Talk about frustrating.
The Penguins fans in the house - and that's everyone - felt really good after watching the first period of last night's game against the hated Philadelphia Flyers. True, the Pens failed to score despite numerous opportunities but we were certain a team that got off so many shots would be victorious.
Then shortly into the second period, the picture went out. What sort of bad omen was this? First we wondered if it just was our TV or our cable provider - perhaps we were the only ones with the jinx. As we know now, everyone was affected by the transmission problem blamed on a lightening strike at FSN's technical operations facility in Atlanta. All of the fans watching on TV were jinxed.
We stared at the blank screen for several minutes, consoling ourselves that at least we weren't sitting outside Mellon Arena in the cold, looking at a very large blank screen. Then we turned on the radio.
We were able to picture most of the plays for ourselves thanks to Mike Lange's colorful descriptions, but that also meant we had to picture Philadelphia taking a 1-0 lead and we didn't get to see Evgeni Malkin's kicking motion that disallowed a quick comeback.
When the picture finally did come back, 30 minutes later, it did so in fits and starts at first, then completely but without any sound. No problem. With Mike Lange on the radio, we figured we could listen to him and watch the TV.
That's when we learned that the TV broadcast was coming in a few seconds behind the play, and behind Lange's play-by-play. We found out that nothing takes the excitement out of a three-man rush toward Flyers' goaltender Martin Biron like knowing the shot went wide. A few seconds was too long a time. We turned off the radio and watched the game in silence.
Hockey fans are a superstitious bunch, and last night's events certainly reinforced those silly fears. Clearly, the team must feed off the energy of the fans watching the game from home as much as they can from fans inside the arena.
Tomorrow, we intend to be a factor. We'll sit in the same places on the couch that we occupied during Tuesday night's 3-1 victory in Philadelphia. We'll eat the same snacks. We won't turn on the radio. And FSN had better not mess with us again.