked to take pics with me wearing the Steel Curtain jersey. Of course, their good humor might have been connected to the pasting Wentz and the Eagles were laying on the BnG. I didn’t even know that they had a fight song. They played it after every score. By the end of the game I knew it by heart.

rrflyerhater
rrflyerhater

Philly fans are rough…but many are very (far more) knowledgeable about the sport – not just their teams and they take it as well as they can dish it.

You know who’s also like that: Boston fans

Pittsburgh fans both shit on Malkin and support roethlisberger (who’s scum and greedy)…I might suggest that’s a glass house.

MT
MT

And where in the h&ll is chrisinindy???

chrisinindy
chrisinindy

Hiya Mum, my screed is above. It took me a while to put my thoughts together.

MT
MT

Hey, ya might wanna “edit” it lol

chrisinindy
chrisinindy

What don’t ya like about it, Mum?

MT
MT

For starters, just scratch this entire paragraph, because it’s blatantly false: “This is a narrative established to address the mistake of the Pens not winning the championship. Further, it’s a story about The Accountability Police; someone must take the blame for this atrocity! Someone must be held to account!

Then THIS: “Couple this with Muzz replacing the cutest, sweetest, most beloved Penguin goalie of all time, and ya get The Muzz Haters Club.”
Whether or not Fleury was here, Muzz would still be a target, because his play HAS regressed. I understand he’s going thru some tough times, but he must improve his game.

chrisinindy
chrisinindy

Wait a second, mum, this narrative would not exist at all if the Pens had won the Cup last year.

Also, the Pittsburgh fan base has always looked for someone on whom they can lay blame for failure (in this case, not winning a championship is failure). That is the essence of The Accountability Police, finding someone to take the blame.

And c’mon, mum, there will always be Muzz Haters if only because he replaced Fleury.

MT
MT

Last year, this team did NOT play “the right way”. That is why they got embarrassed by the Isles.
This year, they ARE playing “the right way”, so the players need their goalies to give them every chance to win.

It’s not about blaming Muzz, or DeSmith, or Jarry.

So, you do have a bit of truth in that you say Sullivan was blamed. However, he turned that around this season, so that is now a moot point 🙂

chrisinindy
chrisinindy

Does Casey DeSmith still exist?

MT
MT

Indeed he does. Check out Taylor’s minor league columns 🙂

chrisinindy
chrisinindy

I’m glad he’s still in our system. Ya never know, we might need him…

MT
MT

That’s exactly right!

Deaf Yinzer
Deaf Yinzer

pitt’s bball will be really really good next season. we have a big man in hugley. we have 3 big dudes comign here next season – hughley (6’9), collier (6’8) and amadasun (6’10).

iacas
iacas

I understand what you’re saying – Crosby wasn’t asked specifically about the crowd’s reaction – but asking him about Murray and him talking about how the crowd seemingly treated Murray isn’t what I would call “without provocation.”

alantig
alantig

Bingo. It’s not like Crosby said, “Oh, by the way, before you guys leave…”. While not a direct question about the tragic atrocity committed upon Murray (based on the reaction to the non-event), it was clearly an invitation to broach the subject.

cherokee23
cherokee23

DingDingDing

efejr
efejr

Opening day after the Eagles had just raised the franchise’s first SB banner, the fans relentlessly booed a first half (?!) 3 and out. First half!
I hope Pgh never rises to that level of disrespect. We’re not there yet, but there’s a growing segment of fans that are definitely on that path.

Turk482
Turk482

First of all, Matt Murray recovered from a terrible start to become a key factor in winning an important game. Two observations from that: I really felt that the booing was the result of his terrible play at the start of the game. The goals were obviously not all his fault but he didn’t help. Just as significant, his play behind the net to give the puck to the Bruins and his inability to get back to the net with the defense saving an empty net goal made me question if his head was in the game. Secondly, if his ego is so fragile that he cannot handle some boos for bad play, then he’s going to have a long, frustrating career. Perhaps the booing motivated him to win this game.

TC
TC

Agreed! They play a game and get payed millions. If you get booed chalk it up as part of the profession. If you don’t like to get booed then play better.

YunzerNation
YunzerNation

The only reason this is even an issue is his teammates obviously saw MM was affected by the reaction of the fans. Does it suck for him. Yea. Is it the first or the Last time it’s going to happen. No way. I think the biggest take from this whole thing is the emotional reaction it appears MM has had to it. Which is the most surprising and concerning for his long term prospects, as even all the Flower and Jarry lovers can attest, MMs mental makeup and ability to battle through adversity has been one of his greatest and most valuable assets.

MMPPens
MMPPens

“And another thing…”. I’m a bit done with the media’s and team’s self-righteous response (and, dare I say, lectures) about fan behavior. Please note the following:

1. The fans mock applause had nothing to do with a “lack of respect” for MM, or the Pens, or for winning back-to-back Cups, or ownership’s commitment to winning, or knowledge of the game. It had EVERYTHING to do with two goals before anyone even had a second sip of their beverage of choice! I don’t understand why this has been made such a big issue when it was really just the result of a TERRIBLE start to the game, which everyone acknowledges. It was a reaction, not a policy position.

2. I wasn’t at the game, but watched it, and I don’t think the capacity crowd mocked MM. It was a small minority. This is “cancel culture” today. One person or a small group does something, and everyone is guilty. Be better than this.

3. Finally, it’s just sports. Players make big bucks, Fans boo from time to time. Get over it.

TC
TC

Amen! The players need to accept it and move on. I’m willing to bet any time they wanna change jobs that any fan will. Boos included!

BeachBurgher
BeachBurgher

This ⬆️

PeteH
PeteH

The press/media can criticize the fans, but Jesus himself would never be allowed to criticize the media. They react to criticism like a cat does to a bath.

