Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Season Tickets are Aggravating? WHAT!?!? My Response

The following is my response to this post by ThePensBlog. My thoughts in black text with white background.  I did not take the time to fix the many spelling errors in the original post.

I just got home from today’s Penguin win over Columbus, a day after the huge win over Tampa Bay the afternoon before, and I realized something I never thought I would ever admit. For the first time in over a decade, I wondered if my season tickets were worth the aggrivation. Let me explain.
I knew this post was going to frustrate me based on the second to last sentence.  Really?  Season tickets -- aggravation -- in the same sentence?  Wow.  Moving on...

I have been a Pens season ticket holder since 2000, when I was a law school student. Over the years I migrated from a half-season to afull-season, from $28 per seat tickets to Mellon Arena to $67 per seat tickets at Consol Energy Center.
Miss the days of affordable tickets.
Let me first say, I have been a diehard Penguins fan for most of my life. Through the highs of Lemieux, Jagr, Crosby and Malkin to the long winters of Konstantin Koltsov, Kip Miller, Josef Melichar and Milan Kraft, I’ve been there through it all. In fact, I took more pride in being a fan when the on-ice product was questionable; not only was there shared misery among the truest of true fans, but the Penguin front office always made me feel truly valued. One year, I received an unexpected $100 gift certification to Penstation in the mail from the team, just to thank me for being a partial season ticket holder. I was blown away.
Agree with this paragraph, sounds about right that Pens management would send out a gift certificate.
As the finances of the NHL and the deteriorating condition of Mellon Arena made the games somewhat wanting, we were promised things would get better on both fronts, a promise we never doubted the Penguins management was working towards. But with their work largely complete, I cannot help but wonder if we’re better off in terms of the arena and fan experience.
Here's where it gets interesting.  Questioning the CEC and fan experience.  Let's continue.
Like I said, my tickets have gone up from $28 per seat per game to $67 per seat per game, for a view that is basically the same (and Ihave two seats). I am a member of the demographic the Penguins cherish- theyoung professional under 35 years old. Despite a mortgage, student loans, car payments, credit cards and everything else, I willingly shell out $6,000 per season for tickets (not counting the playoffs), plus plenty more in food, drinks and merchandise. It’s easy to conclude I spend about 10% of my annual income on my Penguins experience, which I never questioned because I enjoyed the games so much. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I am thoroughly unimpressed with the experience of games at Consol Energy Center.
Setting the mood.  Ultimately, no one is forcing this person to continue buying these tickets and he is making sound like a burden that he chooses to spend 10% of his income on the Pens.
First and foremost, the arena was clearly designed to cater to corporate interests, with all of the bells and whistles on the first level and in the boxes. I’ve sat in some of the boxes, and I’ve even sat in Suite 66, and there’s just no comparison, which is fine. I don’t need bells and whistles to enjoy a game. But just getting around the upper level is inexplicably difficult for a new arena, and I really have to wonder what the designers were thinking.
The crowd is immovable, mainly because the corridors are way too narrow for any reasonable amount of foot traffic. Getting anywhere, especially if you’re trying to carry food or a beer, is nearly impossible. The lines for the bathrooms are ridiculous for a new arena, and the consistent lack of thought for traffic flow is painfully obvious. Navigating the crush of people leaving after a game is like running the gauntlet, with arena ushersstanding in the corridor yelling at people that the easiest way out isn’t the exit clearly designed to attract the most attention. It’s an embarrassing cluster you-know-what.
I understand where he is coming from with the first few sentences, however any arena or sports venue nowadays is going to be designed for corporate needs.  Those are the people who own the boxes and/or buy the $150 tickets.  Sports are a business and business is all about making money.  That being said the Penguins are one of the best sports organizations at catering to the everyday fan.  I also agree that the upper level is somewhat difficult to navigate, however think back to the Civic Arena where there were spots up near Section E where only two people at a time could fit through.  Now that is worth complaining about.  The Consol Energy Center is a huge upgrade as far as walking ability.  I agree with the statement on the restrooms, as they are such a pain in the CEC.  If you know what street you are leaving on, exiting the arena is a breeze.  Find a door, walk down the stairs, and you're on the street.  There are signs all over the place saying which exit is where.
Speaking of the ushers, it’s feast or famine with them. My seats are in the front row of the upper bowl, and I’ve had more problems there this season than I had in a decade at Mellon Arena. I’ve gotten into verbal altercations with fans that parked themselves in my seats and refused to move even after I show them my season tickets. I’ve had random fans (grown adults in suits) sit on the steps in the front row for periods at a time, creating their own seats while blocking everyone around them. When I look for an usher, all the way at the top of the section, getting their attention is impossible ifthey’re even around.
