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Penguins

Penguins' home sellout streak hits 100

| Monday, March 16, 2009

Life is good these days for Penguins president David Morehouse, whose franchise played before its 100th consecutive sellout crowd Sunday.

Extending that streak into next season, the last for NHL hockey at Mellon Arena before Consol Energy Center opens in 2010, will prove a challenge.

"Money is tight (for fans) and I'm sure the economic crisis is going to have an impact," Morehouse said yesterday. "Right now, we haven't seen it."

The Penguins will play before sellout crowds in seven remaining regular-season home games, Morehouse said. He added that sales of season-ticket packages for next season are "on track" to be capped at 14,000, as was the case this season for the first time in franchise history.

In its second season, the Penguins' season-ticket waiting list tops 2,000 applicants.

Defenseman Brooks Orpik, the second-longest tenured player on the team, said yesterday he is "not surprised at all" with the sellout streak that dates to Feb. 14, 2007.

"The first couple of years, as bad as we were, I thought the fan support we got was great," Orpik said of the years 2002-04, when the Penguins averaged 13,316 fans over 82 home games during consecutive seasons of last-place finishes.

"No matter where you go, you're going to have fair-weather fans, but back then we had a great group of loyal fans. I've always thought our fans were real good, but compared to now — well, now it's at another level."

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