In one of the most Philly fan things ever, the rowdy rooters from the City of Brotherly Love took out their frustration with Sidney Crosby — whose Pittsburgh Penguins were booting the Flyers out of the playoffs with an 8-5 Game 6 win — by throwing things at him and his teammates Sunday afternoon. Stuff. Detritus. And beer cans.
Full, unquaffed cans of beer. [Sob.]
It was ugly — the kind of ugly activity that has dogged Philadelphia sports fans over the years — and it was an unfortunate display for a city trying to shake that unruly image. And it left Pittsburgh General Manager Jim Rutherford boiling mad as he watched at Wells Fargo Center.
“There were frustrated fans,” Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday. “They decided to waste their money and throw some things on the ice that they had already spent money on. I guess some of them have more money than brains.”
It was downright dangerous, too. NBC’s Pierre McGuire warned on the broadcast that there was “heavy artillery flying all over down here.” Of the cans that sailed over his head, he said: “Those have beer in them. It’s not like they’re empty, trust me.”
Crosby scored another point against Philly with his observation: “Those things were full. What a waste. Guess they have to be full to throw them that far.”
“Somebody could have gotten hurt,” said Rutherford, whose anger was directed at fans and not the Flyers. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense. The game’s over at that point.”
Two years ago, Flyers PA announcer Lou Nolan pleaded with fans to stop throwing their promotional light-up bracelets on the ice during a playoff loss to the Capitals. “This is Philly; this is not somewhere else in the NHL,” he said at the time (via Dan Steinberg). “Have some class.” As Steinberg recounted:
“Okay, those fans that were classless enough to throw these … next one that’s out there is going to cause us a minor penalty,” he said in mounting panic.
“Okay, those of you that have been throwing them, you’ve done it now!” poor Nolan finally said in agony. “Two-minute bench minor. Way to go.”
Nolan was left making a similar warning Sunday.
Maybe next time, Crosby can take a page out of Justin Verlander’s book. The Houston Astros pitcher had a fresh new way of responding to a heckler’s “you suck” taunts Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.
Verlander emerged from the dugout, turned to face the crowd and, with a smile on his face, held up pieces of paper on which were written:
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