Monday, April 28, 2008

Mellon Arena party picks up

As the Pittsburgh Penguins-New York Rangers playoff series shifts to New York, Penguins fans can watch Games 3 and 4, Tuesday and Thursday night on a video screen outside Mellon Arena (weather permitting). Game time is 7 p.m. for both games.

A 12x16 LED screen has been set up in front of the Gate 3 entrance, near the marquee. More than 2000 fans were on hand to watch Games 1 and 2 of the second-round series against New York.

With interest in the team soaring, the Penguins are trying to accommodate fans in as many ways as possible. For safety reasons, the team asks fans not to bring grills or tents to the Gate 3 area. Also, alcohol is prohibited.
>> team release
Generally speaking, alcohol and the grilling of meat is encouraged at these sorts of things.

If the Pens make the finals, I'll be in Pittsburgh with The Pensblog and Empty Netters for the outdoor party.



At 3:30 p.m., April 28, 2008, Anonymous stephen said...

any idea why they don't just open the arena?

At 3:40 p.m., April 28, 2008, Blogger I Have Kasparaitis said...

I was @ the game Sunday and the atmosphere was awesome. I was screaming at the top of my lungs, refused to boo Jagr, laughed when "Vogue" was played when Avery went into the box, got excited over the Jaws posters, and had a wonderful time. I love the Mellon. When it is demolished for the new arena, I'm going to miss it.

(BTW: Kiss passed out WWGRD posters ...)

At 3:52 p.m., April 28, 2008, Blogger Sean said...

@Stephen: Van Halen is in there on Wednesday, so I'm sure they need the arena to setup/breakdown

At 4:26 p.m., April 28, 2008, Blogger RP said...

If you're asking about why they don't open the arena roof, the answer is they can't anymore. It would be an awesome sight but the relatively new F balconies and the scoreboard both need the structural support of the roof, making it impossible to open without taking the scoreboard down among other things.

At 4:40 p.m., April 28, 2008, Blogger DCThrowback said...

Buffalo Outdoor Playoff Crowd:David Lee Roth :: Pittsburgh Outdoor Playoff Crowd:Gary Cherone.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

At 6:02 p.m., April 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, a bunch of fair-weather fans decide to follow a fashionable, winning team.

Stop the presses...

At 6:19 p.m., April 28, 2008, Anonymous stephen said...

@ Sean - Aha! That makes more sense. I always loved being able to watch the playoff road games from the home arena. Even though I'm a Canucks fan, watching the Oilers play Carolina from Rexall Place a few years ago was nuts. Like having 16000 people in your basement... crazy.

At 6:40 p.m., April 28, 2008, Blogger Koz said...

You've got to be kidding about the fair-weather fans.

The only fair-weather in play here is that it's accommodating in the spring time to watch the game outdoors.

Pittsburgh is one of the USA's top hockey markets (if not the top right now) and has consistently drawn crowds (even when the team absolutely stunk in the early part of this decade). Look at the Western PA kids making it in the NHL now (Umberger, Malone most notably with several others and more on the way in the minors and DI NCAA).

Of course interest surges in the playoffs, but that's not new to any team.

At 9:10 p.m., April 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Their consistent draw of under 12,000 per game in 2004 was particularly strong.

At 10:18 p.m., April 28, 2008, Blogger Antonette said...

I guarantee you that the people outside the arena are the fans that followed the team longer and the fans inside the arena are the flashy new rich fans.

Either way, it's great for the team, and I bet you'd have a hard time bringing in fans to see a team where Dick Tarnstrom was the leading scorer and Rico Fata was the future.

Just saying.
Go pens.

At 10:28 p.m., April 28, 2008, Blogger Koz said...


Couldn't say it better myself. I mean honestly, playing to 70% capacity with Tarnstrom as your leading scorer is a testament to fan dedication in my mind (ha!).

Look, Pittsburgh is a lot smaller city than Toronto or New York. They aren't going to sell out if they don't win games, but that doesn't mean the fans are fair-weather. Say that about Florida, Tampa, Carolina, whatever... but you're way off base with Pittsburgh.

I get annoyed with anyone about some of the Steelers fans who seem to enjoy seeing the city's hockey team struggle (does that happen anywhere else?) but Pens fans are knowledgeable about the game and create a great in-arena atmosphere. I can only imagine how much fun it is outdoors with the screen.

At 10:47 p.m., April 28, 2008, Blogger Ryan said...

@DC Throwback

Preach, brother. How quickly we forget where the bar was set.

At 11:41 p.m., April 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're not invited, James; you said the Rangers are going to win.

If you do come, it had better be with compensatory snacks and drinks.

(And to the people touting Buffalo's superiority, the lawn outside Mellon can't hold that many people. I know it's a hard concept to grasp.)

At 2:12 a.m., April 29, 2008, Anonymous Seth Rorabaugh said...

I hear there's a decent sandwich place we could hit up after the game...

At 9:56 a.m., April 29, 2008, Blogger dying alive said...

Uh...yeah. To those of you crowing about the Buffalo crowds, take a look at the size of Mellon's lawn. Because that is ALL of it in the picture. Any more people and they'd be spilling out into the street (which is NOT closed down or no one would be able to get to the parking lots). There is just nowhere else for people to go.

Also, considering that this was thrown together as a last-minute idea right before the first round, I'd say 2000 people isn't too shabby.

At 10:23 a.m., April 29, 2008, Blogger DCThrowback said...

Perhaps you can hold viewings in PNC Park on the gorgeous scoreboard? Bonus: If the Pirates are playing at home that night, the 200 Pens fans in attendance would actually double the size of the crowd...and the Pirates can call it 2 for 1 night, getting all the old, cheap fans out for the night. Throw in a free IC Light and some chopped ham, and every cheap b***ard from Aliquippa to Mckeesport would be there.

