Wednesday night’s preseason contest against the Detroit Red Wings might not have the same luster as the October 7 regular-season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers, but nonetheless it is historic in its own right – the first-ever hockey game at CONSOL Energy Center.
Although the highlights and results from this game will soon be forgotten once the regular season rolls around and things count for real, there is still a great deal of excitement surrounding Wednesday’s preseason opener – especially for the great Penguins fans whose extreme devotion helped make this building a reality.
“If they didn’t come here and support us then we wouldn’t have it,” captain Sidney Crosby
said. “There is no doubt that they are why this building is standing. We realize that and don’t take that for granted. It makes us excited to be here.”
“It’s a first chance for the fans to come down and watch a hockey game here,” Marc-Andre Fleury
said. “I think it will be an interesting game.”
“It’s only the first exhibition game, but the first game in CONSOL is a fun thing to be a part of,” said offseason free agent signee Brett Sterling, who will begin the game on Crosby’s line along with Pascal Dupuis
. “I’ve heard nothing but unbelievable comments about the fans and just the whole city in general and the way they treat these guys.”
The Penguins’ lineup is filled with big names, as Crosby, Fleury, Evgeni Malkin
, Brooks Orpik
and Mike Comrie are among the 20 players scheduled to dress, which should only help add to the excitement for the fans.
In case all of that wasn’t enough to get everyone fired up for the game, the opponent – the Detroit Red Wings – always invoke strong passions from the local partisans thanks to the two teams meeting in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and ’09.
“It’s the first game here,” Crosby said. “It’s Detroit. It’s been four months since we played our last game. I would expect it to be pretty intense. … I don’t see any shortage of intensity out there for anyone.”RELATED ARTICLE: Sterling Gets Opportunity with Crosby
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“We have had our fair share of good games against them, so we’ll try to keep it going tonight,” Fleury said.
While the competitor in Crosby no doubt wants to get off to a strong start to his season, he also knows Wednesday night is also important for the players to begin feeling comfortable in their new surroundings with the regular-season opener two weeks away.
“It’s not quite there yet,” Crosby said. “The room itself is great and that part feels like home. It still takes a little getting used to going from room to room, but we still have a couple of weeks here to take care of that.
“I’m excited to get started here, just to go out and get to play a game. It’s going to be great to get used to the surroundings and getting used to playing here. There are a lot of things to look forward to.”