Big Lead Sports Bar


Mondesi Field Trip to Pens Practice

Why do all these kids want a picture of Mike Yeo? Oh, wait. #87 is standing there, too.

After all these years living in the backyard of the Pittsburgh Penguins' practice facility, I finally decided to take the afternoon off and check it out firsthand. With father and brother Mondesi in tow, we descended on the beautiful Iceoplex at Southpointe in Canonsburg, PA, for an official Penguins practice. Keep in mind one thing---the Penguins' practice uniforms are made with a material that is very reflective of things like, say, a digital camera flash. So your eyes are not deceiving you. This is not Tron on Ice.

Escalade, Range Rover, Escalade...yep, I think we're at the right place. Although it seems like a rather random place to set up a playhouse.
The fantastic Jay's Sports Bar, overlooking Penguins practice. I recommend the cheese fries.

Georges Laraque and Gary Roberts discuss how many Pittsburghers skip work and school to watch hockey practice
Laraque does an effective job screening Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury is too afraid to ask him to move out of the way.
Anyone in school today...anyone?
Here's a great shot of the "luxury boxes" in Jay's sports bar, overlooking practice.
Take a knee, boys. We need to discuss these GwenJen pictures.

MAF, biding his time until the next shootout on Saturday night.

Ryan Malone, who for some reason glows like this even when he's not wearing a jersey.
This has to be the only set-up where you can watch a world class team practice while running on a treadmill. Only in Canonsburg, folks.

Laraque watches as a teammate vaporizes before his very eyes.

Brooks Orpik, obviously needing a bathroom break, is forced to hold it.
Autograph hounds line up for a shot at a signature from their favorite player. Alas, Michel Ouellet will sign zero autographs.
So what other info could I add to my photo essay, you ask?
-There's a nice memorabilia display set up in the front of practice, with everything you'd possibly need to try and get signed. If you plan on getting a signature, it helps if you're either A. 10 years old or B. a female.
-Maxime Talbot and Evgeni Malkin like to blast pucks into the boards and directly at the glass at very high speeds for no apparent reason other than to amuse themselves and possibly the crowd.
-Jarko Ruutu entertained the crowd with one of the loudest F-bombs ever known to man when he was stuffed on a breakaway
-Eric Christensen and Marc-Andre Fleury gravitate toward each other during timeouts.
-Sidney Crosby did not participate in the last 20 minutes or so of drills, as he was talking hockey with Mike Yeo (seen in the photo above).
-Ray Shero was sitting amongst the fact, he was three rows behind me. At one point, he asked who the nerd taking pictures was.
-The next scheduled practice is Friday, March 23rd at 2 PM. You can eat lunch, do your workout, and catch the Pens, all in the span of an afternoon.


Unknown said...

The Iceoplex was loaded with 10-12 year old kids today that begged a question to be asked: Why in the hell aren't all of you in school instead of star gazing at Sidney Crosby and company?

The Penguins have become well-known for having very spirited practices that show their love for being on the ice. This too was very obvious as the team simulated game situations, passing, breakouts, two on ones and of course, their favorite: shootouts.

It's easy to see why this team has developed such a strong following. The fans love seeing the passion for the game that these players exude, even in practice. It was amazing to see how many people were in attendance.

We're right now witnessing the second coming of the Edmonton Oilers folks, or in a more appropriate Pittsburgh description, a team whose future accomplishments will put them one day on a par with the Steelers of the 70s. That's how good these guys are going to get.

Good job with your "Tron" photographs Raul!! Good thing you can write!!!!!!!

Hooks Orpik said...

great write up!

maybe it's spring break week or something?

worstavid, i think you're right with the oilers reference. hopefully the results will be the same with many cups. and hopefully shero can somehow manipulate the cap to keep the core components for many years to come!

The Duke from Dukes Court said...

great call on the bracket, thanks

tbart213 said...

Kansas City is STILL for Jagoffs.

Unknown said...

Is there a reason the jerseys have reflective stripes? Do they wear them when they have street pickup games so oncoming cars can see them? Bizarre.

Terri said...

I personally love to going to the iceoplex and watching the Pens practice. I think it is fun for the players and the crowd. I don't live near Pittsburgh, but when I am in the city I never miss a chance to see them practice. You can really see how hard they all work to become the best.