Controversy is swirling around the Pittsburgh Penguins over their choice of National Anthem singer for playoff games. For over 20 years Pittsburgher's have identified Jeff Jimerson as the go to singer for the anthem, however Jimerson missed the first two playoff games against the Lighting because he was in the Virgin Islands celebrating his tenth wedding anniversary with his wife. In stepped Army Reserve Sgt. Bob Timney. Timney, dressed in full Army Reserve fatigues, starts the anthem then stops singing, holds the microphone up to the crowd and lets them fill in the rest of the song. Jimerson has returned from his vacation is available for Saturday's Game 5, but the Penguins have elected to go with Sgt. Bob. Although the Penguins do not have a designated full-time anthem singer Jimerson has sung over 60 percent of the games this year and for every home playoff game for the last four years. Jimerson himself is dismayed by the described "benching" saying in aninterview with the Pittsburgh Tribune Review,"If I said I wasn't disappointed, I'd be lying," he said. "I haven't been home for a playoff game since I can't remember. People who know me know how personal this is and how seriously I take it." He also compared his situation to the Drew Bledsoe/Tom Brady switch at QB for the Patriots after a Bledsoe injury forced Brady into action.
Jimerson, also front-man for Pittsburgh-based band Airborne, is just hoping the Penguins advance to the second round of the playoffs and another chance to perform in front of his legion of fans at the Consol Energy Center.