Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

One of the best moments of this year’s NHL draft was when George McPhee stepped up to the podium to make the first of his draft picks and was roundly booed by Pittsburgh Penguin fans. McPhee responded to the crowd with some sass, “Thank you, Pittsburgh. We’re touched. Thank you.”

Forsberg hugs his dad while Pens fans boo in the background.

Despite the heckling, McPhee somehow found the composure to draft Swedish forward Filip Forsberg with the eleventh overall pick.

Forsberg, sitting alongside his father, mother, younger brother, and two agents, was overjoyed upon hearing McPhee, exchanging hugs with his family and friends. Meanwhile, as he walked down to greet the Caps caravan and get his first ever NHL jersey, the boos — now somewhat softer — rained down from the crowd.

Forsberg did not understand why.

At the final day of Development Camp on Saturday, I asked him about the boos.

“That was a bit surprising,” a smiling Forsberg said of the hissing yinzers. “I heard a lot about the Crosby/Ovechkin rivalry and stuff like that [at home in Sweden], but [the booing] caught me off guard.”

Filip will eventually learn there’s more to the Pens-Caps rivalry than just Crochkin. Much more.

There’s been goalies fighting players, painful quadruple-overtime goals, and cheap shots. Lots and lots of cheap shots. And since 1991, the Caps and Penguins have met eight times in the playoffs. Despite trailing in seven of those eight series, the Pens have gone on to beat Washington in all but one: the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

But hey, we won the Winter Classic. So that’s something. Right?

Forsberg seemed excited about the possibility of playing in those kinds of physical and emotionally demanding games. When I asked him if he had heard about boisterous NHL fans, he nodded.

“[Playing in the NHL] is something that I really dream about,” Forsberg mused. “I hope to get to achieve it someday.”

  • Stay classy, Pittsburgh.

  • I trust you showed Forsberg all the hotlinks here. He’s gonna need to study 😉

  • Oh, honey, don’t take it personally They’re just jealous you’re going to be wearing a Caps jersey in a year or two (hopefully 2013-2014), that’s all. And Pittsburgh and Washington have this little rivalry going, ya know.

  • Jeff

    He’ll learn quick. Maybe finally this year we can actually come out on top in positive way over the Pens.

  • serpent

    Take it as a compliment,hon. They’re already afraid of what you can do.

  • Stacy

    well, we split the games last year and went further in the playoffs…

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Sure, beating them is great, put factor in all of our postseason history against them, and they always get the last laugh.

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Nothing special about Pittsburgh anyway other than PNC park and their pierogies