The Pittsburgh Penguins have long had a strong and supportive fanbase - and while that remains true today, something seems to have changed, as noticed and documented by Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now.
"Saturday night, thein the third period but the exits were full," Kingerski wrote. "When Phil Kessel scored with seven minutes remaining, the goal celebration was not 18,000 fans cheering–it was 8,000 fans cheering and 6,000 fans grabbing their coats.
"3,000-4,000 had already left."
It's common practice for fans to leave a minute or two early - especially when the score is decided and it becomes just a question of the clock striking zero. But for fans to leave that early, and in general leave regardless of the score - seems "un-Pittsburgh-like".
This is a picture of the arena with over 5 minutes left to play. If we didn't know any better, this could be a game in Carolina or Florida. Definitely not the atmosphere one would expect in Pittsburgh, on a Saturday night, no less.
Fans are regularly leaving by the thousands way too early, and while it would be understandable if the team was playing badly, it makes no sense right now as they are playing some of their best hockey of the season, stringing along several consecutive victories.
Everyone is entitled to come and go as they please, but it definitely doesn't look good on the organization in highlight packages when the arena looks more than half empty.