The Barclays Experience

isles-game-2For any of you that keep up with me personally, you know that it is on my bucketlist to see the Penguins play in every NHL arena.  This past Friday, I was able to attend the Penguins vs. Islanders game at Barclays Center, my 4th arena I have been to so far (the others include Madison Square Garden in NYC, Bell Center in Montreal, and obviously Consol/PPG Paints).  Luckily for me, I got to see the Penguins reign victorious, with a 3-2 OT win.

Of course, I got there early in order to get up close for warm-ups.  My sister, who lives in New York, had the idea of getting a crazy/fun picture of us cheering on the Pens (pictured below).  The tweet and picture was actually retweeted by the official Pittsburgh Penguins account, which was pretty cool.  So if you were wondering who those 2 crazy people were, one of them was me.

isles-game-1

My thoughts of Barclays Center:

Of the arenas I have been to thus far to see the Penguins, Barclays Center was easily the most interesting of the 4.

  • The arena was probably around one-half to three-fourths capacity the entire night.  Yes I understand the Islanders are not off to the hottest start, but for a Friday night against the Penguins, I was shocked at the lack of people in the already low capacity arena.
  • I do not know how the designer of this arena still has a job, or why he was even hired in the first place.  First of all, behind the net where the opposing team shoots twice is entirely dedicated to Honda advertisement.  There is signage, no seats, and even a car.  I’ve seen it on TV and thought it was a bit over the top, but seeing it in person?  It just made it seem way more ridiculous.  On top of that, any seat behind that net has limited view (this is where I was sitting).  I could not see behind the net or in the corner that was closest to me.  I’m sure the setup is much better for basketball, but hockey is played there too.
  • As the Islanders took the ice for 1st period, a strange rock n’roll/metal version of “In the Air Tonight” started playing…my girlfriend immediately looked at me as responded with “someone needs to take the aux cord away from him.”
  • Do we all remember Greiss, upon being traded to New York, bashed the Penguins’ arena for always being so quiet, and how he loves the energy/atmosphere in New York much better?  Yeah, okay.  So explain to me, Mr. Greiss, why guys like Chris Kunitz, Brian Dumoulin, Conor Sheary, etc. get more of an ovation at PPG Paints than John Tavares, your franchise player and captain, gets at Barclays?  Also, explain to me how not once, but twice, Penguins fans got a “Let’s Go Pens!” chant started?
  • Barclays Center was relatively quiet for the whole evening…well, besides a few crazy fans right behind the section I sat in.  They were the entire life of the arena on that Friday night.  They had cowbells and other noise-making devices and constantly tried to start chants and get the crowd into the game.
  • Their mascot is Sparky the dragon…how do you get from the New York Islanders to Sparky the dragon?…

Overall, Barclays was an extremely strange experience.  That being said, I was very happy that the Penguins came away with a win.

isles-game-3

My Game Impressions:

  • Oh Captain, my Captain…Crosby had a tremendous game, including a goal and an absolutely ridiculous assist on Letang’s game-winning OT goal.  He is currently producing at a goal-per-game pace.  Will he keep this up?  Well, probably not.  That being said, if Sid can keep playing the way he has, I would not put 50 goals out of the question.
  • Love/hate Letang…Kris Letang had 2 points, a power play assist and a GWG in OT, but his overall play was just okay.  Letang’s stat line looked nice, but he made a few horrendous plays in his own zone, and his inability to play a bouncing puck resulted in the 2nd New York Islanders goal.  Letang is a player that you love at times and hate at times, and there was a little bit of both from him on Friday.
  • The Penguins didn’t look like the Penguins…The Penguins snuck away with an OT win, but something just did not seem right.  Their passes weren’t crisp, the breakouts were messy at times, and despite recording a power play goal, they looked extremely sloppy.  They seemed to play better in Buffalo but were only able to score 1 goal.  Let’s hope this changes against the red hot Rangers tonight.
  • Mourning the loss of Hornqvist…The Penguins really miss Patric Hornqvist.  He was out for both of the Penguins’ games this weekend, and although the escaped with a 1-0-1 record, they will need Hornqvist back soon.  He just brings so much energy and passion to this team, and his play style is contagious.
  • Josh Yohe – good dude…During the 2nd intermission I got to meet up with Josh Yohe and other subscribers to DKPittsburghSports.  It was nice getting to meet Josh in person, and let me just say that he is a really, really good dude.

If you have any other questions about my experience at Barclays, feel free to tweet at me (@FranjiPensPress) or DM me.

  • The Penguins take on the Rangers tonight at PPG Paints Arena, which should be quite the matchup.
  • Chris Kunitz was placed on IR and is considered week-to-week, per Mike Sullivan.
  • Guentzel was called up from WBS and skated with Malkin and Kessel this morning.
  • Fleury was the first goalie off of the ice in the morning skate, a strong indication that he will be tonight’s starter.
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