It’s official: the Pens will be wearing their Pittsburgh gold jerseys for the entire 2016 postseason.
“It’s good for the playoffs. The team did really well with it. The fans love it,” Penguins CEO/president David Morehouse said. “So we thought we would just switch things up this year and go with Pittsburgh gold. We have a pretty good record in the gold, too.”
The Pens finished the regular season with a 10-2-1 record in the gold uniforms.
Fans will also get involved as the Pens will distribute gold t-shirts and rally towels to create a “Gold Rush” at CONSOL Energy Center, starting with Game 1 Wednesday night against the NY Rangers.
Unfortunately, one playoff tradition will have to be put on hold momentarily. The Big Screen, which typically airs the games and draws huge crowds of Pens faithful, will have to wait until at least until the Second Round due to heavy construction in the open lot across from the arena.
“We are going to wait until we have a little more time and get it done right,” Morehouse told reporters in the locker room on Monday. “We didn’t want to throw it in there with all the construction, so we’re going to wait for the second round, hopefully.”
Morehouse, like any fan, was disappointed.
“For me it was tough, because I’d love to have it out there,” he said. “We’ll have it, but when we have it we’ll have it in a way that the fans are used to having it with a lot of space, food trucks and music.”
Instead, the Pens are creating a Fan Zone outside of the arena starting three hours before puck drop of all home playoff games. They will feature DJs, refreshments, face-painters, kids’ activities and more outside of each gate.
But the real entertainment will be inside the arena and on the ice, where the Pens hope to carry their late-season success into the postseason. Pittsburgh went 8-1 in its final nine games and won 14 of its last 16.
“It’s been fun. It’s been an exciting brand of hockey,” Morehouse said. “Every time they’re on the ice they have a chance to win a game. It doesn’t matter if they’re down three, if they’re down two, if they’re down one. The team has a lot of resilience. The fans are definitely getting their money’s worth.”
And while fielding an exciting and entertaining team adds to the playoffs, it’s all about the scoreboard.
“Winning games is what’s important to us,” Morehouse said. “That’s the most important thing. It’s great that they’re playing this kind of hockey. But if you ask the general manager, that’s what he wants to do most.
“Every year we start the season wanting to win the Stanley Cup. This year is no different from those other years.”
Note: Morehouse had no update on a potential sale of the team.