YunzerNation
YunzerNation

I don’t think the booing, geering, Bronx cheer directed at MM was as much about his performance in the vacuum of the first couple minutes of a one in 82 game on a nondescript day in January as much as it was about the Burgh being the chowdas sports whipping boy for the last almost 2 decades. There’s definitely a frustration level that’s approaching Cleveland level V any other city.

richmp47
richmp47

I seem to recall one season when MAF was struggling early on. The Pens returned home after a road trip and he was back in net. Instead of booing him, the fans seemed to give him extra support at the start of the game and then excessively cheered every save he made. After that game, his season seemed to do a full 180. Wish I could recall the year to see anyone else remembers it this way. I’ve often told this story as the difference between Pens and flyers fans.

SyBase10
SyBase10

2015…

musicman
musicman

Remember it well. Was at the game. It was against Tampa. The fans chanted his name at the beginning. The pens won 4-1 and Fleury was solid. Afterwards all the players said they appreciated the fan support.

Nick E
Nick E

Wow! DK couldn’t just walk away from his criticism of the fans, his next article, an incessant defense of his criticism of Pens hockey fans. I often thought of DK as more Fleuryesque, able to brush off criticism; instead, like Matt Murray, he seems unable to admit he really screwed up . . . those first two minutes . . . Murray has “never” had a humble moment after a loss, especially a bad loss, or a bad period.

In one article this column has devolved into a Madden-like give and take . . . unless that’s what DK intended all along. I hope not . . . but the similarities are striking . . . except for about a few hundred pounds.

efejr
efejr

Did I accidentally log in to DK Philadelphia Sports?

mamsix
mamsix

I appreciate the reference about admitting mistakes – that’s something that always bugged me a little about Murray. I remember a criticism I once read about JS Aubin (Think it was him) was that he never admitted that a goal was his fault – it was always a breakdown somewhere else. I wonder if a similar principle applies here at all.

Jay Roberts
Jay Roberts

Hughley and the big men will be there next year. Slow process…and agree, need a true PG.

J-Dub
J-Dub

Funny, but I remember all the criticism (not saying you) because Pitt didn’t have “that guy” who could get to the rim. James Robinson–one of the all-time underappreciated players of the Ben/Jamie era–took all kinds of heat because he wasn’t, ya know, like Melo or Kemba or D-Wade. No, he was the very definition of a PG and set all kinds of records for assists and assist-to-TO ratio. Now we have TWO guys who can get to the rim and people suddenly want…a PG. Sheesh.

That said, DK is correct below in that burying the kickout 3s consistently is key to THIS offense that Pitt is running. Making those shots–whether it’s Murphy, Trey/X, Toney, Champagnie, whoever–will allow for easier penetration and, at worst, drawing fouls.

Yes, John Hugley will be a major addition.

mattindallas
mattindallas

Maybe the Pens players popping off should be angry at themselves for a lethargic start? The goalie is the easy target and he took one for the team from the crowd. The fact that the slow start happened against the Bruins only hastened the boos. Regardless, the Pens showed heart as they have all year long. Could be a fun ride through April and May.

snowbeltfan
snowbeltfan

Really touched a raw nerve with that ninth bullet, huh? The reaction to the reaction, is over the top here. That said, i’m sure the fans’ apparent distaste for Murray still stems from his replacing MAF, and from his own low-key, unemotional personality. While Fleury was impish, smiling, self-deprecating , and appeared humble (could picture a mock bow,following the mock cheer), Murry is stoic, unsmiling, and can appear arrogantly confident, even when that may not be fully warranted by performance. I know they are each supremely confident, hard-working, skilled professional athletes, but fans see only the face.

efejr
efejr

Fans treated Fleury the same way unfortunately. We just forget the abuse because his tenure ended as a lovable and exceptional backup. No matter what, in my opinion, Barrasso, Fleury, and Murray will always deserve our respect for their exceptional contribution to the franchise’s championships.

J.P.
J.P.

This. There were MANY times Fluery received a mock cheer or even boos, especially during the shaky playoff run up in 2015..

bigchinook
bigchinook

Perhaps we should remove the down cups? After all, isn’t that an expression of Booing?

scd5045
scd5045

Bigchinook, I applaud you for this, you are exactly right. 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

MMPPens
MMPPens

Bravo! 👆👆👆

timcostello1
timcostello1

You sir win the day.

ScSchap
ScSchap

A lot of justification for jeering based on someone’s “rights” after paying for a ticket. It’s true, no one is going to throw you in jail if you do it. You also won’t go to jail if you’re rude to wait staff because there was a problem with your meal. But most people restrain themselves because it makes you seem petulant and childish even if it’s satisfying in the moment. Paying a lot of money for a ticket does not come with a guarantee that things will go well for your team. That’s a risk you take. And throwing a fit comes off especially poorly when (as Malkin pointed out) the team has demonstrated all year that they work hard and care deeply, Murray included. They don’t need fans to “light a fire under them” by booing because they’re already more upset about it then anyone in the stands.

racer93
racer93

People have a right to be jerks…

nightsky73144
nightsky73144

I agree with you. I find the behavior of targeting a specific player, especially on your OWN team, rude, boorish, and ignorant. I think it was the specificity of the criticism that bothered his teammates. And, that’s fine. They care for each other; that’s good.

That said, I’m beyond tired of this incident and having members of media outlets lecturing upon behavior.

I mean, I wouldn’t listen to that poster boy for boorish behavior on afternoon radio except under torture…but is it TRUE that HE’s calling people out for this? I mean, he makes his living by being rude, ignorant, and disgusting in the way he treats players and fans and all humans. Heck, he was thrown off radio for a while for wishing a person had been assassinated. And HE’s lecturing fans on behavior?
…guess one of his pets has been criticized.

pipecock
pipecock

I can’t even count how many times in my life I’ve heard a crowd at a baseball game give mock cheers after a pitcher has thrown a bunch of consecutive balls (usually after walking someone) and then finally throws a strike.

Pro sports is big boy time so wear your big boy pants.

