Through two games of the Stanley Cup Final, the big, breakout star of the series has been: Ictalurus Punctatus.
Yes, catfish. Dead catfish, to be precise. (Sorry, Jake Guentzel, but you’ll have to wait on national stardom.) Game 1 of the series featured a Predators fan hurling a deceased catfish onto the ice after the Penguins took an early lead.
The incident nearly inspired Nashville to a comeback victory until they were done in late in the third period by goaltender Pekka Rinne, who so far in the series has been a stinkier and more lifeless example of a bottom feeder. Goalurus Choketus, if you will.
But the fish did not save Nashville. It led to charges against the tosser (charges that were later dropped). It resulted in catfish-sale bans to those with Tennessee IDs. It made Jacob “Fish Crotch” Waddell think he could somehow criticize Penguins fans and their clean groins. It produced a pun-filled statement from Mayor Peduto that was so high on the dad humor that Matt Cullen and Ron Hainsey probably e-mailed it to everyone they know.
The iced fish probably even generated intellectual discussion on which kinds of dead creatures are socially acceptable to toss around in public: Octopi and catfish? Fine, apparently. Regular cats? Probably not. The severed heads of political leaders, even if fake? A definite no. And then Nashville lost Game 2 with nary a catfish making it out of anyone’s pants and onto the ice.
Now the series shifts from the home of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers to Nashville, a city along the mighty Cumberland River and another tributary of the Ohio. This fish tale will not be ending soon. Predators fans will surely litter the ice with the whiskered creatures at the first opportunity.
The question is: Will any Penguins fan in attendance throw anything on the Bridgestone Arena ice in order to exact revenge for the Game 1 catfishing of Pittsburgh?
Here are some ideas on things a Penguins fan could toss. However, before sharing this list, let it be known that it is for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. The Incline is not encouraging the hurling of any “instruments of crime.” And it definitely is not in favor of “disrupting meetings.” No one should try to run afoul of the law in the State of Tennessee. They don’t even let you import skunks there, so who knows what they might do to an out-of-stater who throws their local wildlife. All that said, here you go …
This is why Doc’s the best in the biz ? pic.twitter.com/aGCMEntAfk
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) June 1, 2017
Does everyone in Pittsburgh eat Primanti’s for every meal? No. But it’s kind of hard to capture Pittsburgh’s eclectic foodie scene by throwing a single item onto the ice. The Papa Bravas from täkō probably wouldn’t translate well in three seconds of national TV camera time. So fries it is. Even better: Fries wrapped around a catfish. Let the people of Nashville know how they should be eating those things.
James Neal bobblehead
For just $6.99 you can purchase this James Neal bobblehead and hurl it to the ice to let Neal know that he is worthless to Pittsburgh. For bonus points, hit James Neal in the knee with your throw. James Neal injuring James Neal with a cheapshot would be kind of perfect.
The fact that throwing hot dogs on the ice after every Phil Kessel goal isn’t already an NHL-wide practice is worse than the existence of Tom Wilson. So not only would filling the Bridgestone Arena ice with some steaming hot wieners be right and good, they’re a symbolic item you can pick up right inside the building. No underwear frank smuggling required.
What is covfefe? No one knows. So you could throw literally anything on the ice and claim it is covfefe.
(Note: This joke would have killed way back on Wednesday morning, which is 175 years ago in Internet time. Now? Not so much.)
Flowers for Flower
Gone but not forgotten, Marc-Andre.
A Carrie Underwood record
Not to go all hipster on you, but records are the best form of albums to hurl onto playing surfaces because they fly through the air like frisbees. And tossing an Underwood album out like trash would hurt the people of Nashville even more than telling them that Austin is the better music town or that all-denim outfits are dumb. You can up this one by scrawling a message on the cover of the album, as well.
“It looks like a Penguins fan has thrown a Carrie Underwood album on the ice, Pierre.”
“Yeah, Doc. And from down here I can see that written on the cover in giant marker are the words: ‘Bo Bice was better.’ That’s Bo Bice outta Huntsville, Alabama, Doc. Big voice on the kid.”
Pittsburghers are a kind people. Plus, Penguins fans need to be mindful of their global image after Donald Trump tried to blame the city for his decision to destroy the planet. So if Pekka Rinne gives up a few easy goals again, why not show some compassion and shower the ice with a catching glove and blocker? His don’t seem to be working well and giving him options is an act of mercy.
Your trump card
If those ideas don’t work for you and you want to truly cause mayhem at Bridgestone Arena, throw a recording contract on the ice. All 17,000 Nashville residents in attendance who think they’re the next country superstar will trample each other trying to get to it. That’s just good entertainment.
And now for one final disclaimer: Again, The Incline does not support you actually throwing anything on the ice in Nashville. Not necessarily because it could be illegal or get someone hurt. But because the cheapest Game 3 tickets are currently going for $1,000 each on StubHub. That’s a lot of cash to spend on an ejection, especially when you’ll need even more money to beat a charge of felony hot dog launching.