Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
When deciding on what to do for my first post I thought what better way to start then telling everyone about my first experience at the brand new Consol Energy Center. So here we go. These are my notes and observations from the Pens pre-season game against Columbus.
Let's start with the arena itself...
- The place is more than fantastic. The place is immaculate.
- There is so much more space to walk and the bathrooms are massive.
- Definitely doesn't feel as big as the Mellon.
- There is not one bad seat in the place.
- Getting around can be troublesome since there aren't many maps to help.
- Noise is a huge issue here...for the opposing team.
- The new scoreboard is so big it almost distracts you from the game.
- So nice that the teams no longer have to cross to reach the locker rooms.
- The food vendors are still working out the kinks. Long, slow lines. Should improve with time.
- The nachos are still amazing and RC Cola could really catch on.
- Yes, the prices are still very high but the food is very good.
- This building is the premier arena in the NHL and no one comes close.
- One negative: After the game I felt rushed out of the building. I wanted to look around but the ushers kept directing us out. Hopefully they loosen up.
- The Pens hit a homerun with the "Ultimate Home Game."
- The Pens were definitely still working off some rust. They seemed to get their groove in the second period.
- Columbus could be a surprise team out West.
- This make shift Pens team could win 40 games.
- Fleury was the biggest bright spot for the team. He played out of his mind. If he plays like that consistently, watch out.
- Brett Sterling and Eric Tangradi both played solid games.
- Tyler Kennedy had a great game.
- Steve Mason looks to be returning to rookie year form.
- Arron Asham can shoot the puck and isn't afraid to get dirty.
- Crosby showed no signs of pain or problems with that hip flexor.
- Brooks Orpik looked like he was playing against a bunch of kids.
- Malkin looks like the Malkin we know and love.
- Don't know if it was the refs or lack of discipline, but the Pens couldn't stay out of the box.
- On that note, the penalty kill was solid all night.
- Good to see the Pens driving the net and getting dirty goals.
- After showing rust in the first period the Pens turned it on. This team can hang with anyone.
- It's great to have hockey back.
- Pascal Dupuis is the most under-rated pick up by Ray Shero in his time as GM.
- Michalek will be worth every dollar they pay him.
- Rick Nash is still an elite player. He deserves a better team.
- Nash may be elite but that didn't stop him from being beat down by Malkin.
- Kris Letang can fight too.
- He may not have the most talent but no one will ever give more than Tyler Kennedy.
- Brett Sterling deserves a chance.
- Godard should be the most feared enforcer in the league.
- Watch out for Marc-Andre Fleury.
- I believe Tangradi will be on the opening day roster.
- If you're looking for a solid reserve goalie for your team consider Steve Mason. Kid could have a solid year.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Tuesday, September 22, 2010 I had the honor of attending the first game ever at Consol Energy Center. It was one of if not the most amazing experience of my life. Not only did I get to wait in the Student Rush line for 5 hours for $25 tickets into the game, but I hung out with someone amazing people from different colleges around Western PA. I now know that the Student Rush line is more then a bunch of college kids waiting to watch a hockey game, it is a great way to meet new friends. From 1:30 in the afternoon until the gates opened at 5:30 (and the thunderstorm at 4), I sat in sheer(good eye Meg) bliss at what was happening, waiting in line to help the Penguins turn the page from Mellon Arena to Consol Energy Center. My cousin and I recieved tickets to section 115 (had to be 185 dollar seats), we looked around at the sight in front of us, got together with other rushers in our section, and even got on the jumbotron!
This game didn't mean anything in the standings for the Penguins, but it meant something to us. It was a game that almost never came, and as I wound down to a 5-1 win for the Guins, it felt like home, and in reality is home, home of our Penguins, for good. It is hard to put the Consol experience into words but hopefully this will do some justice.
Welcome Home Pens Nation
Wilkes-Barre opens up camp this Saturday, so you can expect more cuts to be made by then as well as some camp invites, because 13 guys are not enough to have a full camp.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Hey Pens fans! The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter, and training camp is underway... it's beginning to look a lot like hockey season!
Obviously, the most important and exciting news around the NHL this week was the start of training camps. That isn’t to say there wasn’t other important and exciting news. A few captain“C”s changed hands (jerseys?), some key players were resigned, and someone even rose from the dead! Sort of.
