WATCH THE REGULAR SEASON OPENING VIDEO
Sitting next to play-by-play announcer Mike Lange, one of the most respected voices in the NHL who has come up with countless iconic sayings that define the Pittsburgh Penguins, former Penguin and current radio color analyst Phil Bourque can now say he has come up with a rallying cry of his own.
“Buckle up baby! Are you kidding me?”
Bourque’s spontaneous call, made after Sidney Crosby scored a goal in Pittsburgh’s opening-round matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers last postseason, was included in the regular season’s opening video that played prior to each game, and quickly caught on with the Penguins faithful. Its impact hasn’t wavered as the season transitioned into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as the saying has been placed on the rally towels passed out at playoff games and on T-shirts available at PensGear, the team store.
Bourque didn’t remember making the call until he was told it would be included in the regular season opening video, which Bourque “didn’t think was a big deal.”
“I never thought it would catch on like this,” Bourque said. “I work with a Hall of Famer (Lange) at every game and I really sit in awe of all the great things he comes up with. I came up with this one, and wasn’t really trying; it was just the spur of the moment. He literally has hundreds of them.
“I never in a million years thought I would say something that would make this kind of impact.”
The Penguins never expected it to catch on to the extent it has either.
“The thing about this was it was totally organic, nothing was planned,” Penguins vice president of communications Tom McMillan said. “Those are sometimes some of the best ideas. It was a great statement from the playoffs last year and it caught people’s attention.
“You always heard people talking about the video, but nobody thought it would go beyond that.”
The fans have used the line as a motivational tool throughout the season and into the postseason, but it’s also caught on in the Penguins locker room. The players chose to include the call on their playoff T-shirts, along with the number “4” to signify the four wins needed to win a series, which Bourque said he was “completely surprised” by.
“I guess the players kind of thought it was humorous or catchy and decided to use it,” Bourque said. “For them to use it on those shirts, I was humbled. To be part of something so important, it really meant a lot.”