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As The Hockey Games Heat Up, So Does The Trash Talking

Gene J. Puskar
Penguins fans hold signs taunting the Nashville Predators during Game 5 of the 2017 Stanley Cup finals.

The play and words are heating up between the Penguins and the Washington Capitals in their Stanley Cup playoff series after the Caps' Tom Wilson broke the jaw of Penguin Zach Aston-Reese with a hit to the head in Tuesday's 4-3 Washington victory.
Penguin players were furious because moments after the hit, Wilson could be seen laughing on the bench while Aston-Reese was sprawled on the ice.
In another of their conversations about Pittsburgh sports teams, NPR’s biggest Pittsburgh sports fan, David Greene and 90.5 WESA’s Kevin Gavin talk about a long-time sports tradition: trash-talking.

Greene on players trash-talking:

"If it's just getting your team pumped up and it's playful, I don't mind it.  But don't get dirty.  It's not good for the sport, it's not good for fans."

Greene on sitting next to a Ravens fan at a Steelers game in Baltimore.

"He said, 'you know what, we're going to be friends.' We were in this polite trash-talking through the entire game. Then [former Steeler receiver] Hines Ward streaked down and scored a touchdown, and I jumped up out of my seat; I'm waving my towel, and he looked at me and said 'I think you should go now.'"

Greene on trash talking with NPR colleague and editor Dave Pignanelli, a diehard Cleveland Browns fan.

"He came to me recently and said 'you guys play us in Cleveland the opening game of the season, it's going to be tough to start the season that way, isn't it'? I just started laughing and got into the elevator.  Maybe ignoring him is the worst trash-talking I can possibly do. That will get really ugly if the Browns ever get good, which means it will never get ugly (laughing)."