-The NHL's Board of Governors officially approved the rule concerning tiebreakers. This rule means that shootout wins will no longer count towards the tiebreaking procedure, putting the focus on regulation and overtime wins. This rule was proposed back in August and it was finally approved this past Tuesday, as was expected. I suppose that's why there hasn't been much of a reaction from the hockey community. Still, I expected there would be more excitement from hockey fans at the rule change. I guess the start of training camp trumps all.
-Evgeni Malkin has verbally confirmed that he will be playing wing this year, even with Jordan Staal sidelined for an estimated 5-6 weeks. It's expected that the two will reunite on the second line when Staal returns, but until then it'll be interesting to see who will center Malkin's line. Newcomer Mike Comrie has been centering a line with Malkin and Eric Tangradi at training camp, although too much shouldn't be read into that just yet.
-This week's title story; Roberto Luongo is no longer the captain of the Vancouver Canucks. Team president/GM Mike Gillis announced Monday that Luongo has made the decision to relinquish the captaincy. Luongo has this to say via Twitter:
"Huge relief to have the C (and media) off my chest. Time to focus on what's really important, like what to eat for breakfast, and stopping pucks."
Right now the candidates to wear Vancouver's "C" appear to be Hart Trophy/Art Ross winner Henrik Sedin and Selke Trophy finalist Ryan Kesler. Kesler is the popular choice among fans.
-The other captaincy related news is that the Montreal Canadiens have named Brian Gionta the new captain for the Canadiens after going captain-less last season. Gionta will be the 28th captain of the historic franchise, but only the second American to have that honor. Rochester, NY represent!!!!! For those of you wondering who was the only other American born Habs captain, I'll give you a hint. Last year he was the only active player from the 1981 NHL entry draft and he has often been jokingly called a zombie. Anyone who guessed Chris Chelios (and I hope everyone did) guessed right.
-Glen Sather actually made a signing that doesn't make Rangers fans want to repeatedly hit themselves over the head with a golf club. Marc Staal is going to be a Ranger for the next five years, for a pretty $3.975 million per season. The Rangers are now $4 million over the salary cap. Who, oh who can they send to Hartford to get under the salary cap?
-The Ducks won the standoff with Bobby Ryan. The free agent winger was reportedly seeking a three-year deal, while the Ducks were hoping to sign him for five. Ryan agreed to a five-year, $25.5 million dollar deal, after talking to fellow Anaheim stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry about their futures with the Ducks. Ryan has also made it clear that he wasn't looking to make more money than either Getzlaf or Perry (both are on five year deals with cap hits of $5.325 million per season, while Ryan will make $3.25 million for this first season). The deal does not contain either a no-movement or no-trade clause. This signing is a huge win for the Ducks, who now have their three biggest offensive stars locked up and can focus on the upcoming season instead of worrying about getting Ryan signed throughout training camp. They also now have the chance to tinker with the possibility of Ryan making the switch to center. Ryan didn't get the deal he wanted, but he's getting paid a pretty sum and isn't complaining about money. As a result, his Twitter account is still active.
-The Thrashers signed two new players over the week. One was forward Nigel Dawes, who signed a two-way deal for one year, $600,000. ($105,000 in the AHL.) The other was restricted free agent winger Nicklas Bergfors agreed to a one-year, $900,000 deal. Bergfors was sent to the Thrashers this past February as a part of the Ilya Kovalchuk deal. As a rookie last year, Bergfors scored 13 of his 21 goals in a Thrashers uniform last year and ended the season with 44 points. Not exactly Kovalchuk-like numbers, but a breakout sophomore year could make Bergfors a big contributer on offense for Atlanta, and maybe he could score a long-term deal next year. I doubt it would be a blatant cap violation 15 year deal, though.
-Speaking of Kovy, the Russian sniper now has a new position. The Devils had an overabundance of left wingers, so new head coach John MacLean announced yesterday that Kovalchuk will be making the switch to right wing. He will be playing on a line with center Travis Zajac and left wing Zach Parise. MacLean said that Kovalchuk had no problem with the change in position. (Unlike another $100 million dollar man.) If Kovalchuk, Parise and Zajac can develop chemistry, that line has potential to be one of the most lethal in the NHL. Anyone else a little extra grateful to Ray Shero for the Pens' offseason defensive acquisitions?
