Penguins players happy to know future is in Pittsburgh
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News of agreement on an arena deal that will keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh was the grand topic following the team's morning skate today.
Perhaps no player had a more vested interest in the team remaining in town than winger Ryan Malone, who grew up in Upper St. Clair.
"I'm sure everyone's happy, especially the fans," said Malone. "All the guys here don't want to leave. It's good to know that you might be here next year. It's a little peace of mind, a little security.
"But the big winners are the fans and the city of Pittsburgh. Hopefully, in a couple of years, we're going to have a great place to play."
The Penguins players come from all over the world, and many could easily have settled in another NHL city if circumstances had been different.
That doesn't mean they were indifferent to the future of the franchise.
"Throughout this whole thing, a lot of guys realized -- or I hope they have -- that as players we want to be here," star center Sidney Crosby said. "Other teams, that might not have been the case, but I think here, especially with the young guys who have only been here a couple of years, everyone wanted to be here. We're all really happy. We owe a lot of thanks for the support we've gotten here."
Although the players didn't talk much publicly about the unsettled future of the club over the past several months, they were thinking about it.
"Every player was kind of scared, hoping and talking about it," center Maxime Talbot said. "Everybody wants to stay here. It's a great city. Even if we're going to stay in Mellon [Arena] for the next few years, when it's sold out it's a great place to play in."
With the news coming on the day of a home game, the Penguins expect a rousing reception tonight when they play host to Buffalo, which leads the Eastern Conference.
"I think it will definitely be loud enough to get goose bumps," Malone said. "Just for the game in general, I think it will be exciting, but with the good news, I think fans will be twice as excited and it will be twice as loud, which will make for a great atmosphere to play in."
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
First Published March 13, 2007 12:00 am