Lambertfan
Lambertfan

Regardless of the fan reaction,, the best part of Murray’s experience in that game is he and the team went through adversity, worked through it, and came out with the win. Murray and his teammates will grow from the experience and be able to pull from it down the road when it occurs again.

paldrich2
paldrich2

In football a struggling QB sometimes gets booed for an interception that wasn’t his fault. Could have been a bad route by the WR or a missed assignment by an OL that messed up the QB’s timing. In real time it’s difficult for fans to know that. A struggling goalie will get the same treatment in similar circumstances. It’s just the nature of the positions.

Tantalo91
Tantalo91

Some of the minority fan base who tends to constantly be critical aside, I’m one who is simply a bit puzzled by Sullivan’s tendency to go back to Murray, as it some what currently appears. Murray has not come close to having an all star SEASON since he became the starter upon Fluery’s departure. I mean, not close. Then you have a guy like Jarry step up this fall and put together the best string of goaltending since Murray or Fluery in the 17 playoffs, and he “appears” to get lifted for Murray who just seems to be “better” of late. I’m one who roots for the team, wants the best for all, but does not agree with Sullivan’s sudden shift back to Murray. It’s only two games in three days. But if your gonna make that move, you would hope Murray was doing something more than just playing better than he was to unseat the guy who was the top goalie in the league for the last 60 days. Perhaps the Bronx jeers weren’t so much directed At Murray as much as it was the starter decision for that game?

JAK
JAK

I agree with this take. The mock cheers were not out of lack of understanding of the game as DK loves to point out about Pittsburgh hockey fans. It came from fans who were frustrated that Murray got the start in the first place because it seems that Sullivan favors him because of the teams he was a part of in the past.

Penzrule
Penzrule

Murray got the start because he has better stats over his last 5 games then Jarry does over his last 5 games. Sullivan started the correct goalie, like it or not. Jarry is coming back down to Earth a bit and Murray needs to prove he’s a number one goalie. No excuse for the team and Murray to not be ready for that game though.

Tantalo91
Tantalo91

Murray in his last 6 games is .892. Jarry in his last 6 games is .902. Murray has better numbers ( barely) the last two weeks. As I said, he has looked better than he did in the fall. But did hardly nothing special to restablish anything resembling #1 status Especially to unseat the top goalie in the entire league for the entire fall. Playing 2 games in 3 days when you could’ve went back to the guy who carried you for 2 months… your claim that it was the “correct goalie” is flawed and ironically incorrect. Hopefully Murray continues to improve. But also, as I said, the guy has not come close to having anything resembling as all star SEASON since Fluery departed. The fact many try to justify mediocre play when he’s on the plus side of mediocre vs the down side in a given 2 week stretch iis not a standard you want to set. But with all this said, it’s only two games. Nothing is in stone. And it doesn’t matter who starts as long as it’s the guy gives the Pens the best chance to win.

Hockeymn25
Hockeymn25

This is correct^^^^^. I don’t think Murray has ever been considered one of the top 5 in the league. He has the 2 rings but he has been average or below average since those cup wins. Sullivan has always liked him however, even when Fluery was playing well. I don’t see it. Jarry appears to be the more talented goalie. Even just helping the D men with his stick handling skills is a huge asset that Murray simply doesn’t, and probably never will have.

BubbaBanjo
BubbaBanjo

Philly fans like many big city fans are angry. Every day. At every one. They ooze it. I agree there totally. I have watched it become literally dangerous to cross a parking lot in many cities wearing the other teams colors.

You can get showered with beer in the stands. Hell I saw whole rows fighting at Monday night football in Miami. It’s become nuts in some places.

The Burgh isn’t that ugly or angry yet. Hope it stays that way.

racer93
racer93

Yup Bubba. It isn’t just sports. It’s regional culture.
All the worse.

BubbaBanjo
BubbaBanjo

Oh my….. 🙂

MT
MT

hey Bubba! That’s MY line! 😉

Mariomera8
Mariomera8

“ He also wasn’t given a Bronx cheer”

Uh. That’s exactly what he was given.

SyBase10
SyBase10

A Bronx cheer is otherwise known as a *raspberry*…DK is correct…he was NOT given a Bronx cheer…

Mariomera8
Mariomera8

Uh yeah. You and DK are dead wrong. A Bronx Cheer is a mocking applause give for the completion of a mundane task.

Phrases have more than one meaning. And in 40 years on planet earth, never once in my life have I ever heard anyone ever, substitute Bronx Cheer for Raspberry.

Ooohh look at that cute baby, I’m gonna give her little Bronx Cheers on her belly.

Not once.

SyBase10
SyBase10

“You and DK are dead wrong. A Bronx Cheer is a mocking applause give for the completion of a mundane task.”

Nope.

Bronx cheer (plural Bronx cheers)

(US, idiomatic) Synonym of raspberry (“a sound intended to resemble flatulence made by blowing air out of the mouth while the tongue is protruding from and pressed against the lips, used humorously or to express disdain or scorn”) [from 1920s]
Synonyms: razz, razzberry

Bronx cheer
noun
a loud, abrasive, spluttering noise made with the lips and tongue to express contempt.Also called raspberry.Compare bird(def 15).

SyBase10
SyBase10

Blowing a raspberry, strawberry or making a Bronx cheer, is to make a noise similar to flatulence that may signify derision, real or feigned. It may also be used in childhood phonemic play, either solely by the child, or by adults towards a child to encourage imitation to the delight of both parties. It is made by placing the tongue between the lips, or alternately placing the lips against any area of skin, and blowing. When performed against the skin of another person, it is often a form of tickling. In the terminology of phonetics, the former sound has been described as a voiceless linguolabial trill, [r̼̊],[1] and as a buccal interdental trill, [ↀ͡r̪͆].[2]

A raspberry is never used in human language phonemically (that is, as a building block of words), but it is widely used across human cultures.[citation needed]

BubbaBanjo
BubbaBanjo

Beg to differ DK. Pens fans are not ignorrent. Muzz has had an off year by his standards. He has been steller before.

Fans expect the big save. We expect better. So when a few slip thru fast we get riled up. That’s a fans right as a ticket payer. We probably are spoiled.

