Big Lead Sports Bar


Pens-Flyers LIVE Blog From the Consol Energy Center

Once again, the Pens were kind enough to invite me back to their friendly confines to cover tonight's  season-opening matchup against the Flyers, and I'll be providing commentary on all things on and off the ice throughout the evening. Be sure to check back/refresh often for the latest from the yet-to-be-nicknamed Consol Energy Center. Also, one quick note: click on the pictures for a much bigger view.

4:30-ish: After a short walk from the parking lot,  I arrived upon the Penguins' "Red Carpet" event, illustrated by the throng of people below. Geno Malkin was making his grand entrance when I got there, which I was unprepared to catch with my camera. It was kind of hard to see much of anything outside of the video screen unless you had a good spot, which I most certainly did not.

I did catch the arrival of Marc-Andre Fleury, who you can see on the mini-Jumbotron below. In typical MAF fashion, he was very fan-friendly and even stopped to sign some autographs for a few lucky fans who probably camped out a very long time for the opportunity.

5:45 or so - After the pre-game meal (Salisbury Steak night!), I boarded an elevator along with Jesse from Faceoff Factor en route to the media area. One problem: the elevator stopped around the fourth floor and would not move. It was as lifeless as Randy Moss on Monday night.

Luckily, we were only stranded for about 5-10 minutes before the disgruntled elevator headed back to the first floor. So the doors opened, a bunch of other people boarded, and again it didn't move. At that point, some man who may or may not have been Bruce Banner pried the doors open with his bare hands and freed us to get on another elevator, which was probably an iffy proposition at that point.

In elevator 2, I overheard a certain Pittsburgh media personality frustrated with the CEC elevators say that there are four representatives from the elevator company at every game. So problems with this mode of transportation within the CEC are not exactly unexpected. Just wondering, does the Schindler elevator company have a liberal return policy?

About 6:00 - Took my seat on media row with Jimmy from Pensburgh seated to my right and an NHL goal judge to my left. The view from my seat is the header photo in the blog post. 

6:30 - The Pens and Flyers enter the ice for the first time. No red carpet is used. 

6:52 - If you're interested in some great shots of the red carpet, head over to the Penguins' website for a photo gallery. Could this become a Pittsburgh tradition? I know I'd stand outside to wait for the arrival of Andy LaRoche at PNC Park next season.

6:54 - The lights go out and a Mike Lange-voiced intro video hits the BIG BIG BIG screen. The bass is so loud in the speakers that I can feel the vibration in my seat.

6:58: 66 enters the ice. No joke, I absolutely had chills.

7:02: Nice ovation for Jordan Staal and Arron Asham, who won't be with us tonight. I must say, I'm fascinated to see Asham in action. Thunderous applause for Coach Disco. And a bunch of pint-sized Penguins come out banging their sticks for the player intros.

7:08 - SID.

7:13 - After Jimerson kills it on the anthem, Mario and Gary Bettman do the ceremonial first puck-drop thing. Bettman greeted by a round of boos. Or were they saying Boo-urns?

7:15 - The REAL first puck drops at the CEC 

7:23 - We're six minutes in and the Flyers have a 5-2 edge in shots. The Pens have had a few chances, blown a few chances, and did not get the benefit of any iffy calls. MAF has looked on his game, though. 

7:26 - Just thought I'd mention that I've already had three Diet RC Colas tonight. One more and I'm officially cut off. And wish me good luck sleeping tonight with all that caffeine coursing through my body. 

7:31 - Flyers and Pens hit consecutive posts in about a 10-second span. These are clearly unfriendly pipes.  

7:33 - Mr. Hilary Duff is denied on a pretty setup from Geno. Goals are at a premium and can't be bought so far. 

7:35 - History is made: Matt Cooke gets the first penalty at the CEC for holding Claude Giroux.

7:36 - Nice video montage of John Barbero is shown on the Jumobtron. Cameras cut to John's family, fighting back tears. After seeing them, so was I. Standing O from the CEC crowd. Pens fans never come up short in the class department.

7:40 - Comrie denied AGAIN by Sergei Bobrovsky. He's definitely getting his chances, and eventually those are going to fall. 

7:42 - Mark Letestu's shot goes wide. Pens fans are getting unmercifully teased with first-goal prospects.

7:43 - Sean O'Donnell becomes the first opponent to get called for a penalty, getting two minutes for tripping Letestu. Time for the Powerball Power Play!

7:49 - That's one period in the books at the No Good Nickname Yet Center. Pens outshot the Flyers 15-9, and I think they're due for some better luck in the second. Time for some intermission hijinks.


