Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen acknowledges the crowd after the Penguins beat the Senators on Friday, May 24, 2013, at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins will have their 300th consecutive sellout Wednesday against the Maple Leafs.
Matt Niskanen knows what to make of the Penguins' home sellout streak.
“It's more than just a number,” Niskanen said. “It adds something.”
It has added up, too.
The streak hits 300 on Wednesday night. The NHL record belongs to Colorado at 487 (1995-2006) and the current best run is Toronto's at 409.
The Penguins will join the Steelers (348) in selling out at least 300 consecutive home games.
What started against the Chicago Blackhawks on Valentine's Day 2007 continues against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thanksgiving Eve — the date on the calendar that Pittsburghers have often viewed as the unofficial start to hockey season.
The streak has known as many Penguins head coaches (Michel Therrien and Dan Bylsma) and MVPs (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin) as it has buildings (Mellon Arena and Consol Energy Center) and Stanley Cup Finals (2008 a nd 20 09).
The streak has welcomed Marian Hossa, Bill Guerin and Jarome Iginla; welcomed back Alex Kovalev; and thanked for the memories Max Talbot, Jordan Staal and Sergei Gonchar.
The streak has included a big announcement by Mario Lemieux and a big statue of him.
The streak did not include two “home” losses — one in Stockholm and another at Heinz Field.
More than 5 million fans have attended games during the streak. The Penguins have won 66 percent of home games during the streak.
The Penguins never sold out an entire season during Lemieux's playing days. This season would mark a seventh consecutive of full houses.
“I knew Pittsburgh was a good hockey town, but maybe I didn't know how good of a hockey town it was,” St. Louis native and Penguins forward Joe Vitale said.
“It kind of gets loud, even for warm-ups.”
Niskanen, who formerly played before a lot of empty seats in Dallas , said some of his teammates “could” take playing before capacity crowds for granted.
“It was a pleasant surprise when I came here,” he said. “I figured they had good fans, but I had no idea about this streak.”
He does now.
So does his coach, Dan Bylsma, who offered an example of the Penguins' home-ice advantage during the streak. On March 19, 2013: Niskanen scored the winner against Washington off a rush that followed two consecutive penalty kills in the third period.
“I remember the building shaking,” Bylsma said. “The buildup of the penalty kill, the crowd going crazy… and it felt like we had already scored the goal before the puck went into the net.
“You watched the replay, and the camera was shaking. You get that sense.”
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.