Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Monday night I attended the first hockey game that I've seen at the Consol Energy Center*. The Pittsburgh Penguins played the Tampa Bay Lightning. Although the Pens have sold out their last 260+ games, tickets aren't too hard to come by (they're downright easy to get online at a minimal markup). It's just that I'm super-lazy.

Random observations:

Pittsburgh fans know their hockey. They cheered when Pascal Dupuis managed to get the puck juuust far enough forward to avoid an icing call when his line was gassed and needed a change.

The steepness of the nosebleed
section gave my wife vertigo
Maybe I watch too much soccer**, but the number of stoppages in play and TV timeouts are far more annoying at the arena than they are when watching on TV.

The in-arena intermission balloons have gotten bigger since my last hockey game. I saw the ghost of Steve Fossett dangling from one of them.

Hockey players are terrible at nicknames.  Kris Letang is "Tanger," James Neal is "Nealer," Tyler Kennedy is "TK." Jordan Staal, when he was here, was known as "Staalsie," and when he left he was replaced by Brian Sutter, who is known as "Sutsie." Really.  If other sports adopted hockey-style nicknames we'd be reading about Strassburger and Beat-a-double-murder-rap-sie***.

I find the nickname "Sid the Kid" annoying, so that leaves us with only two Penguins players with decent nicknames: goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is "Flower," and center Evgeni Malkin is "Geno."  ("Geno" is such a yinzer nickname for the Russian Evgeni that it almost hurts.) Flower and Geno both had great games last night.

Malkin, as you may know, had been out for the last week with a concussion suffered in the Pens' previous game against the Lightning****. Malkin's unassisted tying goal in the third period was one of the most exciting hockey plays I've seen since watching Jaromir Jagr score while sliding on his face in the late 90s.

This was a good time. In theory I'm buying into a season-ticket plan next year and I'll get to five games. Can't wait.

* I saw a few games at the old Igloo. The Consol Center is a serious step up.
** I watch too much soccer
*** And with that the "number of posts since the last Ray Lewis joke" meter resets to zero
**** Fans around me assumed that this concussion, rather than casual barbarity, was the cause of Deryk Engelland's dustup with Pierre-Cedric Labrie about twenty seconds into the game.
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