At least Evgeni Malkin understands he is not well-liked in Philadelphia, nor are his Penguins.
That is clear.
The three-time Stanley Cup champion Malkin was unhappy with Penguins fans Sunday when they sarcastically cheered Matt Murray for some saves after the goalie had allowed two markers in just over two minutes of a game against the Bruins. Murray, who has won two Cups with the Penguins, surrendered three goals in the first period of the game Pittsburgh eventually won, 4-3.
Malkin was annoyed by the mock cheers for the 25-year-old Murray.
Via a story by The Athletic's Rob Rossi, here's what Malkin said:
It was stupid.
I’m not understanding our fans. Muzz won two Cups for us. You boo him — why? If you come to the arena, support our team. All of us. We try. We play so hard this year. We work so hard through injuries. We play good hockey. Maybe not last couple games, not early this game. But we try.
I understand: You pay money for ticket, you do what you want. But it’s tough to sit on bench and hear that. I don’t like it. We hear that in Philly, not Pittsburgh.
What Malkin likely meant by his Philly comment was that the Penguins expect to be jeered in Philadelphia by the rival fans, but not by their home fans in their own building.
That irked the 33-year-old Malkin, who has played in Pittsburgh his entire 14-year career. Malkin was sticking up for a teammate, which anyone can respect.
What's also clear is Malkin probably wouldn't love playing in Philly full-time. Everybody knows the city's tough love with its sports teams. Boos are expected when expectations aren't met.
Carter Hart put it well in December:
“Sure, they get on us when we’re not playing well, but as an athlete in a big sports market, what more could you ask for?” Hart said. “They’re loyal and they’re passionate.”
Maybe Flyers fans will sarcastically cheer Malkin Tuesday night. You've got to love their creativity.
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