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NHL Fans Cheer Shoddy Product

AP Photo

It felt almost like October – almost like April, even. The sun was shining. The fans were tailgating. The building buzzed as the bowl filled with orange and the air filled with chants, long before Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux took the opening faceoff and the Pittsburgh Penguins faced the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Let's go, Flyers!"

"Crosby sucks!"

"It felt almost like a playoff atmosphere," Penguins veteran Craig Adams said.

It felt, well, normal.

There was no hint that a four-month lockout had alienated the fans. The Flyers drew 19,994, the largest regular-season crowd in their history. The players were not booed, except for, of course, the Penguins. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was not ridiculed. Not one "Fire Bettman!" In ...

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