-The Stars made two key resignings of their own this week. Jamie Neal and Matt Niskanen both signed on for another two years. Neal's deal will count for $2.25 million against the cap this year, and $3.5 million in 2011-12. Niskanen's consists of a $1.25 million cap hit this year and $1.75 million next year. Hopefully these signings will placate all the diehard hockey fans in Dallas. Wait...
-Veteran defenseman Andreas Lilja is attending the Sharks training camp for a tryout. He had been offered a tryout with the Red Wings, but spurned his former team in favor of the Sharks. I thought this was worth mentioning because the Red Wings now only have five players over age 35 on their roster, an all-time low for the franchise.
-It's no secret that the Bruins have been looking to trade center Marc Savard this offseason, so there were some that predicted the 33-year-old would not be on ice for Bruins training camp this season. Well, anyone who made that prediction will turn out to be right, but for the wrong reason. Savard is suffering from post-concussion syndrome symptoms, though Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli would not reveal the exact symptoms. Savard has not been working out for the past few weeks because of his ailment and will miss training camp. There is no predictable timeline for his return. Looks like Matt Cooke is up for another rude welcome next time the Pens play Boston.
-Eric Belanger is now a Phoenix Coyote, at least for one year. Belanger signed a one-year, $750,000 deal with the Coyotes, a good value deal for them, but Belanger has a bone to pick with the Capitals, his former team. He thought he had reached a verbal agreement with the team, but it was withdrawn for some reason. Belanger was very publicly bitter about the whole situation, saying that Capitals had crossed the line. Belanger's anger is very understandable, considering he thought he had a deal in place but now has to move his family across the country and re-enroll his two daughters in a new school. Even though a verbal agreement is different from a signed contract, the Caps are going to look like the villains in this whole mess.
-Happy 40th birthday to Dan Bylsma! Have a fantastic day and keep our boys in black and gold plugging away! (Unintentional rhymes rock.)
-As I'm sure everyone's heard by now, the Penguins have a new slogan; "Destiny Has A New Home". It's fitting given the opening of the beautiful new Consol Energy Center, and a step up from "Defy Ordinary". Also, James Santilli, the Pens Vice President of marketing, stated that "A Great Day For Hockey" will still be a part of the marketing campaign.
-There was a report on Friday that former NHL coach Pat Burns, who's currently battling lung cancer, had died. This was news to Pat Burns, who is still very much alive. To verify that he is still alive and kicking, Burns called TSN'S Bob McKenzie, who tweeted what Burns told him on the phone:
"Pat Burns just called me. Seriously. Here's what he said. 'Here we go again. They're trying to kill me before I'm dead. I come to Quebec to spend some time with my family and they say I'm dead. I'm not dead, far f------ from it. They've had me dead since June. Tell them I'm alive. Set them straight.'"Wow. Sounds like Burns is still alive and kicking huh? This situation shows how social media and the desire to be the first to report breaking news can backfire in the worst way. Today's media is more face-paced than ever, thanks to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, which allows news to be announced faster than ever. As a result, there is an increased desire among media to be the first source to break a huge story, and if you're not on the social media bandwagon to instantly discuss a breaking issue, you get left in the dust. This in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just that in situation like this, when a media outlet is more concerned with reporting a story than checking its facts, that things get ugly. I mean, the TV, radio and newspapers that reported Pat Burns' death couldn't wait until the family announced it had happened before sending the Twitterverse into a frenzy? Is being "first" by a few minutes that much more important than a man's life? Rarely does anyone ever remember which source is the first to report a story, but CTV Ottawa and Team 1040 will always be remembered as the first to misreport Burns' death (even if they deleted their original tweets that said he had died). Just some food for thought.
-Ottawa is officially hosting the 2012 All-Star game in Scotiabank Place. It seems only fitting to have the All-Star game shift to Canada the year after it's going to be hosted in Carolina.
-Going back to Kovalchuk again for a minute, the NHL came down hard on the Devils for the original 17 year, $102 million contract Kovy had signed. The Devils are being fined $3 million for attempting to circumvent the salary cap with the aforementioned deal, although the $3 million will not go against the salary cap, as part of the deal the NHLPA and NHL reached last month as part of an amendment for dealing with long-term contracts. The Devils will also have to forfeit a first-round draft pick sometime between 2011 and 2014, and a third-round pick in 2011. New Jersey gets to pick the year they give up the aforementioned first-round pick and they have to decide which year they give up the pick by the time the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals have ended.
