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The Official Site of the Pittsburgh Penguins

The C Revolution

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
“Many a revolution started with the actions of a few. Only 56 men signed the Declaration Independence. A few hanging together can lead a nation to change.

- Wynton Marsalis

In what started out as 21 Pens players hanging together led to a widespread movement involving tens of thousands of fans across the world.

Allegheny Badgers youth hockey team wearing the C at a tournament at RMU Island Sports Center
Sea of C's
Pens Fans Adopt "C" in Supprt of Crosby
Pens Show Solidarity with their Captain
Submit a photo of you wearing the "C"
Wear the "C" on your Facebook or Twitter
The C Revolution erupted Friday, the same day that Pens captain Sidney Crosby skated for the first time since suffering concussion-like symptoms in early December.

With the team in the midst of a six-game losing streak and media scrutiny surrounding Crosby, the Pens rallied around their captain in a demonstration of unity. With three strips of tape, the players placed a “C” on their chest in a move that inspired fans. Now that C has become a defining symbol of union among the team and Pens fans everywhere. 

The seeds of the movement began with a column published Friday morning by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The piece stated, based on unnamed sources, that “a group of players held a 45-minute meeting to discuss a temporary captaincy.”

“When someone says we don’t want Sid as our captain, it’s pretty ridiculous,” forward James Neal said. “He’s an unbelievable player, unbelievable leader. He’s going to be captain here for a lot of years. In the room there is no doubt that he is our leader and our guy.”

The Penguins responded to the paper’s claim by coming together as a team. In the locker room before their Friday morning skate in Florida a novel idea was adopted. The Pens, in a showing of solidarity and support of Crosby, all taped a C on their chest. 

“It was just to have fun and loosen up,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “(Crosby’s place on the team) has never been in question, not in this room. People can speculate.

“Sid will be our captain until he’s retired. I don’t know where that (article) came from, but we had a little fun with it.”

The most important aspect of the team backing their captain was the results it spurred on the ice. The Pens would break their losing streak a few hours later with a 4-1 victory over the red-hot Southeast Division leading Panthers, and followed that with another victory Sunday afternoon in Tampa Bay, 6-3.

But what was meant to be a team-orchestrated display of support for their captain grew into a movement. The team’s initiative inspired fans to follow. Thanks to the viral aspect of social media, Pens fans across the country (and some overseas) adopted the team’s cause and the C Revolution went viral.

Word broke on Twitter that the team was wearing Cs through the handle @PensInsideScoop (run by myself and Michelle Crechiolo), followed by pictures to provide a visual. Fans, en mass, began retweeting and spreading the word of this unique moment.

Many Pens fans took up the cause of spreading the word, headlined by the efforts of Amber Alexander, a senior journalism and English major at Mississippi State. Alexander (from the account @amb_alex) lobbied fans to adopt a #C hashtag.

“I first heard about the players wearing the C when (Sam Kasan) actually tweeted it,” Alexander said. “When I saw the tweet, I immediately felt like this was that defining moment where a team could turn a season around. I was extremely proud to be a part of this fan base when I saw that the players did that for Sid.”

Fans started following suit, taping Cs on their personal jerseys and shirts and sending them to the Pens. The team even received photos of fans taping a makeshift C on a car windshield and even a cat, yes, a cat. The Allegheny Badgers youth team wore Cs over the weekend at a tournament at RMU Island Sports Center (submit your own photo with the C here).

With the overwhelming outpouring of support from fans, the Pens main Twitter account (@pghpenguins) stepped in to help out. With the aid of a Twibbon provided, fans were able to upload a C to the bottom right corner of their personal Twitter avatars. In just three days, nearly 10,000 fans have adopted the C - including center Evgeni Malkin, @malkin71_ (click here to add the C to your avatar). 

“The avatars are amazing!” Alexander said. “They are perfect for what we are going through, and now when we see that we will remember this, the players and fans now all have Cs on them to represent what it means to be a Pittsburgh Penguin.”

This is the power of Twitter and social media. With an instantaneous ability to spread ideas and events comes with it the power of starting an instantaneous movement.

Where the C Revolution goes from here no one really knows. Time holds that answer. As Alexis de Tocqueville said, “In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end.”

But one thing is for sure, the C Revolution is still growing and shows no signs of slowing down.

All of this started from an article that could have divided the Pens locker room in the midst of a losing streak. Instead, it brought the team closer together, provoked two big wins and created a symbol of unity among the players and fans.

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