Fans pack Consol for Penguins' scrimmage
Tim Braden had fresh ink of a skating Penguin on his right forearm and Brandon Sutter's name and No. 16 on the back of his black T-shirt.
He was ready for the Penguins.
So were more than 18,000 fans who packed Consol Energy Center on Wednesday night for a Penguins scrimmage, one that a week ago did not exist on a schedule.
“Our fans just announced en masse that Pittsburgh is also a hockey town,” Penguins CEO David Morehouse said. “I'd like to say I'm surprised, but I'm not.”
For the first NHL “game” in Pittsburgh since April 20, Morehouse ordered the arena's luxury suites be opened to accommodate fans who otherwise would have been turned away.
Admission and parking was free, so was the love for hockey.
“I just want to see Geno skating on USA ice,” Braden said.
MVP centers Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby skated for Team White. Team Black's defense pairing of Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin had their hands full.
So did arena workers, who said fans started lining up about 11 a.m., when Penguins players were taking part in a morning practice. The scrimmage was broadcast on Root Sports, which made the decision to air the game early Monday. But that hardly convinced fans to stay home instead; it was standing-room only at the Trib Total Media gate by 2 p.m.
Braden attended the scrimmage with his father, Tom, 55. They made the drive from Fawn after the younger Braden had the Penguins' logo tattooed onto a right arm already marked with the Steelers emblem.
Emily Waskowitz, 17, is not that over-the-top for her Penguins.
However, like Tim Braden, she is a diehard fan of Malkin's, who played his first game in Pittsburgh after dominating the past two months in Russia's KHL.
She wore a replica of Malkin's sea-blue Metallurg Magnitogorsk jersey — a Christmas gift from her father, Mike, 50, who said he played for the local Junior Penguins from 1980-81.
The Waskowitzs are from Point View, and their spot in line was adjacent to TGI Friday's on the Fifth Avenue side of the arena.
“I'm a little surprised by this crowd,” Mike Waskowitz said. “We got here at 4:30 p.m., and now I'm wondering if some people we see coming now will get in.”
Everybody did. Even Elvis had trouble leaving the building.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man dies in jump from Route 130 overpass onto passing tractor-trailer in Hempfield
- Starkey: Penguins’ season impressive so far
- Penguins a love affair for Evancho sisters
- Pitt football team working to fatten up QB sack total on defense
- Hornqvist’s net-front presence with Penguins could be valuable asset
- Pirates’ search for division title rests on starting rotation’s health
- Police investigate pair of fatal rush hour incidents in Shaler, Marshall
- Pa. court upholds prosecutor appointed to investigate leaks from AG’s office
- Request for documents delays Speedway hearing in Unity
- Latrobe ear-biting suspect loses bid for reduced bail
- The Wine Cellar: Wine can enhance, balance the traditional dishes of Passover, Easter