A special guest was in attendance at CONSOL Energy Center on Wednesday night as fan favorite and 2009 Penguins Stanley Cup hero Bill Guerin returned to Pittsburgh to watch the Penguins and Maple Leafs.
|Former Penguins winger Bill Guerin watches the morning skate on Wednesday at CONSOL Energy Center. |
Guerin, who spent 95 regular-season games with the Penguins from March, 2009 through the end of last season, was impressed by his first visit to the Penguins’ sparkling new building.
“This place is unbelievable,” Guerin said. “I have been in a lot of locker rooms and this one isn’t comparable to anything I have ever seen. It is first-class. The players and the fans here both deserve it.”
Over the course of his 1,263 game National Hockey League career, Guerin made quite a few visits to the Civic Arena. He really liked how the rink was built in such a way that the fans hovered over the playing surface, so he was glad to see that element made its way across the street to CONSOL Energy Center.
“They have really done a great job of keeping a nice, tight atmosphere,” Guerin said. “The fans are still really right on top of you. Everything seems so perfect.”
Speaking of perfect, that’s probably the right adjective to use to describe the well-deserved standing ovation Guerin received from the 18,112 in attendance when his likeness was shown on the scoreboard during the nine-minute mark timeout of the first period. The Penguins also showed a brief highlight video of Guerin’s career in the black and gold. Watch video here
It was a fitting tribute for a classy individual who meant so much to the organization both on and off the ice during his brief stay in Pittsburgh.
“It was a very emotional moment for me,” Guerin said. “I was here for a year and a half, but I feel a great emotional connection to the city of Pittsburgh and the Penguins. That goes for my family as well. To see something like that is very emotional and very appreciative.”
Guerin spent time following the morning skate earlier in the day and after the Penguins-Maple Leafs contest catching up with players and staff members, most of whom he regularly keeps in touch with.
Guerin said capturing the 2009 Stanley Cup championship with the Penguins created a bond between he and his teammates that will last forever.
“When you win together, it is a bond that can never be broken,” Guerin said. “When I see guys from the ’95 Cup team in New Jersey, there is a bond there. These guys are very special to me. I’ll never forget what we went through and all the friendships I made (in Pittsburgh). They are really important people to me that I will always have around me.”