Consol Energy Center Ice Problems

Justin K. Aller

A quote from Sidney Crosby, of all people, has led some to speculate about the quality of the Consol Energy Center ice surface. Given the schedule of the arena this week, things are probably bound to get worse before they get better.

Great piece by City of Champions Sports when they picked up on the following Sidney Crosby quote following the Buffalo game:

"For whatever reason, I’ve always been able to put some points up here. It’s great ice here. That’s all I can say.”

Factor in the Penguins 8-2-0 road record and the offensive outbursts they've had away from the friendly confines of Consol Energy Center and CoC speculated that the quality of the ice might be a detraction for the Pens- who's speed and skill can be slightly negated by less than ideal conditions.

CoC also cited a goal Pascal Dupuis scored against the Washington Capitals where a bad bounce worked to the Pens advantage:

For the video-impaired, Dupuis has a soft 10-foot pass from Crosby jump over his blade and bounce crazily on the ice. Luckily for the Penguins, Dupuis’ desperate swipe at the puck produced an ugly goal that rattled into the net off goalie Michal Neuvirth.

That incident is one of many bad hops that pucks have taken in Penguins home games, and those are just ones that are detectable while watching on television. Yes, the bad ice affects both teams, but the Pens are designed to win via speed and skill, from coach Dan Bylsma’s up-tempo approach to the personnel on the payroll

Part of this can be the events that the venue hosts. The Pens are lucky- they don't share their arena with a full-time NBA or collegiate basketball team, but the CEC does host non-hockey events, but surprisingly there haven't been too many.

Since hockey season has started, Consol has had 'Nuclear Cowboyz' (the z makes it extreme, I'm guessing) which was a motocross show with pyrotechnics. That was two shows over two days, and since then, only one other non-hockey event took place.

Until this past weekend when MONSTER JAM was in town. That could make for interesting ice conditions for the Flyers game tomorrow night. Then, the arena crew will have to flip things around for a Bon Jovi concert Thursday before flipping it back for the Penguins vs. Panthers game on Friday before again changing it up for what appears to be a Christian/worship concert Saturday (Chris Tomlin) before then flipping it AGAIN back to hockey for the Pens to meet Tampa on Sunday night.

It was tiring just to write that all out, let alone for all the changes. So I guess if the Consol Energy Center ice was bad before, it's definitely not going to be looking any better now that the monster trucks have been to town and the crews will have to setup and dismantle two stages in between hockey games.

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