Q: Since the Pens wear black jerseys at home, shouldn't the team
promote a "blackout?" Thousands of black jerseys filling the seats
would look pretty cool.
Jerry, Culpeper, Va.
MOLINARI: There seems to be a lot of dissatisfaction among Penguins
fans -- the ones who aren't able to actually attend games at Mellon
Arena, anyway -- that the team hands out white T-shirts, not black or
gold ones, to the crowds at certain home games during the playoffs.
Based on the number of fans who voluntarily put on those shirts, the
people in the seats don't seem to object much to their color nearly as much, if at all.
Some Q&A readers have suggested that because visiting teams wear
white, the white T-shirts could be construed as a show of support for
the wrong club. If a team comes into Mellon Arena and can't figure out who the crowd is backing, the Penguins have a bigger problem than color selection for a T-shirt giveaway.
Finally, while an arena filled with people wearing black shirts may or may not look good on television, it certainly wouldn't do the players -- especially the goaltenders -- any favors. Trying to pick out the puck against a solid black background would be quite a challenge. It also could be dangerous for the goalies, who would have to
try to keep track of what would amount to a camouflaged puck.
Q: How is it determined whose name is engraved on the Stanley Cup?
Erik Tyger, Lima, Ohio
MOLINARI: Players must meet one of two criteria to be assured of a spot on the Cup: They must have appeared in at least 41 regular-season games with the title-winning team, or at least one game during the Cup final.
Teams can, however, petition the league to add players who do not
qualify on either count, if there are extenuating circumstances. The
New York Rangers successfully did that in 1994 for Eddie Olczyk, who
dressed for just one playoff game after being limited to 37 appearances during the regular season because of a thumb injury.
Q: Shouldn't a goal be allowed anytime a puck goes in (after being
struck) with a high stick?
Carmen Ritacco, Peters Township
MOLINARI: No, not unless the league would be interested in having its
rinks resemble a battlefield from the Middle Ages.
Sticks are potentially lethal weapons, and while it obviously requires exceptional hand-eye coordination (or really good luck) to swat a puck out of the air and direct it past a goaltender, it's scary to think how much carnage there might be if players were free, or even encouraged, to swing their sticks at or above head-level.