The Penguins fans said goodbye to the Igloo. The Mellon Arena (which some of us will always think of as the Civic Arena) has seen its last NHL game. Though the Penguins fans were surely sad about the game tonight, they cheered at the end to support their team’s efforts and say goodbye to the arena that has been the home of the Penguins since their start in 1967. I haven’t been to all the NHL arenas yet, but the closing of the Igloo means the oldest arena in the NHL is now the Madison Square Garden (the 4th), which has been used since 1968. Though the Islanders’ Nassau Memorial Coliseum (1972) is often mentioned as the worst arena in the NHL (it’s my least favorite of those I’ve visited), it is still not the oldest. The Islanders are the only pre-90s NHL team still playing in their original home as of the start of the 2010-11 season. Clearly, a lot of the newer teams have yet to move, but the Islanders have been around since they started in 1972. Though there has been talk of a new arena for the Islanders for ages, I hear the situation is a lot more complicated than fans would like and that it’s not possible for them to get a new arena any time soon.
The Penguins were knocked out of the playoffs tonight by the Canadiens, who have taken the 2010 playoffs by storm first by knocking out the number one Washington Capitals. Now, they’ve knocked out the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
The Cup hasn’t been won by a Canadian team since the Habs last won the Cup (when they beat the LA Kings in 1993). Perhaps it’s destiny. This year’s Penguins had a lot in common with the 1993 Penguins. Everyone seemed to think the 1993 Penguins would win the Cup for the third year in a row. Instead, they were knocked out in the second round of the playoffs by the NY Islanders. This year, they were knocked out in the second round by the Canadiens, but the stories are very similar. Though more people expected the Penguins to win the Cup in 1993 than predicted they’d win this year, the Pens were the defending Stanley Cup Champions and all the pressure was on them. Perhaps even a bit more pressure than in 1993, since this is the last year the Penguins will play in their original home and this time around the Penguins hadn’t yet won back to back Stanley Cups.
I haven’t had a chance to talk to many Penguins fans about the loss yet, but I’m guessing fans will be split between wanting the Canadiens to win the Cup so their team will have at least lost to the Stanley Cup Champions and those who want to see the Habs go down, since they took out their team. Either way, this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs have been more interesting than most and in spite of seeing both of my teams knocked out, I’ve been enjoying the games. Two game 7s in the first and second rounds of the playoffs. No sweeps as of the end of the second round of the playoffs… Underdogs taking down teams many thought couldn’t be beaten (at least not yet)… This year’s playoffs have everything. I hope you’ve been enjoying them as much as I have.
Tags: arenas, Canadiens, Capitals, Islanders, Madison Square Garden, Mellon Arena, Nassau Memorial Coliseum, Penguins, playoffs, Stanley Cup
One of the teams had to end their winning streak last night when the Rangers hosted the Kings in Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately for Kings fans, the team that extended their streak was the Rangers. The Rangers remain tied for first place in the Atlantic division and the NHL (with the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins). The Kings remain in first place in the Pacific division, but drop from 2nd to 5th in the Western conference.
Definitely not the best game to attend as a Kings fan, but there were up sides to not getting credentials from the Rangers. I got to talk to more fans (Kings and Rangers alike). I also didn’t have to talk to the Kings after the game and somehow I don’t think they were in the best mood – especially with their upcoming flight to Detroit immediately following the game.
As a Kings fan, I was definitely in the minority at Madison Square Garden, but I did see quite a few Kings fans. I talked to almost all the Kings fans I saw before the end of the game. One of the fans hasn’t lived in LA for years (he’s spent most of that time overseas serving our country), but he still manages to follow his favorite team. One of the fans is from Philadelphia, but he’s been a Kings fan most of his life. Apparently, he really liked their earliest purple jerseys and chose the Kings as his team as a result.
Everyone watching the game saw Brian Boyle (a former King) score his first goal in a Rangers jersey. Considering how little the Kings face the Rangers, it’s pretty surprising that he scored his first goal of the season against the Kings.
Special teams were definitely a problem for the Kings last night. The Kings’ penalty kill (tied for 27th in the league going into last night’s game) was already struggling, but the power play had been tied for 4th. The Rangers fan next to me turned to me to say that the Kings were making the Rangers look good near the end of one of the Kings’ last power plays of the game – and he was right. I couldn’t keep track of all the times the Kings passed the puck to the point without looking to see if there was someone there and cleared the zone for the Rangers (the Kings did this when they weren’t on the power play, too). Los Angeles was 1-7 (14%) with the man advantage and only stopped one of the three Rangers power plays. If I had to guess, I’d say the Kings will spend a lot of money working on their power play and penalty kill in upcoming practices.
Erik Ersberg was in goal for the Kings, since they face the Red Wings tonight in Detroit. His save percentage of 81% is definitely not what he would have wanted, but two of the goals scored against him were scored on the power play (one with a two man advantage), which clearly made his job more difficult.
The Kings hadn’t had a four game winning streak since about 2 months before the end of the last season and hadn’t started out with a record of 4-1-0 since the 1992-1993 season (the year they went to the Stanley Cup Finals and lost to the Montreal Canadiens) and ties with the best 5 game start in Kings history. It’s too early to be super optimistic if you’re a Kings fan (especially since Kings fans have seen their team start out well and finish way out of the playoffs before), but I do think that the team Dean Lombardi has put together is on the right track and will finish in the playoffs this year.
Tags: Brian Boyle, Canadiens, Dean Lombardi, Erik Ersberg, fans, Hockey, Kings, Madison Square Garden, NHL, penalty kill, Penguins, playoffs, power play, Rangers, Red Wings, special teams, Stanley Cup, Stanley Cup Finals