By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Nashville Predators fans have captured the hearts of hockey fans across North America during the team’s surprise Stanley Cup Final run. They’re loud, they’re rowdy, they hurl catfish on the ice, and their chants are on par with the wildest college football or European soccer matches you’ll find.
Leave it to someone from Pittsburgh to try and ruin their fun.
That’s what Penguins writer Dan Kingerski is doing with his Tuesday column on PittsburghHockeyNow.com. The meat of the story is centered around the performance of the Pens’ and Preds’ starting goalies, Matt Murray and Pekka Rinne, but buried in the “Odds and Ends” section is some curious detective work by Kingerski himself.
He’s accusing the Predators of piping fake crowd noise into Bridgestone Arena – and he’s not just shooting from the hip here, he used his own device to try and measure the sound in the arena.
Here’s what Kingerski wrote:
I’m convinced the Bridgestone Arena is using the PA to amp crowd noise. Facts–the arena plays warm-up and in-game music at 110-112dbs, as measured by my own device. At the height of the crowd mania in Game 4, I believe my radio trained ears heard the pops and cracks of over-modulation. Lastly, the sound levels are never shown in the arena, unlike every other arena in which I’ve covered games.
Why would the “record holder” not show the sound level? The loudest the sound meter (on my iPhone) hit was about 114dbs. 114 is a great number and the crowd is engaged for a full 60 minutes. People don’t leave 10 minutes early to hit the bars or beat traffic.
However, I believe I call “bunk” on the 130dbs claim, at least achieved organically. However, the Predators are welcome to prove it.
Somewhere, Mike Tomlin nods in approval.
Maybe Kingerski deserves some benefit of the doubt for how much he really cares about the possibility of fake crowd noise, which was essentially a footnote in his column. But of course, an analysis of the goaltending play isn’t going to catch on like an accusation of fakery, so naturally it’s the fake crowd noise accusation that’s getting all the attention.
Thankfully, Kingerski didn’t get too defensive about it when fans on Twitter called him ou- oh …
If there’s anything I’ve learned quickly in my relatively young career writing about sports, it’s to own your takes and try to avoid getting too defensive. I’m not perfect; I’ve fallen into similar trappings before myself. Which is why I can tell that Kingerski couldn’t have been more defensive here.
And for Kingerski to claim he didn’t really care about the alleged fake crowd noise, when he was apparently fumbling around with his own decibel measuring equipment, just comes off as horribly disingenuous. The unmistakable stench of butt-hurt seeped through everyone’s screens.
Even if the Preds are pumping in fake crowd noise, it’s not like we need to call a congressional investigation. It’s a mild offense, if it even happened. It’s happened in the NFL; the Falcons got fined $350,000 and lost a fifth-round pick when they actually got caught doing it in 2015, while Colts were widely accused of doing it in the Peyton Manning days but were never formally disciplined.
Whether Kingerski meant it or not, the accusation was inevitably going to come off as an attack on the legitimacy of Predators fans. If he’s going to claim that they’re not as loud as they think they are, he’d better be ready to stick with that. Kingerski can bury his science experiment at the bottom of the article all he wants; he should have known the reaction it would have gotten. It’s for the best that he just owns it.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at email@example.com.