A boo or two might motivate a proud man too. It comes with the job. We aren’t Flyer fans. We aren’t cult members. We can boo.

So I am booing your take here. 😀😀

Booooo. 😀

Caution: Not Fragile
Caution: Not Fragile

What are we to make of media mock compliments, such as when someone who underperforms suddenly scores a goal? Galchenyuk seems to be a site favorite of those during games. Who will lead the charge for the local media to be better than the National Enquirer?

Kevino66
Kevino66

Great article DK. I think our fans sometimes jump to conclusion too often. I am like that at times. But when Sid speaks, he is talking from the heart. Every captain is like that. From 66 to Messier, Yzerman, etc. Even Malkin spoke about this too. Murray needs support. I think we all should be on his side unless he implodes.

Titan35
Titan35

DK, any even slight suggestion comparing Pittsburgh fans to Philly fans is absurd and offensive, And blaming it simply on ignorant fans that need further education about hockey is ridiculous. He got booed, or mock cheered or whatever, so what. He is a professional athlete, he will be ok. Funny, the beloved Marc Andre-Fleury used to get booed often when he struggled and I don’t recall the backlash….or Crosby calling the fans out. Maybe I am wrong, but i don’t recall.

MT
MT

I said something to this effect (regarding MAF getting booed) on another post. I believe you are correct.

jeanpierre
jeanpierre

DK, long time follower of yours, new subscriber. Man, this article re: Murray is a tough one to get on board with. I’ve been going to Pens games since ‘86, played hockey growing up, and have followed hockey religiously since a youth. I wasn’t at the game, but was watching live out of the area. Honestly, I had the same reaction as those in the crowd, and I don’t think that makes me any less of a fan.

You mentioned the poor defensive breakdowns on those plays, but isn’t Murray the last line of defense tasked with making saves? My perspective wasn’t that the fans were riding him about his start to the game, but his overall play, up and down of recent seasons. A soft goal and a high glove goal is his MO.

You’ve written a few times this season that the Pens need him to make the save, not deflate the team. That’s what they needed in that moment. Questioning people’s hockey IQ isn’t cool, especially when the game is intricate and complex, even to us lifers.

Neil Bittner
Neil Bittner

You guys doing a subscriber meet up tonight?

trescourt
trescourt

I know professional athletes get paid a lot of money to perform. I for one have always felt it was in poor taste of the fans to boo their own players. Should they be able to handle the added stress, sure? Why add stress to your teams players. Especially when fans talk about players losing focus. Having said this, the paying customer has the right to show their displeasure.

Mario329
Mario329

In every sport when a player has a history (Murray 2 years now) of substandard play they get booed and “jeered” It’s not at all uncommon. It doesn’t reflect how less knowledgeable or classless the fans are. It’s just sports. That being said, in my opinion Murray has been found out. He has a terrible glove hand. That was his weakness even in the cup years. Shoot high on the glove side. He hasn’t improved that and it creeped into the other parts of his game.

Kridder19
Kridder19

Crosby’s simple comment showed respect for his teammate. He didn’t expound on it or beat it to death. This is called leadership!
Now, as fans giving Murray a mock cheer — Big Deal. Professional athletes are paid an enormous amount of money and know cheers and boos are part of the job description. Yes, there were defensive breakdowns! But, Murray was not set and lost his angle. He didn’t make himself “look big” in the net which gave him so much success in the past. Goalies are a strange breed and their psyches are very fragile. Murray is probably more so due to his earlier struggles. Sometimes it only takes one game, period, or save that can get the mojo back.
Fans — knowledgeable ones or morons have a right as a paying customer to cheer or voice displeasure however they please. Use of vulgarity is a different issue.

SyBase10
SyBase10

“The Bruins scored twice on their first three shots, both on big-time defensive breakdowns.”

Really?!? A five hole goal with a clear lane to the shooter is a “defensive breakdown”? Down and deep in the crease and you LOWER your glove on a rising shot from the high slot?

I am well known as being a Murray defender here @ DK; although, not so much lately. I will give him props for the way he bounced back Sunday and took his game to a level of aggressiveness that I’ve always suspected that he had but that I can’t recall ever seeing out of him – even in the Cup years. But you may want to review those two goals again; they were the result of awful efforts in net.

PensPatty
PensPatty

A five hole own goal where if his stick was property positioned….would not have trickled in….
Love DK….but totally disagree on this….I’m pulling for Muzz …but his performance over the last two years has demonstrated a lack of confidence in his ability to make the save needed when it’s needed….hope he works out of this…
That said….still would not boo my own team…

scd5045
scd5045

You nailed it patty, basically Murray in 2 years+ has been unreliable in making the big save.

For murrray, yes he has won 2 cups, but since hasn’t done much, he needs to step up and lead by his play to gain the respect of the fans.

SyBase10
SyBase10

He made several big saves Sunday…including one just before the Pens scored their first goal…seriously, his recovery on Sunday was remarkable…was one of his best performances ever…

JGE71
JGE71

DK – I agree with 99% of the things you write and you have a finger on the pulse of the city’s sports heartbeat like few others but to state that Pens’ fans are basically ignorant of the game and the relationship between goaltending and defense is just ridiculous. And how did you arrive at this conclusion? By taking a poll, making assumptions based on…what exactly? I am not the type to boo the home team (unless it’s Nutting) but if a few people are frustrated by the team, then so be it. This might be the first time I can recall that you’ve completely missed the mark

SteelerMol
SteelerMol

Dang DK, this reeks of being a PR arm for the Pens. You should know by now that telling fans they aren’t as smart as you is not wise. These are the same fans who chanted “Fleury” days after his debacle in Columbus in 2014. It’s not a one-way street. Cheer when they need it, and boo when they need it. Murray did quite well after the jeers–maybe that’s the story? Maybe it woke him up?

MMPPens
MMPPens

Why is this even a story about Matt Murray and boos, jeers, passive/aggressive applause or whatever you want to call it? It’s sports. Fans have always reacted negatively to failures, poor performance and/or ongoing frustrations. This is a story?