Today, it took me the full intermission to get a sandwich and a drink; I returned to my section about 30 seconds into the period. Right as I walked up, there was a whistle, so I started to head down to my seat. I was stopped by the usher, who didn’t think I could make it in time, so she made me wait for several minutes until the next whistle. While I stood there, fans in seats closer to the back were allowed to go while play went on; and in the process, I got bumped into and had a drink spill on the new jersey I bought a few days earlier. No apologies, nothing.
Can't comment on this paragraph, as I have no complaints with the ushers.
Another problem that drives me nuts is the lack of Wi-Fi availability in the arena. Mellon Arena had Wi-Fi, so it’s not a technical issue, and the Pens bragged all over the place about how high-tech Consol Energy Center would be. This is a problem because anyone who has been to a game knows that getting a signal is almost impossible at times. I’d like to be able to post a picture from the game to Facebook or Twitter (which would also be good PR for the team), but I can’t because my iPhone doesn’t work in there. But more importantly, as a member of the young professional demographic the Penguinsclaim to cherish, I need to have access to my email for work just about all the time, and the spotty reception has created serious problems for me. There’s just no excuse for failing to provide customer service to the standards of a local Starbucks in regards to Wi-Fi.
More often than not, it all leads to an in-game experience that has me tired, aggravated and annoyed before I even sit down. Add in the insanely loud music, which makes conversation almost impossible, and the only conclusion I can come to is that I now go to Penguin games in spite of Consol Energy Center, not because of it, and I do blame the Penguins management for that problem, and more importantly, for their clear lack of concern for correcting any of these issues.
Phone service is just horrendous in Consol and my phone's battery just dies as it tries to search for service to successful send out tweets.  And I'm assuming he's refering to pregame music which is indeed loud.  Hey, at least something is loud in Consol because the fans certainly aren't most nights.
This isn’t random bitching and moaning by some yuppie, even though some will likely perceive it as such. From talking with many other fans, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. But I have always justified the expense of going to the games by saying it was my one true indulgence, a real relaxation. Now, despite the exceptional product being put on the ice, I find myself more agitated than relaxed as I am propelled with the mob leaving the arena. The price of the fan experience has gone up over 200% since 2009, but I feel like the value has gone down exponentially. Worse yet, I feel like the Penguins management, the ones who valued me when they needed me to stand by their side during the darkest days of the franchise, has basically abandoned me.
I hope the Penguins address some of these problems before fans like me decide it’s way easier to stay home and watch the games, because there will be a day when the on-ice product deteriorates and they ask for our faith while they rebuild. I might be willing to tolerate the expensive yet frustrating game experience to see Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but don’t ask me to put up with it to watch the next Josef Melichar someday.
We’ve been through a lot together, good times and bad. Please help me justify spending my sports entertainment dollars on this team again. I want my experience of being a Pens fan back.
-A Loyal Fan
Here's where I have my beef.  He and I both experienced the X-Generation and the rebuilding, etc, and now we finally have what the Penguins management has promised us.  This was to be expected!  As the team got better, more and more fans started showing up.  This is not management's fault.  It's a simple case of supply and demand.  The Penguins have had close to 250 straight sellouts meaning that for 5+ seasons the demand of Pittsburgh Penguins tickets has exceeded the supply.  Many people would love to have this writer's seats.  If he is so aggravated with having to purchase season tickets, why not give up the rights and allow someone else to enjoy them.  Sure I'm fed up with bandwagon fans who have driven the price up on tickets and lowered the knowledge of the Consol Energy Center.  There is a chance that if the writer gives up his season tickets, someone with a lack of hockey knowledge will come in a dumb down the arena a little bit more.  After reading through this whole letter, I'm slightly confused at what he wants the Penguins to do.  Does he want another $100 gift certificate?  Because that's not going to happen.  Today, the Penguins can afford to lose 2 season tickets in the 200's.  Why?  Because they have a large waiting list and can easily fill his spot.  My advice to the writer of this letter: step down from your pedestal, stop thinking you're better than all the other fans who also put up with the rebuilding and enjoy Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Kris Letang, and Marc-Andre Fleury.  These guys love the city of Pittsburgh, they love the fans, they love the organization, and they love the people who pay their salaries (the season ticket holders).

