The Penguins have won all three of their home games to start the season, but that doesn’t mean all is well at the Consol Energy Center.
Three players, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the ice conditions at CEC are poor, and have been since the arena opened in 2010.
One player — “Player B” — told the Gazette conditions in the first two games of the year, a 3-0 win over New Jersey and 4-1 over Buffalo, were “some of the worst I’ve seen.”
“We joke around here that it shouldn’t be hard, because when we skate at Southpointe [practice facility] and skate at town rinks that have zero budget and don’t have the tools and technology that they have [at Consol Energy Center], and they all have great ice,” Player B explained. “If they can do it, there’s no excuse to not have it here.”
Despite less than stellar reviews from Pens players, CEC doesn’t appear to have the same reputation league-wide.
In the CBC/NHLPA 2011-12 player’s poll, Consol wasn’t named as one of the five worst arenas with regards to playing surface. The Tampa Bay Times Forum and Honda Center in Anaheim were voted to have the poorest ice, with Staples Center in L.A., Madison Square Garden in New York and the American Airlines Center in Dallas rounding out the top five.
(The top five, in case you’re curious: Bell Center in Montreal, Joe Louis in Detroit, Rogers Arena in Vancouver, MTS Centre in Winnipeg and the Saddledome in Calgary.)
Despite Consol not being up to snuff by the home team’s standards, at least one Pens player thinks it will get better.
“I think they’ll figure it out,” Player C said. “They’re very committed to making sure that they do everything they can to give us the best ice conditions.
“I think it’s just a matter of time.”