Yes, I realize that the Mellon Arena (which I’ll always think of as the Civic Arena or the Igloo) will be around for more than another full NHL season. However, tonight’s Penguins game was probably the last game I’ll see there in person. Sure, I’ll see tons of games on Center Ice, but it’s never the same as being there.
Though the Penguins didn’t win tonight, all Penguins fans should be happy with the way the Penguins played. They outshot the Canadiens 34-19. Though the Penguins’ power play definitely looked like what it is at the moment (a power play most teams have no need to fear that’s only ranked at about the middle of the NHL), they shot the puck. As most Penguins fans know, the Penguins are ranked last in shots on goal (with an average of only 26.8 shots per game going into tonight’s game against the Habs). Shooting the puck more is definitely a good place to start. The Penguins haven’t won two games in a row since Fleury got injured (they won 6 in a row from 11/1 – 11/15 and then hit a very rough patch.
Fleury has been playing very well since his return. If the Penguins can play like they did tonight in front of him consistently they’re bound to string together a bunch of wins sometime soon.
It was hardly a high point as a Penguins fan, Andrei Kostitsyn scored his first NHL hat trick tonight at the Igloo. I always like seeing a player score their first hat trick, even if it does mean that ‘my team’ ends up losing. It’s always sad to see a player get their first hat trick that away from home, though. Even the fairly large group of Canadiens (on his side of the ice when he scored his 3rd goal) didn’t throw any hats onto the ice.
Since I’ll always be a Penguins fan at heart, it’s been frustrating for me to hear Therrien talk about how his team isn’t prepared. Correct me if I’m wrong, but getting them prepared is the most important part of his job. He has such a talented group of players. If he can’t get them motivated, perhaps he’s not the right guy for the job.
I wish I could travel back to see the team that first made me fall in love with hockey more often, but travel is a bit too expensive for that at the moment. I’m really glad I got to see a couple more games in the Igloo before the new arena (which we recently earned will be the Consol Energy Center for its first 15 years) opens. The Penguins lost both of those games (and played horribly against the Lightning just before Christmas), but they played really in the last game I’ll see them play in the arena. I even got to see them wear their third jerseys in person. I may not be a huge fan of the baby blue jerseys, but at least they’re a colorful glimpse of the Penguins’ past.
On a bright note, the last two games I saw in the Igloo were accompanied by my other favorite team (the Los Angeles Kings) shutting out their opponents on the road (Jonathan Quick got both of them and had not gotten a shutout in the NHL until December 23rd. What a way for him to end the calendar year. At least one of my teams won each night.
Tags: Andrei Kostitsyn, Canadiens, Center Ice, fans, hat trick, Hockey, Igloo, Jonathan Quick, Kings, Lightning, Marc-Andre Fleury, Mellon Arena, Michel Therrien, NHL, Penguins, power play, shutout
It’s been a dream of mine to get to all hockey arenas in the NHL (all 30+ of them, since I’ve been to both arenas in Phoenix, Pittsburgh is getting a new arena, etc.) someday. Last season, I wasn’t able to cross any off my list, but this season my cousin’s wedding (this Saturday in Lansing, MI) was perfectly planned, since the Red Wings are in town. Naturally, I flew in a day earlier than most so I could attend a Red Wings game.
The Joe Louis Arena is clearly an iconic hockey building and I’m glad I’ve finally got to cross it off my list of arenas to visit. I haven’t been to that many arenas, but somehow I’ve managed to get to most of the oldest arenas. The fact that the three oldest are all in the Atlantic division and I’m from the northeast and have friends and family in NYC, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia definitely helps. The only arena I haven’t visited in the Atlantic division is the new Devils arena (Prudential Center). I thought I might be able to get there this season, but the arena isn’t going anywhere, so I’m not too upset that it didn’t work out this year. There will be plenty of time to visit it. Getting back to the Igloo again is much more important.
Fortunately, the game tonight was very exciting. The Canucks ended it 27 seconds into overtime after the score went back and forth in regulation. I sat with some great fans and had a lot of fun discussing hockey with them. It was just the kind of game one would want to experience at any arena they were visiting. I wish I could see a game this interesting at all arenas I visit. It’d be a lot easier to compare the atmospheres then.
The prices at the Joe Louis Arena are a mystery to me. The tickets are incredibly expensive (I paid $25 for a seat near the top (very near) of the arena in the corner. The only higher seats were the press box & the luxury boxes (which tend to be up high in older arenas). However, once inside, the prices for food and merchandise were less expensive than most arenas I’ve visited. Of course, I realize that everything is relative. Just as I was text messaging a friend about the low costs of food there, the guy behind me said something to his girlfriend about how they knew the prices would be insanely expensive there. If you’re from a place like LA or New York, where food tends to be expensive (especially at arenas and amusement parks), the food prices at the Joe Louis Arena seem low. Compared to other prices around here, they’re clearly high. When I was in the elevator on my way back to my room, the guy in the elevator commented on the inexpensive merchandise at the arena, but clearly he’s from out of town, like me.
I’m still not sure how I feel about them calling Detroit Hockey Town when they can’t fill an arena during the playoffs or the first couple games the season after they won the Stanley Cup (tonight’s game was only the second home game of the season), but the atmosphere at the Joe Louis Arena was great for hockey and I would definitely come back for a game if it worked out with my schedule again.
Tags: arenas, Canucks, Detroit, fans, Hockey, Hockey Town, Igloo, Joe Louis Arena, NHL, Red Wings