The negative reaction by many, including DK and Mark Madden, seems to me an example of today’s “cancel culture” where, heaven forbid, anyone says anything critical about anything. Ironically enough, Madden on his show is one of the leading voices against cancel culture, and I agree with him on that point.

DK, luv ya, but I think this is one bandwagon you should have avoided.

PucknutZ
PucknutZ

Tempest in a teapot.
The Captain sticking up for his teammate, period. Duly noted. End of story.

Ya missed on this one DK,
Even with all your qualifiers up there I disagree with your conclusions.

baseball10
baseball10

We got lucky with Capel. Heather has been terrific. After Barnes and what he did we needed some luck and some good people.

DJ
DJ

Merging the article’s two topics of the Bruins game and Philthy tonight, I guess we’re just a tad more knowledgeable than Flyers fans.

Not much, just ever so slightly but I’m very glad we at least cleared that hurdle — heh heh 😉

Zebug
Zebug

I wasn’t at the game, but I was just as upset as everyone else and it wasn’t due to what Murray did to start the game, it was about 2 season’s worth of poor play from him. He’s one of the least athletic goalies in the game, which he overcomes by playing good smart fundamental hockey. When his head isn’t in it, he sucks and his head wasn’t in it to start the game. This was not evident by the two goals, it was evident by many other things. His rebound control, his puck handling and just general awareness of what was going on.

Tony Clifton
Tony Clifton

Not sure you can really relate to what it’s like being in the stands as a fan. As you’ve said on many occasions, journalists can’t be fans of the teams they’re covering.

When you pay to see a team that you’re a fan of, you have the right to show your displeasure in the form of mock cheers, boos, signs, whatever.

To cast these particular fans as ignorant or lacking understanding of hockey is outright snobbery, and a really bad look.

Zico
Zico

Being a fan doesn’t entitle you to being an ass. Boos, mock cheers, etc are negative displays. If you’re a “fan”, you should be supporting your team, not tearing them down.

Using the title “fan” as an excuse to be a jerk is showing your lack of values.

TomPaulBillyBob
TomPaulBillyBob

Wow — you took this one completely off the rails

Tony Clifton
Tony Clifton

I think you’re confusing “fan” with “sycophant”. I know they sound similar, but trust me, they’re very different. Perhaps a trip to the library and asking for a dictionary would help.

Zico
Zico

No, I didn’t confuse fan with sycophant. Perhaps you are confused with the idea that you’re entitled to be a certain way just because you paid money to attend. Or because you think it’s your right as a fan. Sure, you’re within your rights to act however you want. But just because you CAN act a certain way, doesn’t mean that you SHOULD act a certain way.

Everyone down voting this column and up voting the “we do as we please” comments today all took DKs argument personally and/or incorrectly. People shouldn’t have Bronx cheered Murray for the easy stop, because if they knew hockey, they knew both goals weren’t entirely his fault. It’s always easiest to blame the common denominator, because it requires the least amount of thought/effort.

As someone else posted after me, if you choose to boo an athlete/team because you feel entitled to, then you come off as “petulant or childish.”

You want to continue down this road? Eventually, we’ll be the ones throwing beer/snowballs/batteries too.

MT
MT

Except that it ISN’T beer bottles or batteries. It’s a genuine gut reaction of dismay from fans who are totally caught up in rooting for THEIR team and want to see them win. In the heat of the moment, the disappointment makes its way out as a booooo.
So boo-hoo, we’re all not as perfect and as stand up are YOU are.

Tony Clifton
Tony Clifton

Perhaps you should redirect your bookmarks to http://www.pittsburghpenguins.com for your info on the team. You’ll hear only the company line over there, and you wont’ be bothered so much by people expressing their opinions.

MT
MT

Oh my!

Ballgame
Ballgame

To me it’s just pure frustration at the teams start and the goalie always bears the brunt of it. That said the NBC broadcast had an ex nhl goalie and a former head coach both directly criticizing Murray very specifically and calling for him to be removed from the game so I’m not sure the fan reaction can be attributed to lack of knowledge. Two very knowledgeable broadcasters essentially had the same reaction as the fans.

Paddy
Paddy

touche

DJ
DJ

Were the former goalie and coach from Pittsburgh?

Based on the two articles, even money says at least one was. 😉

cherokee23
cherokee23

I’ve never understood the Edzo angst.

stnies
stnies

Except both factions were luckily wrong (to remove MM). He redeemed himself in the remainder of the game.

TomPaulBillyBob
TomPaulBillyBob

Yup ….. when I was in the Navy, they had a saying (and I’m certain it’s not isolated to the military): 1,000 attaboys can be wiped out with 1 “aw, **shucks**”

Titan35
Titan35

Ballgame, i was thinking the same thing. They spent 5 minutes calling him out. Murray just has not been consistently good for the better part of two season. I know hockey, been watching it for 30 years, go to lots of games, and just like I know bad defense, I know bad goaltending when i see it. His stats overall since 16-17 are below average. Those are stats not opinion. Nearly every game he lets in a soft goal or two. Ok, those were quality chances, but its not unreasonable to expect your 2 time Stanley Cup goalie bail his team out of one in the first 2 minites of a big game. To me thats the think that Jarry has done, is not let in thoses weak goals. Always keeps his team in the game. God forbid the fans let the team know they were not playing well. Folks paid a lot of money to watch a team come out flat. I think it was a very curious decision for Sully to go with Murray. My only conclusion is he wanted him to get work while Jarry was at the AS game. Story WAY overblown.

chuckinrlp
chuckinrlp

The past two seasons it seems Murray has had some brain cramps and let in some softies. All tenders do, but it seems moreso than the norm with Matt. Yes, the team was sleepwalking at the start of the game, but after the blatant giveaway from Murray, we only caught a break when the B’s player missed an open net. It just seems like we haven’t been getting our share of the timely saves from him this season, unlike with Jarry. I think fans are just frustrated with this aspect. Let’s be honest, we know the league has a book on Murray…high glove. To me, it just isn’t worth the 5.5-6 million a year he will command next season. With this team, all they ask is to not lose the game, kind of like a back-up QB. You don’t have to win it, just don’t lose it. He did win it for us in the third, but he almost lost it in the first. I think the fans just had enough. If he is being honest, he will say he deserved it. If it bruised his ego, so be it. Play better. We know you can!

