Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
You want living proof that the clever marketing of one player can send a team surging to success?
In the final year before the NHL lockout (2003-04), the Pittsburgh Penguins had the worst attendance figure in the NHL: a paltry 11,877 fans per game.
Since Pittsburgh drafted Sidney Crosby, he's become the media darling of the NHL and new hockey fans have been more or less bombarded with the boys from the Steel City on a daily basis.
Since the NHL began broadcasting a "Game of the Week" on NBC, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been a candidate to be one of the two teams shown more than any other team, have appeared the league-mandated maximum four times each year and are the only team to have appeared in two Winter Classic events, arguably the NHL's premier regular season game.
They won a Stanley Cup in 2009, showing a new pinnacle of success, but arguably their national attention has brought about a fanbase that now stretches nationwide (with many of their non-local fans even having any connection to the city of Pittsburgh at all).
So what annoys me about Pittsburgh fans? While this certainly isn't true for all of them, a good chunk of their following only became such because they were so heavily bombarded with Penguins stuff in the national media that they really weren't even given a chance to become a fan of another team.
Seriously...have you seen how many articles there are per day simply saying "Sidney Crosby is still hurt and we don't know when he's coming back," even over summer?!
We get that you're all behind your best player, but for crying out loud it'd be nice if the NHL would show some other team besides you guys, the Capitals and the Rangers for once.
P.S. Those baby blue alternate jerseys you wore for a few years are hideous and you know it. Quit defending them.