Penguins rave about new arena
Pardon Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury if he's enduring a few unpleasant flashbacks while studying the nuances of the Penguins' new home, Consol Energy Center.
The boards, Fleury said, are a bit reminiscent of the building that witnessed Fleury's greatest triumph, and some of his more embarrassing moments.
"These boards are pretty bouncy," he said. "Reminds me of Detroit."
The boards aren't that bouncy, of course, but Fleury's initial observations are proof that every building is different and that the Penguins could have an early advantage in their new home. They are busy studying the new rink while the rest of the NHL will be largely left in the dark, save for the three Western Conference teams that will play here in the preseason.
"Absolutely that can be an advantage for us," Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis said. "Even though it's a new building, all these new buildings are different. We are definitely paying attention to things like that and getting to know the place."
And make no mistake, the Penguins are very much in love with the Consol Energy Center.
Even though training camp isn't always a pleasant experience for hockey players — especially the established veterans who would probably just as well begin the regular season now — the roster is unified in acknowledging that Consol Energy Center is simply a pleasant place to attend work.
"It's the best building I've ever seen," Penguins defenseman Paul Martin said. "It's just an incredible place. It seems like every time there is a new arena in hockey, it gets better. And this is no exception."
The Penguins aren't totally comfortable just yet, of course.
Fleury admits that dealing with new boards will take some work, and no one is thrilled with the ice quality during training camp.
"The focus has been on how bad the ice has been," Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "Hopefully it gets better."
The ice figures to get significantly better. Unseasonably warm temperatures this week, a heavy schedule of concerts at Consol Energy Center and more players than usual using the ice have conspired to make the quality of the ice less than ideal.
Assuming the ice does improve, the Penguins will instead focus on exploring everything about their new building. And according to Orpik, fans can play a role in that process starting tonight in the exhibition opener against the Red Wings.
"The atmosphere will be different, and I'm interested to see how loud it gets as opposed to Mellon," Orpik said. "The crowd was always on top of you there. This place has a bit of a different feel. It will be interesting, and I'm definitely looking forward to playing a game here."
The Penguins have noticed all kinds of details, both big and small, about their new home. From the outrageously spacious locker room to the largely glass exterior that almost gives the rink a glow during the day, the environment couldn't be better for training camp and beyond.
"The place just totally blows me away," Dupuis said. "It's unreal. Totally amazing."
And Dupuis suggests that no one should worry about Fleury and those bouncy boards. The fluky goals he allowed during the 2008 and 2009 Stanley Cup Finals are in his rear-view mirror.
And besides, Fleury finally figured out Joe Louis Arena.
This place should be a piece of cake.
"If we see Detroit in the finals this year," Dupuis said, "I promise 'Flower' will be ready for both arenas."Additional Information:
The inaugural home record of teams that have opened new buildings in the past 10 years:
New Jersey , 2007-08: 24-12-2
Phoenix , 2003-04: 12-18-11
Dallas , 2001-02: 17-15-9
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.