You would have thought the Pittsburgh Penguins were a returning P.O.W and Pittsburgh fans were that P.O.W's family the way everyone showed up to greet the team for its 2012/2013 home-opener this past Wednesday night at the Consol Energy Center.
Of course, the 2012 portion of the current campaign had to be wiped off the schedule because of a work-stoppage that lasted until January 19th. Therefore, some might say the fans were like that all-too forgiving spouse after being the victim of a extra-marital affair.
Actually, that's a bit unfair of me. I get where Penguins fans were coming from with their yearning for hockey to resume after such a long layoff. I could never understand the fans who permanently walk away from a sport after a lockout or strike.
Major professional sports leagues have unions, and unions have collective bargaining agreements, and sometimes, when there is a disagreement with that agreement, work-stoppages happen.
I realize that, to your average hard-working fan, millionaires fighting with billionaires over how to divide their enormous, gigantic money pie can be a huge turnoff, but if you really love a sport, can a work-stoppage (even one that cancels an entire season) really turn you off to the point where you refuse to ever watch again?
If so, I have to question your fan-hood.
Anyway, that was a huge digression from the topic.
The Penguins started off 2-0 after victories in Philadelphia and New York last weekend, and there was that above-mentioned anticipation for game number three. Only problem was, Pittsburgh laid a huge egg and dropped the home-opener to the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 5-2.
Friday night, the Penguins fell at Winnipeg and are now 2-2 on the season.
Does this mean it's time to panic? No, but by the emotional highs and lows that hockey fans have been experiencing this week, you'd think so.
I think if the Penguins' start to the season has taught us anything, it's that the NHL is a marathon, not a sprint.
You hockey fans out there, if you don't cool it, you're going to burn yourselves out by March.