nightsky73144
nightsky73144

The inconsistency isn’t worth the 7-8 million/year with term that he’s going to want. That’s a big reason why I’d like to see Jarry getting the start tonight, & getting at least half the starts or better the rest of the season, unless Jarry’s play falls off a cliff (which it hasn’t done – he’s still giving up less soft goals than Murray).
I’ve nothing against Murray, & hope he does well in his starts for the Pens. But, I don’t believe in playing a fortune to any goalie; because goalies generally can’t win it alone (see: Price, Lundqvist, Luongo, Hasak). Exception might be Brodeur, whose team wasn’t talented, but could do boring 5 men back defense to perfection.
& while I respect the fact that so many of his teammates (not JUST Crosby) backed Murray, I’m a little tired of the different media outlets lecturing everyone on the issue (& I think the mock cheers/jeering WERE boorish – but I don’t think it was from people who didn’t understand what they were doing).

TomPaulBillyBob
TomPaulBillyBob

I had no idea there were such prerequisites to watching hockey. To assume all who let out a boo or jeer or Bronx cheer is ignorant to the game of hockey is rather rude, in my opinion, as it’s assumed that they were directing it at Murray as opposed to the collective; Murray’s kick of a mundane play is simply the conclusion to that sequence. I wasn’t frustrated at Murray, I was frustrated at the lack of defensive fire, the 11-second goal, the packed schedule, the changing weather, the amount of injuries, Brad Marchand and Bob Nutting. Speaking only for myself, if I had been in attendance, I likely would not have voiced my frustration, but it also doesn’t mean I wasn’t frustrated and it surely doesn’t mean I’m ignorant to the game of hockey. I appreciate Sid and Geno standing up for Murray, as they should, but it also needs to be understood that goalies are lightning rods — it’s the nature of the beast.

Arriba Arriba #21
Arriba Arriba #21

As fans we all have the right to complain about any aspect of the game ,, whether it’s The officiating or goaltending, today it was Murray letting in 2 soft goals at the beginning of the game ,, Murray is Murray he’s not Roy or Brodur,, Brassaro did the same thing ,, Murray is always going to let in the soft goal !!!

bigchinook
bigchinook

Sometimes it’s better to let it go DK, than to double down, this is certainly one of those instances. Crosby is being a good captain for Murray, that’s really all there is to it.

cherokee23
cherokee23

This! BigChinook, right on!

Wild Bill
Wild Bill

It will be very interesting to see how well the Astros succeed at the plate this year, without the advantage they’ve been enjoying at home. Been wondering, but haven’t seen, stats on how they hit as a team, home vs away, the last couple years. I’m sure that’s been out there, but I’ve missed it. Some individual and postseason stats I’ve seen, but not the whole team.

DK219
DK219

Great photo from our friend, Sunday.

nicholasr1957
nicholasr1957

Thank you DK for clarifying the root issue…no one who ever played the game at any level or has any clue about the speed the sport comes at you would behave as some did on Sunday. I don’t think it was a pervasive crowd issue, but a few who instigated the ignorant to join in…and if anyone thinks we get to savor the back to back Cups without Matts play in those seasons is incorrect. The kid is very good goalie.

Zebug
Zebug

Correction, the kid WAS a GREAT goalie in those back to back Cups. He has taken a steep decline in his play since.

Robert Charlier
Robert Charlier

Terry Bradshaw was booed mercilessly in the early 70’s and I don’t remember Phil Musick spending consecutive columns writing about it. Booing can be exhilarating like the sound of 50,000 Cleveland Brown fans at the “mistake by the lake” booing the Steelers leaving the locker room and running on the field. Joe Green raising his fist in defiance. As Chris Matthews would say, it put a thrill up my leg.

tpbco
tpbco

And TB never forgot it. When he came back to be honored at half time years back, he brought his daughters…because as he said himself, he hoped that the Pittsburgh fans wouldn’t boo him if his daughters were there. Obviously, that’s not what happened, but it was telling that he still thought that way 30 years after he retired and qb’d the team to 4 Super Bowls and NFL history.

Caution: Not Fragile
Caution: Not Fragile

I’m all for any site that promotes the Fred Rogers example of how we should treat others. Hopefully the staff will apply that standard in all future opinion pieces, game feeds and Q & A. The blanket shot at Philly fans leads me to believe there remains work to be done.

timcostello1
timcostello1

“It’s who they are.” Such an ironic statement.

Bisonbuff
Bisonbuff

Sort of hard not to like Capel and this ACC hoops stuff. Sort of a no brainer for it to be covered in some capacity at the home of Pittsburgh Sports.

timcostello1
timcostello1

Booing: A Memoir

PucknutZ
PucknutZ

Ha. Exactly.

Kevin Connors
Kevin Connors

DK – How long can Jeff Capel possibly stay at Pitt? Won’t he be a front-runner to fill the vacancy when Coach K or someone at a similar. Huge program moves on in a couple of years? So then, how does Pitt get the be “great”? Thanks. Kevin

jhaugjr
jhaugjr

If you want to know how far back the use of buzzers goes, the answer is 1910 or so. The Phillies were caught sending signals to the third base coach when someone got shocked on a rainy day. It’s part of the reason why the owner was barred a few years later

tkelley70
tkelley70

I’m pretty sure Murray has been booed before. I doubt it bothers him much. I think the real issue is he can feel the fans turning on him because of Jarry. Whether he plays in Pittsburgh or not he’ll be enjoying his $7,000,000 a year. He has a good 10 years left on his career. Leaving Pittsburgh at the end of Crosby and Malkin might be a career saver.

nightsky73144
nightsky73144

If he gets 7 million a year, I DO hope he’s enjoying it ELSEWHERE…because even great goalies do not win a Cup alone. I mean, I think the previous two Cup winners’ goalies (Holtby and Bennington) honestly each deserved the Smythe…but they certainly did not do ALL (or even most) of the work, and played behind really talented, really solid teams. What a team needs is a reliable, mostly consistent, solid, good goalie, and it’s best not to overpay that goalie.