I have mixed emotions about this whole letter and I don't want to come off as rude but had to get all of my thoughts out.  On one hand, I agree with some of the points that were made, but on the other hand there were just some random unnecessary complaints and it's not really clear what he ultimately wants done by Penguins management.

Update: Grammar and spelling police were out in full force after this post.  I had one misspelling, it is now fixed and I apologized for it.

Pregame | February 29, 2012 | @ Stars

The Penguins head into Dallas tonight to face the surging Stars tonight.  Dallas has won 4 straight games and are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.  The Penguins come in having won 3 in a row and are 6-3-1 in their past 10.

If the season ended today:
4 Penguins (36 W 21 L 5 OTL 77 PTS)
5 Senators

1 Canucks
8 Stars (33 W 26 L 4 OTL 70 PTS)

Odds of making playoffs:
Penguins: 99.9%
Stars: 45.3%

Most likely playoff matchups:
51.7% chance the Penguins face the Flyers
16.9% chance the Stars face the Canucks

Games remaining:
Penguins: HOME: 11 AWAY: 9 TOTAL: 20
Stars: HOME: 9 AWAY: 10 TOTAL: 19

Stat of note for tonight's game: Goal Differential:
Penguins: +35
Stars: -6

Penguins point streaks:
Evgeni Malkin, 5 games (5G-4A)
Steve Sullivan, 5 games (1G-7A)
Matt Cooke, 3 games (1G-3A)
Pascal Dupuis, 3 games (2G-1A)

The Penguins have only played 5 games on leap day.  They have a record of 2-3.

PensTV: What to Watch For

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CONTEST! Best Penguins Related Twitter Handle

Since we are mainly a Twitter presence, we came up with the idea to create this little contest.  We're looking to see who has the best (most clever, funniest, etc) Penguins related Twitter handle.  Really, there's no true definition of "best" so this will end up being a popularity contest based on which Twitter handle people like the best.

This contest will be run as a tournament and after all the nominations are sent in, we will create a bracket and start a voting process.

First, we're going to need everyone to send us their nominations by tweeting @GotKasparaitis and including the hashtag #BestPensHandle.  The easiest way to do so is to click the button below and simply insert the Twitter user you wish to nominate.

If you'd like to Tweet without using the button, please follow this guideline:

"@GotKasparaitis I nominate @pghpenguins #BestPensHandle"
Once we receive a fair amount of nominations, we will set a deadline and move on to the voting process.

Hopefully this is a fun way for Pens fans to interact on Twitter and find new fans to follow!

We'll have some sort of prize for the winner, nothing major though (we are in college, you know).


Monday, February 27, 2012

Trade Deadline Tracker

Nashville Acquires
Andrei Kostitsyn

Montreal Acquires
2nd-Round Pick (2013)
Conditional 5th Round Pick (2013)
Winnepeg claims Grant Clitsome on waivers
Montreal claims Brad Staubtiz on waivers
Detroit Acquires
Mike Commodore

Tampa Bay Acquires
Conditional 7th round pick
Edmonton Acquires
Nick Schultz

Minnesota Acquires
Tom Gilbert

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Trade Deadline Necessities

Here is an extensive list of all the sites you will want to check regularly for tomorrow's trade deadline. Be sure to follow our Twitter feed and check back here for updates! - Completed Trades
A complete list of all completed trades to date.
TSN - Trade Tracker
A complete list of all completed trades to date.

TSN - Trade Bait
"With Monday's trade deadline looming, the NHL on TSN provides a quick look at some of the names that could be on the move. Keep checking back as this list is updated."

TSN - TradeCentre

TheFourthPeriod - Top 25 Available Players
"With the NHL trade deadline quickly approaching (Feb. 27, 2012), TFP has outlined 25 of the top names rumored to be available for trade through various newspapers, radio and television reports, cyberspace and our own league-wide sources. Last season, 17 of the 25 players listed were traded.

As part of TFP's Trade Deadline Coverage, this page will be updated regularly and TFP's Panel of Experts will outline the values of each athlete. As the days inch closer to the deadline, some players may climb or fall off the list, while others may be added. Teams reportedly showing interest will also be added and adjusted as more information becomes available."

