With all the hubbub on social media/local talk radio over the past few days about the Penguins shitting the bed so far this season (update: they will be fine), I figured we’d take it back to the last time the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise was truly dog shit. I’m talking about a time when there was absolutely zero hope in sight. A time when the Penguins literally couldn’t give tickets away for free. A time when (not that long ago) Penguins fans still hadn’t even heard the names Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin yet (you’re lying through your teeth if you say you did).
My friends, I’m talking about a little something called *EXTREMELY DEEP AND SLIGHTLY INTIMIDATING MACHO VOICE* “The X Generation.”
But before we go any further, you must first watch these promo videos to get into the true spirit of The X Generation (you may also want to envision the team being two years removed from making an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals and employing players on their roster that encompassed more staying power than Ariana Grande’s bridal registry).
Fata, Koltsov, Caron, McKenna*, Holzinger, Abid, Bradley, Caron (again), Coach Olcyzk, Eastwood, Murley, Berehowsky, Melichar. If those names don’t get it to move, then there’s something wrong with you.
But wait, there’s more!
A few takeaways from those last three promo videos:
- Kids 16 and under got into games for only $10 for the entire 2003-2004 season. Compare that to 2018 where parents can’t even get their spoiled brat kids into PPG Paints Arena without forking over AT LEAST $100 a pop (and no, I’m not taking into account student rush tickets).
- There were a stretch of games in the season where you could buy a mini ticket package to go see the Penguins play Colorado, Philly, and Ottawa for as cheap as $120 for all three games. And here’s the catch – you received a free ticket for any of those games the Penguins won (spoiler alert: they lost all three of those games. Please join me in sending thoughts and prayers for those fans who purchased that package).
- There’s a very high probability that the voiceover guy easily bench presses over 400 pounds and also possibly banged your mother.
- The ice did not, in fact, burn that year. Sad.
So now that you’re all fired up over watching those X Generation videos, here are a few highlights from the Pittsburgh Penguins 2003-2004 regular season:
- The Penguins finished the season with a league-worst 58 points, tallying a record of 23-47-8-4 (shoutout to ties lol).
- From January 8th to February 22nd, the Penguins lost 18 (EIGHTEEN!) games in a row. In retrospect, brilliant strategy by the sales team to incentivize fans to buy that mini ticket package referenced above (which just so happened to occur during that stretch of games).
- Dick Tarnstrom, a defenseman, led the team in points with 52 (Mario Lemieux only played ten games that season).
- Marc-Andre Fleury made his rookie debut at the spry age of 18 years old. He posted a SV% of .896 and a GAA of 3.64 in 21 games. Update: his SV% this year is .895 after 15 games played. Not great!
- Head Coach Rick Kehoe said fuck it and resigned before the season even started. Good decision!
So what’s the moral of the story here? Be grateful that the Penguins don’t truly suck ass anymore like they used to during that brief stretch of time from 2001-2006. In fact, they’ve been #good over the past 12 years and change. 12 consecutive playoff appearances, four Stanley Cup Final appearances, three Cups. And the list goes on and on. So step away from the keyboard, turn down the Mark Madden, and shut the fuck up. Enjoy it now because it won’t last much longer.
*steps off soapbox.*
P.S. – I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention this picture that I used in the headline.
You can’t tell me if you just saw a picture of these six guys without the hockey graphics that you wouldn’t think this was a promo for some shitty ass band opening up for Creed at the 2003 Warped Tour.
P.P.S. – I legit have no fucking clue who this guy is, but it’s safe to say this is the most Harry Potter looking villain I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
P.P.P.S. – You’re dead wrong if you don’t think I at least tried to call 1-800-642-PENS. Little did I know this is still the number for the Penguins ticketing department. #SaluteToService to me.