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Brother Karsh's Column for LetsGoPens.com

Welcome Home, Dr. Frankenstein

February 26, 2002

Congratulations, Doctor, and welcome back. You'll find your laboratory just the way you left it, sir. Your test tubes are all in a row, your beakers stored neatly, exactly as they should be, and all the Bunsen burners are turned off—just as they have been for most of the season. Everything, sir, is just as you saw it last, with one, minor exception.

You surely remember that creature you've spent so many years toiling on, the monster you made almost single-handedly? The one called "the Pittsburgh Penguins' fan-base"? Well, sir, this monster is, well, this monster is alive. It's also awake and it's not very happy, sir.

With all due respect, the problem seems to be that the creature believes you've abandoned it. Certainly nothing could be further from the truth, and assuredly this fan-base doesn't fully understand the decade and a half you spent working tirelessly, struggling assiduously to give it the life that it has. However, despite your personal, financial, and physical sacrifices to the cause, this monster is measurably disturbed by certain, recent events.

You see, this creature views the NHL playoffs quickly becoming a thing of the past for the Pittsburgh Penguins, which is confusing because you've taught Pittsburgh just how meaningless the regular season is in hockey. Thus, if the regular season means nothing, and the playoffs won't exist—well, you can see where the frustration begins.

Should the Penguins not have sleep-walked their way through so many half-hearted home efforts for so many years, perhaps this monster would be channeling its anger in a different direction, but that doesn't appear to be the case, sir.

Don't be mislead, Pittsburgh seems to understand the injuries, but the Penguins have been guilty of so many sad efforts this season that, should the playoffs not come about, this fan-base will have nothing to hold onto but your words about how Canada was your priority. You see, sir, the playoffs are slipping from sight and you don't seem to be doing much about it.

In fact, if you'll pardon the tone, you've appeared to be doing less than nothing about it. This fan-base sees you sitting out of crucial games, jetting off to Salt Lake City, talking about the Great White North being first on your mind, then letting your General Manager do the same while all the talent on the roster tries to put on a happy face because you're the boss; frankly, it doesn't sit so well. This fan-base sees these actions, hears the somewhat caustic words, and suddenly pitchforks become a hot commodity. Of course, this was your plan, sir, and undoubtedly you knew that such an approach would set a bridge or two ablaze, still there is growing concern.

Which is not to imply you haven't earned your congratulations, sir, you have, much more so than that sideshow, Wayne Gretzky, and all of his flailing buffoonery. So, too, should there be adulation for many of the Penguins. From Kovalev and Kasparaitis to Hrdina and Lang, all the players who represented their country deserve all the accolades available. Steve Latin, Herb Brooks, Craig Patrick and all the unsung staff members who made such administrative and coaching contributions possible with sacrifices of their own also deserve the thanks of their respective nations.

In fact, Craig Patrick and Herb Brooks may even deserve special consideration for taking a U.S. ice hockey team that was a national embarrassment in Japan and turning it into a second place finisher in Salt Lake. It's quite an accomplishment, especially when what one expected to hear about this team was not that they were graciously being draped with medals, but rather that they were razing their quarters (again) or turning a Utah 'drinking club' into lap-dance central before they burned it to the ground.

Nevertheless, these feats, impressive as they are, have a little to do with the creature you, sir, have waiting for you back in Pittsburgh. A creature, mind you, which you will need to help fund a new Igloo sooner than later, sir.

Please understand, this monster is restless, agitated, and it needs your attention as soon as possible. Right or wrong, this fan-base believes that you turned your back on it exactly when it needed you most. It's been fed precious more than words all season long, and it would appear, sir, that it's grown weary of them. At this point, you could apologize until you're blue in the face, but what this fan-base really appears to need right now is for you to put back on your lab coat and get back to work.

Whether that means lacing up the skates and putting points in the net or removing the daily doubt from the equation by stepping aside to heal, what this creature seems to require, sir, is your renewed dedication to the survival of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The fact is, without you and your efforts the Pittsburgh Penguins would probably not exist. But since they do, and since this current fan-base owes its existence almost entirely to you, it would seem that your hockey season is far from over. In short, it's your team and it's your fan-base. You created it, you neglected it, now it's up to you to fix it, sir.

Brother Karsh appears weekly at LGP.com and is currently studying Santeria in the hopes that the black arts can help catapult the Penguins back into the playoffs. Hey, whatever works. Also, for the record, Mario does not refer to Brother Karsh as 'Igor,' no matter what you've heard.

Back to Karsh's Column List


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