TheFourthPeriod - No Trade Clauses
"Below is a list of NHL players who have a no-trade or no-movement clause in their contract for the 2011-12 season only. This page will be updated, if required, to provide the most accurate information.

A player with a no-trade or no-movement (cannot be placed on waivers) clause must accept a move by waiving his clause in order for a trade to go through and be accepted by the NHL. List compiled from various sources, including NHL documents, internal sources, media outlets and"

TheFourthPeriod - Salary Cap Breakdown
"General managers and their staff must have a proper understanding of completing trades within the NHL's salary cap era. Making moves aren't as easy as they once were, and player salaries are taken into account for every deal.

Below is a team-by-team breakdown of each club's proximity to this season's $64.3 million salary cap. Figures have been rounded to the nearest thousandth, courtesy of Player bonuses are factored into some of the "Project Total Salary Spending," which may cause certain numbers to equate to a different cap figure. This page will be updated frequently between now and the Feb. 27 trade deadline, as various roster moves affect each team's project cap spending."
Also be sure to follow this list on Twitter for 56 NHL insiders' tweets

Friday, February 10, 2012

STATS: TK and Duper's Past 15 Games

As requested on Twitter, here is a graphical view of Tyler Kennedy and Pascal Dupuis' past 15 games.  In the first two charts, blue represents goals and red represents assists.

TK Past 15

As you can see, Tyler Kennedy has only 3 points in his past 15 games and hasn't scored since January 13th.

Dupuis Past 15

Duper has 5 points in the last 15 games with his most recent goal on Tuesday.

Shots in Past 15 Games

Cumulative Shots in Past 15 Games

Both TK and Duper have almost the same amount of shots over their past 15 games.  TK with 45 and Duper with 44.  Sorry about the mixing of colors in these past two charts.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Marc-Andre Fleury Shutout Statistics vs. League Average

After doing some statistical research, you can tell that Marc-Andre Fleury's shutout statistics have been below league average for the past 4 seasons.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Penguins "Moneyball" February 7, 2012

Here's some stats I put together, nothing groundbreaking, just some simple percentages.  I wanted to see who on the Penguins has the best value per goal/assist/point.  Richard Park gets paid the lowest amount per goal and per point, while Alex Picard got paid the least for each of his assists.  In italics are players with 10 or fewer games played as they skew the stats.  Don't take this too seriously as it was done just for fun. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pens claim Cal O'Reilly

O'Reilly will most likely be a placeholder until Crosby or Staal come back.  He is a restricted free agent at the end of this season and has a cap hit of $1,050,000.  Darren Dreger reports the Penguins will pay half of what remains on the cap ($375,000)

Here are his career statistics:
Cal O'Reilly
Born Sep 30 1986  -- Toronto, ONT 
Height 5.11 -- Weight 180 -- Shoots L

Selected by Nashville Predators round 5 #150 overall 2005 NHL Entry Draft

                                            --- Regular Season ---  ---- Playoffs ----
Season   Team                        Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM  GP   G   A Pts PIM
2003-04  Windsor Spitfires           OHL    61    3   18   21    2   3   0   1   1   0
2004-05  Windsor Spitfires           OHL    68   23   50   73   16  11   4   5   9   4
2005-06  Windsor Spitfires           OHL    68   18   81   99    8   7   3   8  11   0
2005-06  Milwaukee Admirals          AHL     2    0    0    0    0  10   0   1   1   0
2006-07  Milwaukee Admirals          AHL    78   18   47   65   20   4   1   2   3   0
2007-08  Milwaukee Admirals          AHL    80   16   63   79   22   6   1   2   3   0
2008-09  Milwaukee Admirals          AHL    67   13   56   69   20  11   2   6   8   0
2008-09  Nashville Predators         NHL    11    3    2    5    2  --  --  --  --  --
2009-10  Milwaukee Admirals          AHL    35    9   31   40    8  --  --  --  --  --
2009-10  Nashville Predators         NHL    31    2    9   11    4  --  --  --  --  --
2010-11  Nashville Predators         NHL    38    6   12   18    2  --  --  --  --  --
2011-12  Nashville Predators*        NHL     5    0    1    1    2
2011-12  Phoenix Coyotes*            NHL    22    2    3    5    2
2011-12  Portland Pirates            AHL     5    1    1    2    0
         NHL Totals                        107   13   27   40   12