-Good news for the Phoenix Coyotes. A potential buyer, who is as yet unnamed, has deposited $25 million in an escrow account. Your eyes do not deceive you; $25 MILLION. That's how much the NHL had demanded to cover potential losses for the upcoming season while looking for someone to buy the team. The potential buyer requested anonymity during the ongoing negotiations. (Insert Winnipeg Jets joke and/or southern hockey franchise joke here.) There is a rumor going around about the identity of the potential buyer, but in wake of the Pat Burns situation, I'm not going to say who it is.
-This isn't direct NHL news but I thought it deserved to be mentioned; Penn State has decided to create a Division I hockey team. Given the size and name of the college, this is great addition for NCAA hockey. There are a lot of details left to be worked out, but there is now talk of a Big Ten Conference could be formed for NCAA hockey, given that Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota and now Penn State all have Division I hockey teams. There are already great rivalries between these teams because of football/basketball, and those rivalries do spill over to hockey. If the Big Ten cable TV network (a big cash cow) would start showing hockey on nights where there's no football or basketball being played, the future could be very bright indeed for American hockey.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
DeSantis played two years with the Philadelphia Phantons before he played overseas last season with Liberec Bili Tygri HC in the Czech Republic. Last season with Liberec Bili Tygri HC DeSantis recorded five points (2G, 3A) and 10 penalty minutes in 14 games.
Hutchinson was major contributor to the Texas Stars last season. He posted nine goals and 38 points during the regular season and was a big factor in the Calder Cup playoffs where he posted 16 points (5G, 11A ) in 21 games during their Calder Cup Finals run. Hutchinson also has 135 games played in the NHL between Nashville, Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Dallas.
By now you probably realized that Andrew Orpik is Brooks Orpiks’ brother. Beyond that you probably don’t know much else about him. Orpik spent most of last season with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL where he posted 22 points (10G, 12A) and 38 penalty minutes in 35 games. Orpik posted five points in 22 games in the AHL last season with the San Antonio Rampage, (1G, 4A).
One of many veteran depth signings, Potter is one of 3 free-agent acquisitions who spent time in the NHL. Potter played in eight career NHL games with the New York Rangers, recording two points (1G, 1A). Potter also has plenty of AHL experience playing in 246 games and posting 102 points (21G, 81A)
His numbers don’t lie… 263 points (144 goals, 119 assists) in 254 AHL games. Sterling is a HUGE offseason signing for an AHL team. In WBS, he may be the biggest named free agent signing ever in the history of the team. Sterling is another off season pickup who has NHL experience in his resume as he played in 19 games with Atlanta over two seasons notching four points (2G, 2A).
Street completed his collegiate career last year with the University of Wisconsin. He put up 30 points (14G, 16A) in 43 games for the Badgers
Walker split time last season with the Ontario Reign of the ECHL and the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. Walker has a big frame and a decent wingspan. Last season Walker posted 14 points (5G, 9A) in 37 games with Manchester and 23 points (7G, 16A) in Ontario.
Friday, September 17, 2010
It has a Facebook group. Many other various Penguins blogs have mentioned it!.
The Igloo is scheduled for demolition in February, help memorialize the Igloo!
Here it is being mentioned on the Mark Madden Show
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Off the ice, Thursday the SEA voted to demolish the Igloo starting in February. Crews will begin to remove asbestos from the building then will set an auction date. As a kid who spent his entire childhood with Mellon Arena, this is a blow, it is a blow to all Pens fans who have gone to the arena for games. However, dispite our love for the Old Gal it's time to let it go. She has had a great run, saw 3 Stanley Cup Final series and was even the set of several movies (and that bust with Van-Damme).
Dispite numerous attempts to save the arena from demise from groups like "Reuse The Igloo" the hammer and ultimately the wrecking ball were lowered on Mellon's fate.
"No one is coming forward that has development issues here and saying, 'Here's a plan that will make it better to go the other way that won't cost the public anymore money.' My concern is that, what's best for the public," said SEA Chairman Wayne Fontana.
So it is with heavy hearts, that we bid farewell to Lady Mellon, soak it in as much as you can whenever you make your way to Consol Energy Center these next few months. Thanks for the Memories, Goodbye
Mellon Arena 1961-2010
Read the full article here