It is not every day that you hear a player in the National Hockey League call out his own fan base, and it is even more rare to see a star player at the level of Pittsburgh Penguin forward Evgeni Malkin do so. That is exactly what went down however after an improbable comeback victory for the Penguins over the weekend.
Penguins goaltender had a rough start to the Penguins matchup against the Boston Bruins over the weekend, allowing the Bruins to get out to an early 3 - 0 lead over his Penguins. So quickly did the Bruins make it appear as though the game was out of reach that the fans in Pittsburgh began to turn on their own team, with veteran goaltender and two time Stanley cup Champion Matt Murray probably getting the worst of it. After all it was Murray who allowed those 3 goals to cross the goal line and when he did finally make a save the fans in Pittsburgh let him have it.
The crowd his Matt Murray with a Bronx cheer, the kind of cheering that sounds flattering to the ear but that is anything but. Fans were clearly applauding the fact that Murray had made the save, no matter how routine it was, and they continued to do this over 4 separate occasions throughout the game.
To his credit following the game Murray refused to complain or so much as even comment about the reaction from his fans. This was likely the result of Murray being both a diplomatic and patient human being, but not everyone in the Penguins locker room felt the same way. The aforementioned Evgeni Malkin overheard the reporters asking those questions and he was not about to let those type of questions, or the havior from his fans, slide.
“It was stupid,” said Malkin as per The Athletic.
Fans in Pittsburgh have thick skin and those comments from Malkin will have very little impact on the fan base. Malkin did however make a series of comments in which he compared the modern day Penguins fans to the fans in the building when the Philadelphia Flyers play at home.
“I’m not understanding our fans. Muzz won two Cups for us. You boo him — why? If you come to the arena, support our team. All of us. We try. We play so hard this year. We work so hard through injuries. We play good hockey. Maybe not last couple games, not early this game. But we try.
“I understand: You pay money for ticket, you do what you want. But it’s tough to sit on bench and hear that. I don’t like it. We hear that in Philly, not Pittsburgh.”