With the Penguins in decline, critics bemoan empty seats at PPG Paints Arena by saying, “YOU GOTTA WIN! THAT’S WHY PEOPLE DON’T GO!” 

But the Penguins have sold nearly 98 percent of their tickets this season. There is no drop in attendance.

Not yet. It’s the “not yet” that’s scary. As in season-ticket sales moving forward.

There were lots of no-shows when the Penguins hosted Columbus on Tuesday. I went, and I regretted it. Bad game between two bad teams. I barely paid attention. Excrement show at the coitus factory.

But Alex Ovechkin is in town tonight, Connor McDavid on Sunday. 

The Pirates never win, and their attendance went up by nearly 400.000 last season. I guess the Pirates don’t “GOTTA WIN!”

That’s convenient, because they never will. 

Going to a Pirates game isn’t positioned as being a competitive exercise. They don't "GOTTA WIN!" It’s just a fun night out at the ballpark. 

Isn’t it possible to have a fun night out at the hockey rink? Why do the Penguins “GOTTA WIN!” but the Pirates don’t? 

The Penguins will compete for a championship again before the Pirates legitimately do. That’s because the Penguins want to, and the Pirates don’t care.

The Penguins won for a long time, too. Shouldn't that earn loyalty and patience?

Meantime, here’s how to enjoy Penguins games. 

*Appreciate Sidney Crosby. He’s still great, and they only made one. 

*Appreciate subplots, like Sid vs. Ovie tonight and Sid vs. McJesus on Sunday. 

*Look at the standings and lie to yourself. Forget that the loser point makes gaining ground difficult, and that the Penguins have too many teams to jump over. Cling to mathematical potential. Every win is a new beginning 'til the math runs dry. 

*Every loss might mean a better draft pick. Lemieux, Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Letang, Guentzel...the Penguins drafted them all. 

*Have a fun night out at the hockey rink. 


*Join me at the Cambria Hotel right next to PPG Paints Arena when I do my show 3-6 p.m. today prior to the Penguins hosting the Capitals. The Penguins might miss the playoffs, but we intend to party down. 

Pittsburgh Penguins v Seattle Kraken

Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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