clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Penguins make a line change in a special practice

The Pens skate in Shadyside at a special rink and also look to gear Kasperi Kapanen back up for yet another chance at redemption

The Penguins had a practice today, but it wasn’t at their customary rink at UPMC Lemieux in Cranberry, it was at the historic Hunt Armory in Shadyshide. The views from this barn are truly remarkable.

The armory was converted to an ice rink and opened a year ago in November 2021, where it became the first indoor community ice rink opened within the city of Pittsburgh in 25 years.

Developing new places to play hockey and especially getting additional sheets of ice available for the public has been an initiative for the Penguins in recent years, and one they’ve invested a lot of money in. It’s smart and great to grow the game as much as possible, especially for the rare opportunities to expand the game right within the actual city limits of Pittsburgh.

As someone who likes history, the Hunt Armory is really cool. Announced in 1909, it was completed in 1916 and was the largest auditorium in Pittsburgh until the opening of the Civic Arena in 1961. The armory has held concerts and political rallies in days gone by for Presidents and presidential candidates like Harry S Truman, Thomas Dewey, Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson.

And now it’s a hockey rink.

Last year, 750 kids played hockey in leagues at this rink, and over 15,000 people participated in public skates. If you’re interested in checking it out, all the information is here.

As for practice itself, the Penguins look primed to make a change to their lineup tomorrow night when they host the Carolina Hurricanes. Unfortunately the game won’t be played at the armory but rather PPG Paints Arena.

Kasperi Kapanen has been persona non grata for the Pens, a healthy scratch in every game since Nov 5th (besides one appearance on November 12th, in a game where injuries dictated that his presence was unavoidable). That looks like it’s about to change, with Kapanen getting yet another opportunity to ease out of the dog house and see what he can do in another redemption attempt. Kapanen skated with Brock McGinn and Jeff Carter on the third line, replacing forward Danton Heinen, who has been fading himself lately with no goals and three assists in his last 17 games.

But with the team winning most of their games lately, Kapanen’s been trapped on the sideline with a coach not very interested in changing up what had been a winning combination. That ended on Saturday night with the Pens defeat to Toronto, and has re-opened the door for Kapanen to get back in the lineup for what feels like a 100th shot at finding a niche.

The rest of the lines remain unchanged from recent days and games. But for today’s practice, it was more about the special scenery and location of the practice as a bigger deal than what lines the players were on.