Kev66
Kev66

“ I’ll take educated booing any day of the week in any setting, even if it blasts a Pittsburgh team or Pittsburgh player. But damn, make it about something that’s real.”

so being pissed off that the team came out flat and was down 0-3 in a huge game before you had time to settle into your seat is not real? The goaltender took the brunt of it, certainly. maybe unfairly, but let’s not dismiss that fans were booing more than murray, even it was by mocking him.

I am not a booer, but let’s lay off the preachy “this is a learning experience and hopefully we can all educate ourselves and become better fans from it”

The team came out flat. They sucked. Fans let them hear it. End of story. Recognizing that the players themselves brought it up, this is the most over discussed topic I can remember,

MT
MT

This.

OnLikeDonkeyKong
OnLikeDonkeyKong

Once again, people are talking right past each other, due in large part to conflating what you mentioned, booing a team, and what DK and others are criticizing, which was a specific sarcastic cheer of a goalie after a save on a center ice dump in.

I think that most agree that boos raining down on a flat team are more acceptable to more people than specific Bronx cheers like we saw Sunday. Can we at least partake in the discussion from this general agreement?

Kev66
Kev66

The booing of murray, the mock cheer, whatever you want to call it, was a product of a frustration with the team as a whole. It just was. The players and media are making more of it than anyone should.

Pat G
Pat G

But why on EARTH would people be frustrated with this team as a whole? Look at the standings! Look at what they’ve accomplished so far this season despite all the adversity they faced. Don’t you think this team deserves just a sliver of the benefit of the doubt if they happen to start a game poorly?

The amount of spoiled entitlement within this fan base is just shocking.

MT
MT

They’re not frustrated with the team as a whole (I don’t think so anyway). They’re frustrated in the moment, when it’s 2 minutes into the game and the Pens are down by 2.
Spoiled? yes.
Unappreciative, no.

Vincepens
Vincepens

Back in the day Bronx cheers were reserved for the opponents goalie, not you own. That is my issue with it.

Pat G
Pat G

Or Bronx cheers are reserved for your own team when they deserve it. Such as a team that’s underachieving with the talent at hand, or a team that’s never won a thing. That is not this team. Not even close. When they start a game off poorly, they’ve earned some benefit of the doubt.

timcostello1
timcostello1

What you said.

spe143
spe143

Oh now come on! What’s you said is 100% logical but the Pittsburgh media is collectively frothing at the mouth being able to write and talk about this “controversy”. Maybe we should just let them have their minute in the sun until AB does something stupid again (soon I’m sure) and then they’ll pivot back to him.

karbil2
karbil2

Wow 2 hand slam dunk! Right on!

cherokee23
cherokee23

An argument could be made that the fans jeering Murray are educated. They are certainly aware of his struggles the past 2 1/2 seasons and quite frankly it’s probably a surprise this hasn’t happened sooner

Pat G
Pat G

Sorry, I still think the jeers on Sunday were absolutely uncalled for. It’s not like this team hasn’t produced in years, or even was in the middle of a lengthy losing streak. This is a team that’s battled their way to the top 5 in the NHL missing a third of their salary cap. A team that’s delivered TWO championships in the last 4 years. This is NOT a team that deserves to get booed just because they started the first couple minutes of a game poorly. Be better than that.

This just shows you how spoiled rotten the Penguins crowd is. I guarantee you all those people doing the booing and mocking the team never bought a ticket before Crosby showed up in Pittsburgh, and won’t be buying tickets anymore after he’s gone. They are a bunch of bandwagon, front-running jerks. Based on the positive reaction all the booers are getting, that unfortunately describes too large a portion of this fanbase.

IamMcLovin
IamMcLovin

I don’t think you could blow this non story any more out of proportion. It’s professional sports. Happens all the damn time. Who cares?

MattA
MattA

With each article DK Sports posts, large proportions of the subscriber comments swarm upon the goalie position, or the blame game in general. It’s like clockwork, for better or for worse. (Maybe that’s just the nature of all comments sections.). So when Sid brings up the fans-goalie subject, unprompted, it’s a great opportunity to address the matter.

WBSfan
WBSfan

From all the comments, I would guess that a LOT of people do.

frankgrocks
frankgrocks

I hope a LOT more Astros stuff comes to light.

cherokee23
cherokee23

I noticed ATT sports was replaying a Pirates at Astros game last night😀

Giada’s Monchichi
Giada’s Monchichi

The picture of Matt Murray above is undeniably a classic. Especially in the moment. “Ya‘ll think I suck huh? I’ll show ya”. Praise the lord.

BigFiddy
BigFiddy

Before the season I had Pitt beating Miami and wake and losing to NC twice to this point.
With 14 to go they have a chance, albeit small of getting to 20 wins. Two years ago they won 6. Last year 14. Capel will have them in the dance next season. Terrific work.

mamsix
mamsix

There is (to me) a cognitive dissonance between people saying, “He’s a great goaltender, he won two Stanley cups!!111” and then saying “How dare they get on him for giving up 2 goals in 3 shots, it wasn’t his fault!!!” .

If he is the greatest goaltender since Dryden, then I think it is fair game for people to get on him when he isn’t meeting that expectation. Paraphrasing something Dejan has said in the past, sometimes you need your goalie to just make a save. Murray didn’t do that early on, and let’s be honest – he has given up some soft goals in recent memory, and he almost coughed one up in an awful blunder before that second goal.

If he is just a very good goaltender (which is what I happen to think), then sure, people should give him a break for not being able to bail the team out of an atrocious breakdown. But in that case, please stop making it sound like he was the only reason the Penguins won the last two Stanley cups.