7:56 - It's snack time, and there's a mad rush for the free hot pretzels in the media area. They're tasty, they're enormous, but each one looks like it was dipped in a pound of salt. Which means I'll spend the next two minutes peeling excess salt off of a pretzel. That shouldn't get odd looks from anyone

8:07 - I'm done whining about salt and ready to talk hockey. We're off and skating in the second period. 

8:09 - Geno Machino is stopped on a slapper, the 16th save by Bobrovsky. The CEC crowd is getting impatient for a goal.

8:11 - If the crowd wants to see a goal in the next two minutes, it's going to have to be short handed. Blame the offender, one Deryk Engelland. 

8:12 - That didn't take long. Six seconds into the PP, Daniel Briere shoots and scores for the wrong team.  Assists go to Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. FLYERS 1, PENS 0 

8:14 - Powerball Power Play! Jody Shelley gets called for goalie interference, and Geno promptly hits the post. TAKE THE LID OFF THOSE NETS!

8:16 - Another power play comes up short for the Penguins. I feel like we're going up against Roy Halladay. 

8:20 - Claude Giroux goes postal, and by that I mean hitting the post and not going crazy or delivering a parcel. We've got roughly 10 minutes left in the second as the score remains 1-0 Flyers. 

8:21 - Geno is stopped again by Bobrovsky. I feel like I've written that sentence 100 times tonight. I may just copy and paste it the rest of the way.

8:22 - That was either Ron Francis or Mark Letestu who almost scored for the Pens. All I know is that it was a #10 jersey that didn't say "DIXON", "HOLMES", or "STEWART".

8:23 - The Flyers break the rules again, as Braydon Coburn is sent to the Sin Bin for interference. Powerball Power Play!

8:28 - Surprise, surprise, the Pens go scoreless on the PP. By the way, it took only three consecutive passes to hear the first "SHOOT!" yelled from the fans.

8:29 - The always-fun Wetgo Car Wash Kiss Cam hits the CEC Enormous Screen for the first time after a Brooks Orpik penalty. The action is fast and furious here, with lots of lip-locking and rule-breaking.

8:32 - You, Me and Dupuis fans on a tailor-made setup. That's 0-for-23 for the Pens on the night as Bobrovsky takes his perfect game into the 5th inning.

8:34 - Blair Betts taps in a rebound past MAF. CEC crowd reaction: Booooooooo! FLYERS 2, PENGUINS 0 , 2:18 left in the 2nd.

8:37 - Tonight's attendance brought to you by AEC: 18,239 - standing room only. I think they even have a few people sitting on the Jumbotron and looking down on the game tonight.

8:39 - To kill some time, a Pirate-esque "find the puck" game is played on the Jumbotron. It never ceases to amaze me how enthused people get about games like this.

8:41 - Two periods are now in the books, and I have no good news to report. The Pens are outshooting Philly 24-19, but in the one category that matters, they're down 2-0.


8:42 - Flying t-shirt time! Who hired the Pirates' promotional team? Coming next: the Pierogi Race...on ice!

8:57 - The final period starts with the timeless stadium anthem "Zombie Nation" blaring from the speakers. Pens have 20 minutes to avoid some level of disappointment. And by the way, are fights now outlawed by the NHL? These teams have barely mixed it up tonight.

8:59 - Ask and you shall receive - the first Penguin goal scored in CEC history goal to MR. KENNEDYYYYY! Paul Martin and Kris Letang get the assists. FLYERS 2, PENS 1 

9:01 - It's amazing what a goal can do for a crowd's morale. Someone just gave this building a shot of adrenaline, which was better than the Xanax that it was on in the last period.

9:03 - If the Pens score in the next two minutes, everyone gets a Big Mac. This may sound crazy, but isn't a ticket stub to the first game here worth more than the cost of a Big Mac?

9:04 - It's another Powerball Power Play, this time as a result of a penalty handed out to Andrej Meszaros, a name surely to get misspelled once or 1,100 times in the course of his career. 

9:06 - Did the Pens give all that money to Paul Martin so he could turn over the puck in his own zone and the opposition could score short-handed? Because that's exactly how it just played out. Goal goes to Giroux. FLYERS 3, PENS 1

9:07 - The goal horn just sounded, which means the Penguins are right back in it. Alex Goligoski scores, assisted by Michalek and Kunitz. FLYERS 3, PENS 2, with 14 minutes left.

