The Pittsburgh Penguins held a public practice Thursday night for fans in place of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Fans who paid for tickets to Game 5 were allowed to come to the PPG Paint Arena in Pittsburgh and watch the Penguins practice. This came immediately after the entire Nashville Predators team was declared missing following Game 4 Monday night in Nashville.
In order to make the event more immersive for fans, the Penguins had 22 random fans come down and have practice scrimmages with the Penguins players.
“Yeah, it was really nice honestly. We got to mess around a little bit, and the fans seemed to enjoy themselves,” said Sidney Crosby after practice, “We had some spare Preds gear laying around the arena, so we just had the fans put those on. It was cool to have a nice, stress-free time on the ice.”
Despite playing against amateurs in the practice, the Penguins captain admitted he wished he could’ve played the actual Predators.
“It’s just a little disappointing. I would’ve liked to have seen the actual Predators on the ice tonight. It definitely would’ve been a competitive game, super close, totally not over after 5 minutes.”
The NHL considered canceling the game and focusing their efforts on locating the missing Predators team, but ultimately decided that showcasing their marquee team was more important.
“I mean it’s really a blessing in disguise,” said a smirking Gary Bettman after the game, “Now we can devote all of our time to marketing the Penguins rather than worrying about that pesky little small market team.”
Bettman admitted the NHL considered some alternate options.
“We considered calling up the Chicago Blackhawks to ask them to play instead. I mean their loss against Nashville was obviously a fluke anyway, so we may as well give ’em their due,” he continued, “We also considered just canceling the game outright, but I couldn’t do that. There’s nothing more disappointing to me than not putting on hockey games. I would never want that.”
The Predators’ absence from Game 5 was not nearly enough to deter NBC analyst Mike Milbury from blaming the situation on Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban.
“I gotta tell ya, this guy’s not a real winner! If he was a real team player, he woulda shown up. This whole situation is a complete joke, and it’s all his fault!” he exclaimed on-air as he and fellow analyst Keith Jones made finger paintings on the walls of the NBC studio.
Milbury wasn’t the only angry hockey man to put the blame on Subban either. Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry had some choice words as well.
“Lemme tell ya — watch it — you see Sbarro, the pizza guy, out there! But he — watch it — he’s not there. He’s off doin’ a thing! With a thing! And I tell ya! I bet he’s out there with that Lalongo guy and the Peter Forsberg guy! I tell ya, them good ‘ol Ontariah boys would NEVER put up with that!” he exclaimed to a cloud in the sky in downtown Kingston, Ontario as a confused Ron Maclean stood uncomfortably close to him.
Our sources have reason to believe neither Cherry nor Milbury can actually name another player on the Predators roster.
Game 6 is expected to go on as planned in Nashville Sunday night. If the Predators team still hasn’t been found by then, the NHL plans to assemble a team made entirely of catfish to play the Penguins. League officials have said it’s an effort to make the Penguins seem less annoying and overexposed by comparison.