Let's the marketing people working on this - can you say co-operate crossover???

At 10:32 a.m., April 29, 2008, Blogger DCThrowback said...

Two corrections: a co-worker informed me that it is actually "chipped" ham. Fine - chipped ham hoagies for everyone! I'll bring the ketchup.

And whether its 200 or 2000 folks on that lawn - either one would at least double attendance for a Pirate home game.

At 11:43 a.m., April 29, 2008, Blogger The Seeker said...


The NHL just recently released that the Penguins fan support ranks #1 in the NHL.

They also sell the most merchandise.

With standing room only in the arena and 2000+ outside crammed into that tiny patch of grass braving rain, lightning, and hail storms on some nights, I'd say their research was right.

Of course someone favoring a team who's already gone golfing can be EXPECTED to have sour grapes (that's probably also why some choose to post as 'anonymous' too).

What do we Pens fans care anyhow? 6-0 so far and winning each shift, each period, each game, and each series is what really matters.

At 11:50 a.m., April 29, 2008, Blogger The Seeker said...

Just wondering?......

Exactly how big HAVE the crowds outside of HSBC Arena in Buffalo been this playoff season?

Inquiring minds want to know!

At 12:00 p.m., April 29, 2008, Blogger DCThrowback said...

Easy guy. If your team doesn't tank it in 1983 to draft Super Mario AND/OR hire Craig Patrick to run your team into the ground in 2002-4, we're talking about the Winnipeg Penguins right now. No one is saying the lottery was fixed, but most will admit that a franchise is lucky to get a once in a generational superstar. The Pens might have three. In 25 years.

As a Buffalo fan, I realize I live in a glass-framed Rigas built house, but to think that this Pens fever has been around forever is just ludicrous. Enjoy your franchise's success now - like all things in life, it's fleeting. The difference between golfing and being up 2-1 on the Habs in the conference semis is five measly points (three of which we gave to the Flyers in a 3-2 OT loss when we were up 2-1 with three minutes to play).

At 12:08 p.m., April 29, 2008, Blogger The Seeker said...

I should have included more than just the anonymous naysayers in my sour grapes label I guess.

At 1:01 p.m., April 29, 2008, Blogger Stoosh said...


Someone taking yet another "fair-weather fans" job at Pens fans. How original.

If only it were true. According to

The Pens played to 98% capacity in 2000-01. That was the year Lemieux came back and the team went to the Eastern Conf. Finals.

In 2001-02, with no Jagr and a team that finished out of the playoffs because it suffered significant injuries to Lemieux, Straka, Lang and Kovalev, they still played to 92% capacity (same as Buffalo, ironically).

In 2002-03, with Lang gone to Washington, the threat of a lockout after the 03-04 season beginning to build and frustration over the arena situation starting to mount, they treaded water until mid-February before trading Kovalev and a late-season collapse knocked them out of the playoffs. They STILL played to 87% capacity.

In 2003-04, the lockout was imminent and no one knew for sure when or even if hockey was coming back. Casting an even bigger cloud in Pittsburgh was an arena issue that pretty much at DEFCON 5 by this point. And we haven't even mentioned the team the franchise decided to put on the ice, as mentioned above. To sum up, the NHL was on the verge of going away from who knew how long, the government was refusing to even discuss arena options with the team and our marquee veteran player was Aleksey F'ing Morozov.

They still played to 70% capacity. Again, given the fact that it was an AHL-caliber roster, it's more a testament to the fanbase than it is an indictment of it.

Outside of Minnesota, how many US-based teams sell out every night? Truth be told, it doesn't happen in the states. It doesn't even happen in some of the smaller Canadian markets.

There are a lot of teams out there with much bigger "fair weather fan" problems than Pittsburgh. We're doing just fine. KTHXBAI.

At 1:13 p.m., April 29, 2008, Blogger coffeytalk said...

This is why we Commit to the Stoosh.

At 1:24 p.m., April 29, 2008, Blogger The Seeker said...

Not bringing the NJ Devils into this to trash them or their fans, but why is it that when we hear that worn-out and fallacious 'fair weather fans' meme, it's always directed at Pittsburgh?

As stoosh proved with statistical facts above me, it's unwarranted.

Yet even though they have a brand new arena built specifically to boost ticket sales, have a team that pretty consistently makes the post season, and a large area in which to draw...the NJD can't even sell-out a Playoff Series unless they sell the tickets at below regular season prices and throw in free food and beverages?

Again...I am not bashing NJ at all. I don't want ANY hockey market to be hurting. I only mention this because I think too many folks have tunnel vision focused solely on Western PA.

Maybe some folks are just braggadocios and feel a need to be seen as 'important'?

At 1:55 p.m., April 29, 2008, Anonymous dying alive said...

Well said, Stoosh.

Incidentally, while the label "fair weather fans" is being bandied about, some interesting statistics about home attendance:

2001 season
Pittsburgh - 98.7%
Buffalo - 95.5%

2002 season
Pittsburgh - 92.3%
Buffalo - 92.1%

2003 season
Pittsburgh 87%
Buffalo - 73.5% (who was making fun of 70% attendance?)

2004 season
Pittsburgh - 70%
Buffalo - 82.8%


2006 season
Pittsburgh - 93.2%
Buffalo - 91.2%

2007 season
Pittsburgh 96.9%
Buffalo - 100%


Now who is talking about who's attendance? Looks like Pittsburgh isn't the only city full of fair weather front runners.

At 2:14 p.m., April 29, 2008, Blogger DCThrowback said...

Pens commenters: seeing strawman, destroying strawman. Well donzzzzzzzzz...

At 2:15 p.m., April 29, 2008, Blogger The Seeker said...

One word....



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