Cowher’s Favorite Team To Face Pens

I can admit when I’m wrong.

Three months ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins were floundering. They were in danger of missing the playoffs in a league where more than half the teams make the post season. They had terrible coaching, a terrible power play, and terrible goaltending. Things looked bleak at the Igloo and I jumped ship.

Then a miraculous turnaround happened. They made several smart trades, bringing in scoring help and veteran leadership. The got their top goalie back and healthy. And most importantly, they fired their inept idiot of a head coach and replaced him with a smart young guy who allows the team to play to their strengths.

Since Disco Dan Bylsma took the reins, the team has undergone a complete renaissance. They closed out the regular season by surging to the #4 overall seed. In the first round of the playoffs, they put the kibosh on the thuggish Philadelphia Flyers. Then, in a battle for the ages against the Washington Capitals, superstar Sidney Crosby showed everybody that he and not overhyped cheap shot artist Alexander Ovechkin was indisputably the best player on the planet.

Now in order to earn another shot at hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup, the Pens will face the Carolina Hurricanes. And among the 20,000 screaming rednecks who just discovered they had a hockey team five years ago will be the Hurricane’s biggest fan, Bill Cowher.

I make no secret of my affection for Coach Cowher. Hell, I named my site in his honor. However, his newfound allegiance to Carolina hockey is a bit perplexing. In 15 years coaching the Steelers, I don’t remember seeing him at one Pens or Pirates game. Now all of a sudden he’s a dyed in the wool hick from North Cackalacky when he in fact grew up in Crafton. Meh. If ringing some dorky siren is his idea of retirement fun, more power to him.  Though somebody really should tell him he looks like a jagoff.

I’ll throw my hat in with current coach Mike Tomlin, who has embraced our exciting Pens. Although I won’t lie, it pains me to see a good Yinzer like Cowher root for the enemy.  Let’s just hope when all is said and done, he, too, can admit when he’s wrong.

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  • WWWebb

    I take umbrage at your generalization about Hurricanes fans. There are a lot of long-time hockey fans who are transplants from Up North.

    I’m the opposite. I was an Atlanta Flames fan back in the late 70s and early 80s.

    I can’t say who will win this round, but I can say that it’s gonna be exciting and fun to watch.

    May the best team win.

  • chris

    That’s my point. If you’re a transplant, you should maintain loyalty to your hometown team.

    I do respect the fact you somehow became a diehard hockey fan in the Dirty South long before it was fashionable.

    Yes, I’m hoping for an exciting well-played series, as well. Best of luck to your team. They’ll need all the siren alarms they can get.

  • WWWebb

    Points to ponder when considering your hypothesis regarding transplant loyalty:

    1. My hometown team isn’t in my hometown any more.

    2. Atlanta hasn’t been my hometown since 1996.

    3. Raleigh isn’t my hometown any more (I’m in Flyers country) so I guess that’s one in your favor.

    Of course, given the choice between watching Flyers hockey and Hurricanes “heart attack” hockey (esp. during playoffs)– which would *you* choose?

  • chris

    Please use quotes when mentioning Flyers “hockey” since their thuggery on skates can only loosely be called that.

    As for the rest of your comment: point taken. I withdraw my previous statement and salute your superior taste in hockey clubs.

  • WWWebb

    I was just trying to be polite since I *do* live on their turf…that’s how I was raised, as they say in the South.

    One of my co-workers is a Pens fan; we have a bet going on who will win the Pittsburgh/Carolina series: lunch at the place of the winner’s choosing.

  • Leeeny

    Nice post, Chris, and WWWebb’s comments are valid too. Real fans don’t *have* to be longtime fans, even though most of them are. Usually you can flush the wagon-jumpers out with a well-aimed question or two. (Name three players who were on your team in the last three years but who aren’t there now. Name the starting goalie for your top farm club. How many players are on an NHL roster? …You get the idea.)

    But back to the main topic, which is a question about Cahr and his new gig as the Designated Noisemaker –

    Could he *possibly* be stupid enough to show up at a Canes home game this upcoming series, to do his siren gig against the Pens? Wouldn’t he become the Fredo Corleone of Pittsburgh if he did?

    I just hope he has the sense to keep to his own living room for the next two weeks. If he doesn’t – wow.

  • Leeeny

    Updating myself – check this story out:


    Allowing for it yet being Unofficial, it’s still… wow.

  • chris

    Leeeny – I have no problem with new fans. We’re all new fans at some point. But everybody knows the Southern NHL teams have very poor fanbases. Look at the attendance and/or tv rating figures for Tampa Bay, Florida, Atlanta, or Phoenix. Let’s see how many of those “Cane-iacs” stick around when the team plays poorly several years in a row.

    As for Cahr, I’m reading now that he has been asked to crank the siren for Game 3. I don’t want to become a hysterical yinzer and forget about the 15 great years he gave us but if he does his organ grinder monkey routine, he better stay out of Pittsburgh for the remainder of the series or he’ll get booed out of the building.

    Actually, if he does that, the Pens should recruit Tomlin to do something. That would be sweet.

  • Lori

    I just think it’s very disrespectful for Cowher to be so supportive of Carolina hockey when he reaped the benefits of the Steeler Nation for all those years. It’s loyalty and pride in Pittsburgh that makes Pittsburgh’s sports so great and without such an awesome fan base and the support of the city, Cowher would have not been nearly as successful. What’s even worse is that he grew up with the Pens and now he can’t even stay loyal for 3 years. It’s an insult to the Penguin’s players, fans, and owner.

  • chris

    Well said, Lori. I would’ve given anything to be able to read Mario’s mind when Cowher supposedly talked to him before his jack-in-the-box routine on Tuesday. I’m embarrassed to have my blog named after that turncoat, to be honest.