I did end up at the Pens vs. Canadiens game on November 10. A friend of mine happens to be the team's head of season ticketing and graciously allowed me to use her seats for the night. I took along my 15-year-old sister, who is totally obsessed with Sidney Crosby, our new rookie.
We walked in just as they were getting ready to sing the anthems, and as the soloist sang the opening bars of O, Canada, some idiot sitting across the aisle from me starts booing. What was he booing, exactly? The song lyrics? Maybe he's just not a fan of Molson Light. Whatever his motivation, he should keep in mind that the time to display poor sportsmanship is during the actual sport.
I managed to promptly embarrass my sister by screaming loudly, "Allez, Thibault!" when our goalie took the ice. She told me to quit cheering in French, and I told her that I was just trying to say his name the right way. I was secretly proud of being dubbed the "embarrassing older sister" when, two nights later, I caught her cheering in French at the TV screen.
Later in the game, the camera operators thought it would be funny to show a Canadiens fan on the jumbotron next to a picture of Pepe Le Pew. It was amusing, especially when people started booing and the idiot from across the aisle yelled loudly, "Goddamn French!" It was just too funny for me to get upset. The guy had had at least 6 beers by that point and was regaling us with his oh-so-tastefully chosen soundbytes every few seconds.
It was a great game...I actually had fun. I'm contemplating attending another one in the near future. I guess you could say I've been bitten by the bug...
Photo: Jocelyn Thibault, goalie for the Pittsburgh Penguins, salutes the fans after successfully fending off the Canadiens during a dramatic shoot-out on November 10. Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and taken by Peter Diana.