9:10 - Unless I'm seeing things, Max Talbot just gave a love tap to the back of Mike Richards' legs. Meanwhile, Geno, Max, and Dan Carcillo are all headed to the box.

9:11 - I'm trying to figure out, did the Pens score that second goal within the time frame for the free Big Mac?

9:21 - Somehow I haven't posted an update in 10 minutes. I got lost in conversation with the blogger known as "Hooks Orpik".  But the Pens are still down 3-2, with 8 minutes left.

9:24 - Again, I'm absolutely amazed at the lack of fisticuffs. The most action we've gotten is a Talbot slash on Carcillo, and that was 15 minutes ago.

9:27 - A "Let's Go Pens" chant comes and goes in the span of about 10 seconds. There's 3 minutes left, people! A little life, please!

9:29 - The CEC entertainment staff tries to liven things up with Van Halen's "Panama" and a montage of Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, and John Belushi.

9:31- MAF comes up with possibly the save of the game to keep the Penguins in it. 2 minutes left.

9:32 - What an AWFUL penalty by Blair Betts. You don't give the Pens an extra man with a minute and change. Unless you're the Flyers, that is.

9:35 - The Pens go 6-on-4 but it ultimately accomplishes nothing. The clock strikes 0:00 and the Pens go to 0-1 in their new digs. I must admit, this was not how I had the first game's outcome scripted in my head.


Three Stars: 
3. Tyler Kennedy
2. Claude Giroux
1. Sergei Bobrovsky

The Pens outshot the Flyers 31-27, got outhit 34-32, went 1-for-5 on the PP and 1-for-4 on the PK. Geno led with five shots, Comrie had four, and Mr. Crosby finished with just two. Maybe next time.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


Anonymous said...

I may be wrong, but it seemed like the crowd was off its' usual game tonight. Maybe it was the wider concourses or gourmet food offerings?

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Donnie, I hate to nitpick. But Martin was not the culprit on their Flyers 3rd goal, it was another Kris Letang special.

that play is why Craps fans do the WHOOOPS. Because he has the puck and WHOOPS, there goes the other team for an easy goal.

Another random opposing goaltender, another loss. How does that always seem to happen.

Steve said...

Yup, the key to any victory against the Pens has always been and always will be to insert a newbie goalie. That and start a rookie forward so he can get his first NHL goal. Flyers dropped the ball there but there's always the next game.

Don't get me started on the Versus stupidity of having some boy band in Toronto playing to a crowd of 12-year old girls to open the season. Would have much rather seen the Consol opening ceremonies, or even been punched in the fact with a roll of quarters but hey...that's just me. I'm just a hockey fan, what do I know?

I didn't count, but did the Pens register any hits capable of even scuffing the paint on the brand new boards? More limp wristed, lack luster play from a team that looks like they still need a few more rounds of pre-season play before they should be allowed to join the rest of the NHL. So much for making the new place "tough" for other teams to play in.

Just like the beginning of last season, Kennedy was one of our better players, yet just like last season, everyone will forget and want him traded even if he play is hampered by another injury.

Is it me, or does it look like they simply picked up where they left off after last season? They should have just opened against Montreal and it could have been an automatic loss. From here on out, I will now question Bylsma's coaching and "up-tempo" game plan. Seems like the team has no intention of buying into it.

Maybe Mario should have thought twice about pouring that water on the ice...maybe it was better left across the street. I guess the plan was to close the old place and open the new one in equally embarrassing fashion.

Good thing Godard is still on the roster.

So now, instead of waiting for the first game the Pens lose at home, we can start the wait for the first win. Don't be surprised if it takes a while longer than everyone thought.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

@Steve, I felt that the EXACT same issues that ended our season last year were the ones that contributed to last night's loss.

PP was ineffective, Letang turnover city, couldn't get pucks through traffic enough, Fleury played good but their goalie played GREAT, hit the post 20x, no one around the net to poke home rebounds,ZERO luck, and only one guy playing physical.

I also loved Orpik getting a 2 minute penalty for a standard body check on Paul McCartney, Jr.

Steve said...

You just know somewhere Yeo is in a really good mood this morning.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Well, obivously, it is too early to even make an assessment.

But those areas above are going to have to be corrected. You can't get by on sheer talent alone. Eg.) See Washington Capitals 2009-10 Season.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

It just kind of looked like a replay of any of the games we lost in the Montreal series.

Ineffective power play? Check.

Young goalie playing out of his mind for the opposing team? Check.

Brain cramps leading to crap goals for the opposition in a game we appeared to dominate for long stretches? Check.