Penguins Notebook: Crosby predicts new arena will help team in many ways

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Scouting report

Matchup: Penguins at New Jersey Devils, 7:38 p.m. today, Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, N.J.

TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WXDX-FM (105.9).

Probable goaltenders: Jocelyn Thibault for Penguins. Martin Brodeur for Devils.

Penguins: Are 2-4-1 vs. Devils, 16-3-2 vs. rest of Atlantic Division. ... Their 10-2-3 record in road games decided beyond regulation is best in NHL. ... Have allowed seven shorthanded goals on road, more than all but two teams.

Devils: Are 23-6-5 since Christmas, 13-5-1 since the All-Star break. ... Have won 27 of 40 one-goal games. ... Are tied for league lows with one shorthanded goal at home and three overall.

Hidden stat: New Jersey has reached 40 victories for the 10th consecutive season, the longest active streak and third-longest in NHL history.

While the blueprints are still in the works, it's expected the arena that will be built adjacent to Mellon Arena will have all the fan amenities -- luxury and club seating, a large capacity, nice concourses and upgraded concessions.

Penguins center Sidney Crosby predicted yesterday that the new digs will help the team in other ways, too, sort of like facility upgrades aid in recruiting for college teams.

"It helps a lot, especially in free agency and things like that," Crosby said. "With the salary cap, it's important to find other ways for interest to be there."

Mellon Arena is the oldest rink in the NHL.

"It's getting pretty old here," Crosby said. "It's still a good atmosphere when the rink's full no matter where you play, but there's obviously a need for [a new arena]."

The new arena almost undoubtedly will have a better locker room for opponents. The spartan cinder block visitors' accommodations at Mellon Arena are among the most cramped and dreary in the NHL.

Nothing drastic

Penguins winger Jarkko Ruutu, the team's union player representative, said he doesn't expect anything drastic to happen with the NHL Players Association before the end of the season.

The NHLPA players' executive board, in a conference call Sunday night, voted to place executive director Ted Saskin and senior director Ken Kim on paid leaves of absence during an internal review of allegations that the two have monitored NHLPA player e-mails.

"There's not much else to it," Ruutu said. "The executive board felt that we had to take a break, see where we're going with this.

"They haven't been fired. They're on paid leave. We'll see what happens in the future."

Slap shots

Winger Georges Laraque, who got in his first fight as a Penguin Sunday after being acquired at the trade deadline, did not play against Buffalo last night because of back spasms. He missed Monday's practice and yesterday's morning skate. ... Penguins coach Michel Therrien returned Monday night after spending time in Montreal for the funeral of his father. He was not at the morning skate but resumed his role and was on the bench for the game.

Shelly Anderson can be reached at or 412-263-1721.


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