Penguins Re-Sign Taffe, Crosby's ESPY, Journalist Calls Fans "Knuckleheads"

WoooooSenior Writer IJuly 21, 2008

The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed center Jeff Taffe to a one-year contact.

Taffe played in 45 games for the Penguins last season, registering five goals and seven assists. Taffe also posted 21 points in 27 games with the Penguins' AHL affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton.

With the recent off-season exodus of Malone, Roberts, Hall, and Ruutu, Taffe should fill the role of a role-playing center on the fourth line for the Pens.

Taffe got the NHL experience, thanks in large part to injuries that plagued the Penguins' lineup throughout the 07-08 season, that have made him a valuable asset to the teams' fourth line.

The Penguins also renewed contracts with two AHL'ers, Jonathan Filewich and Paul Bissonnette.

On Sunday night, Sidney Crosby won the ESPY award as the NHL's best player last season. In a surprising snub to Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin, Crosby won the award despite missing 29 games last season.

Crosby shared the scoring lead with Henrik Zetterberg (who played two more games than Crosby) during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, registering 27 points in 20 games, and led the Penguins to the Finals for the first time since 1992.

This year marked the second consecutive year that Crosby won the ESPY as the NHL's best player.

Despite the injury, Crosby average 1.36 points per game during the regular season, .01 less than scoring champion Alex Ovechkin.

The biggest buzz around the Penguins this week has come from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer, Bob Smizik.

In an article entitled "Knuckleheads can't wait to boo traitor Hossa", Smizik had this to say about Penguins' fans: "In Philadelphia, it has been written and said, the fans are so nasty they boo Santa Claus. Philadelphia has nothing on Pittsburgh."

Smizik went on to remind readers of Penguins' fans continuously booing former captain Jaromir Jagr since his departure from the 'Burgh.

Has Smizik forgotten that Jagr was quoted saying "Pittsburgh makes me feel like I am dying alive"? Surely such a comment is not grounds for booing.

Smizik continues by pointing out that Pirates' fans boo former Pirate, Aramis Ramirez, who Smizik refers to as putting up "Clemente-like" numbers before his trade to the Chicago Cubs.

Take it from a lifelong Pittsburgh sports fan, Ramirez wasn't worthy to tie Clemente's cleats.

Now, Smizik says Penguins' fans are "rubbing their hands in glee with anticipation of Feb. 8 when they can show the world the depth of the Pittsburgh knucklehead population" by booing Marian Hossa in his return to the Igloo.

Hossa, who chose to leave Pittsburgh this offseason, justified his reasoning by basically telling the media that "Pittsburgh has a good team, but it's not good enough to win a championship. I'm going to Detroit because I think I can win a Cup there, something I won't ever accomplish in Pittsburgh."

Again, surely such a comment does not get under the skin of Penguins' fans, while arousing feelings of betrayal and deceit after Hossa made every effort to indicate his interest in signing a long-term deal only to sign for one-year with the very team that he watched hoist the Stanley Cup on his new home-ice.

Perhaps Smizik should take a timeout to remember just who it is that ensures he receives a paycheck every week: the people who buy the Post-Gazette, the people of Pittsburgh.

Without us "knuckleheads", Smizik would be washing cars somewhere on the North Shore for seven bucks an hour.

Let's Go Pens.

Article posted in full at: Experiencing the Evolution.