HbgPittsburghFan
HbgPittsburghFan

I completely agree with this. Fans are hard on Murray because he hasn’t “made a big save” or even stolen a game for quite a while. Just make a save! Bail your team out! Goalies are allowed to do that…

I’m a Penguins fan. I care about the logo. And yea I do have my favorite players. But I look to the team first. Murray is a good goalie. Jarry is a good goalie. It’s a blessing to have BOTH. Let’s not forget a solid DeSmith in the minors too. My complaint about Murray is his tendency to allow the super soft goal. Look back at the flip from behind the blue line a few games ago. My Bruins fan friend asked why I was annoyed by that goal. I told him that Murray doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt anymore. Yes he won two Cups but so did the rest of the team! I’ll cheer for Murray but I’ll also recognize he has some issues to work out. He’s not a Hasek, Roy, Dryden, etc… but who is?!?!

Christopher Rossetti
Christopher Rossetti

I guess I just don’t care if some fans boo and others don’t … To each his own. They all paid really good money to get in. The backup goalie and QB will always be loved more in Pittsburgh than the starter. It is who the Pittsburgh fan is at the end of the day.

Rainmanoly
Rainmanoly

I get ya DK. I have zero problem with educated booing, but don’t punk the guy that won ya two Cups.

mamsix
mamsix

In your opinion, what is the statute of limitations on not getting ‘punked’? Is he a made man forever? Is it until he has a sub .900 Sv% season? Is it until he costs them a playoff series or two?

I am not being hostile, I am just curious if you feel that he should be above mockery forever for those two cups. And if so, does that extend to all the other members of those teams?

**EDIT: I am not implying that he WILL cost us a playoff series or anything like that. I just mean, ‘what if’.

Donnie
Donnie

I don’t think they were punking Murray. Just maybe a little frustrated at the early deficit.

Rainmanoly
Rainmanoly

I dunno guys, I wasn’t there. Judging by the responses, I just can’t imagine we are talking about the same thing.

Last time I flew home, a couple of years ago, my son and I got tickets and went to a New Year’s Eve game. The Pens were already on break. They were terrible. I think they lost 7-1. The Pens got booed that night. There was no outrage. They deserved it.

Shrug – That’s why I am assuming something else happened. This is a dumb topic. Without knowing what truly set people off, or without knowing if they are just being babies, I can’t imagine this being a topic worth talking about.

mamsix
mamsix

I wasn’t criticizing you Rainmanoly, I was just curious what other people’s opinion was, since it was a slow news day 🙂

Rainmanoly
Rainmanoly

No worries, I just think something happened that we aren’t being told. They don’t want to let people know exactly what upset him. Don’t give folks a button to push.

bwzimmerman
bwzimmerman

Okay Capel, you have my curiosity…

SCOTT M - LCD
SCOTT M - LCD

When the players start paying the fans to be fans the maybe their opinion might be taken under consideration. Until then, they can shut up and play. Don’t like negative feedback? Play better.

I’m also still trying to find this “Rule Book For Good Fans” that DK, Sid, Geno, and a whole host of others keep quoting from. The one that says fans are stupid and don’t know the sport when they openly express displeasure with play (that’s what DK is saying). The one that also gives carte blanche to be judgemental about people when they openly chastise a player, saying they must be bad people all around for being so mean. You know, the holier than thou, I know more than you so what you’re doing is wrong.

Trying to silence folks who are invested in the success of the team by calling them stupid and calling them bad people is ludicrous. Trying to tell them when they are and aren’t allowed to express their displeasure is insulting.

Jellydonutz
Jellydonutz

Trying to silence?? Man you ARE a part of the stupid category, apparently. Here’s a little piece of inside information for ya. NOBODY cares about you. If you go away nobody will notice or miss you. If you want to boo for irrational or illogical reasons that’s on you.

MT
MT

Uh oh, that darn S word. It makes you look really…s…
silly.

jbwls
jbwls

So what can we expect from DK and the staff during the upcoming lull?

Ungy
Ungy

Love these Grind columns. Always lots of good, thought-provoking stuff! Thanks, DK!

Sisyphus
Sisyphus

Speaking of market sizes, I’d have included San Francisco in that list. While it is the 12th largest metro area in the U.S., that metro area has two teams until the Raiders move. Dividing the market into two makes it the 26th largest metro area in the U.S., just ahead of Sacramento and Pittsburgh.

On the other hand, Sacramento is only about an hour and a half drive away, now that I think about it. That metro area’s population adds another 2.3 million to the market if you include it. Oh well, I looked all that up and typed it, so I’ll leave the post in anyway.

tkelley70
tkelley70

I don’t think Metro goes as far as 90 minutes away or my city of Kalamazoo would be metro Detroit and Chicago. 😀

SeanAY
SeanAY

Man I miss Kalamazoo. Great, great place.

That’s all I got.

TomPaulBillyBob
TomPaulBillyBob

DC to Baltimore is 1 hour — 2 markets, 2 metro areas and 2 teams ….. clearly I must be missing the point in all this

Putter
Putter

OY. The Pens gave up 2 goals in 5 minutes. Everyone saw how they went in. The faux cheers were directed at the TEAM. Stop writing about it. The team sucked and HCMS agreed. Helluva comeback! Proud to be a fan!

iglooz
iglooz

I was there. The jeers were directed at Matt Murray. Unfortunately for him, he gets punished for not being Fleury.

rcyphert
rcyphert

And he never will be.

edseversonIII
edseversonIII

Remember that time that Fleury couldn’t stop a beach ball from going in the net and had to see a sports psychologist to get right. And then he didnt win another cup until someone stole his net.

DJ
DJ

Yes, the summer right after he was last seen banging his head on a cinderblock wall in the bowels of Nassau Coliseum.

How soon we forget —

MT
MT

And no one chided the fans for booing him. Remember that?

DJ
DJ

We were more knowledgeable then, MT.

That was a justified type of booing — 😉

MT
MT

Got it LOL