PENS FANS ON THE ROAD

by Ron Spence

In a perfect world, Wayne Gretzky would be coaching the Portland Coyotes.

The team would be somewhat – but not totally popular – and Vancouver fans could make roadtrips down the I5 to Yotes games – that they could buy cheap tickets for.

There would be a couple of bars where everyone could  meet, wearing their ‘nucks apparel….

Pens fans have that going for them in Detroit.

More than 5000 Pittsburgh fans travel to Motown to attend Pens vs. Red Wings games.

Wearing Penguins shirts, they eat at the Anchor Bar near Joe Louis Arena before the game – because they’ve read about it on a Pittsburgh fan blog.

“Detroit fans and Detroit’s people are great to us, unlike Philly, which is not a good place to go for a Pittsburgh fan of any sport,” said Peter Vonderlieth, 40, who with Steve King, 38, drove 615 miles from New York City to arrive a few hours before game time.

Inside, the place was crowded with Pens.

Just before reaching the door, a man learned from a passing car window and yelled an obscenity-laced welcome to the Motor City.

“Well, almost everyone is nice,” Vonderlieth said with a laugh. “That’s still better than we get in Philly.”

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courtesy of pittsburghlive.com

For some people, the road trip to Motown has become a tradition.

Andrew Scampone, of Fox Chapel, attended that series opener last year with friends Sarah Moen, of Gibsonia, and J.B. Loughney, of Forest Hills. The trio had such a positive experience that they decided to purchase tickets on StubHub.com within minutes of the Penguins’ sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference final.

“I was taken aback by how many Penguins fans are here,” Scampone said.

“It was electric last year,” Loughney said.

Moen finished his thought: “That’s why we came back.”

“There will be 5,000, maybe way more Penguins fans here tonight,” John Staniszewski Jr. of Harper Woods said. “They are everywhere downtown right now. It’s easier for them to get into the games here than back in Pittsburgh. Our bad economy is making that possible for them.”

And inside the Joe Louis, both sides are equally noisy.

“The cheers exploded in Joe Louis Arena when the Red Wings scored first in…Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. But the roar of approval was almost as loud when the Penguins tied the game 1-1 just before the end of the first period.

“It’s kind of hard to tell the difference between, ‘Let’s go Pens,’ and, ‘Let’s go Wings,’ but we’re trying to be heard here,” said Sam Walch.

“Even though we work there, we can’t get tickets,” said Steve Ducouer, who sells Penguins merchandise for the team in Pittsburgh.

He and his wife, Christina, made the trip Sunday to share the game as a fifth anniversary present to each other.

Ken Simon, a Pittsburgh cop in a group of four that wore baby blue Penguins alternate jerseys, paid $240 apiece for center-ice tickets for Game 1. Back home in Pittsburgh, similar tickets would cost more than $1,000, he said.

Mike and Kate Filoni, of Hampton, were stunned they could buy two seats together for $190 apiece in the lower bowl through the Red Wings’ official Web site as late as Thursday.

Staniszewski came to the game wearing his Red Wings jersey.  He and his buddy, Dustin Duwayne Hoffman of St. Clair Shores, paid $100 each for standing-room-only tickets.

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courtesy of pittsburghlive.com

The players like their supporters with them on the road as well.

“You see a lot more in warm-ups because they move all the way down to our glass,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “They kind of disappear during the game. They’re all scattered (because) they don’t get seats together. We have very good fan support at home, and it’s a short drive, so I’m sure if they could get tickets, they got ’em. It’s always good to see the fan support.”

Orpik, however, smiled when recalling how Penguins fans drowned out Carolina fans by chanting “M-V-P” for Hart Trophy candidate Evgeni Malkin, after he scored a goal in Game 3 at RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

It seems that Pens fans take road trips to other cities as well.

by Ron Spence
In a perfect world, Wayne Gretzky would be coaching the Portland Coyotes.
The team would be somewhat – but not totally popular – and Vancouver fans could make roadtrips down the I5 to Yotes games that they could get cheap tickets for. There would be a couple of bars where everyone met….
Pens fans have that going for them in Detroit.
More than 5000 travel to Motown to attend Pens vs. Red Wings games. Wearing Penguins shirts, they eat at the Anchor Bar near Joe Louis Arena before the game because they’d read on a Pittsburgh fan Internet blog that this was their gathering  spot
“Detroit fans and Detroit’s people are great to us, unlike Philly, which is not a good place to go for a Pittsburgh fan of any sport,” said Peter Vonderlieth, 40, who with Steve King, 38, drove 615 miles from New York City to arrive a few hours before game time.
Inside, the place was crowded with Pens. Just before reaching the door, a man learned from a passing car window and yelled an obscenity-laced welcome to the Motor City.
“Well, almost everyone is nice,” Vonderlieth said with a laugh. “That’s still better than we get in Philly.”
.
“Wearing a gold knit cap and matching Mario Lemieux sweater with a Penguins logo painted on her face, ” writes Kevin Gorman, “Joanna Brunken stood out in a crowd of Detroit Red Wings fans at Joe Louis Arena.
The Spring Hill resident made the road trip for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final…only to be surrounded by red jerseys — including one worn by her uncle, Richard Michael, a Wings fan since moving here in January.
“It’s my first away game,” Brunken said. “I’m not a big fan of the Red Wings. It’s not really scary, but it definitely makes me nauseous.
“Penguins fans? Don’t underestimate them.”
TRADITION
Andrew Scampone, of Fox Chapel, attended that series opener last year with friends Sarah Moen, of Gibsonia, and J.B. Loughney, of Forest Hills. The trio had such a positive experience that they decided to purchase tickets on StubHub.com within minutes of the Penguins’ sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday in the Eastern Conference final.
“I was taken aback by how many Penguins fans are here,” Scampone said.
“It was electric last year,” Loughney said.
Moen finished his thought: “That’s why we came back.”
MEETING PLACE
ALL AROUND DOWNTOWN
“There will be 5,000, maybe way more Penguins fans here tonight,” Staniszewski said. “They are everywhere downtown right now. It’s easier for them to get into the games here than back in Pittsburgh. Our bad economy is making that possible for them.”
GO PENS
The cheers exploded in Joe Louis Arena when the Red Wings scored first in Saturday night’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. But the roar of approval was almost as loud when the Penguins tied the game 1-1 just before the end of the first period.
“It’s kind of hard to tell the difference between, ‘Let’s go Pens,’ and, ‘Let’s go Wings,’ but we’re trying to be heard here,” said Sam Walch, an Australian automation engineer who works in the steel industry in Pittsburgh.
The color scheme inside The Joe Saturday was decidedly Red Wings red and white.
SOME ARE PENS FANS IN DETROIT
COST OF TICKETS
Filling Joe Louis Arena is a challenging task these days, even during the Stanley Cup finals.
“Even though we work there, we can’t get tickets,” said Steve Ducouer, who sells Penguins merchandise for the team in Pittsburgh and was proudly sporting the powder blue Penguins throwback jersey worn at the Winter Classic two years ago.
Him and his wife, Christina, made the trip Sunday to share the game as a fifth anniversary present to each other.
Ken Simon, another Pittsburgh cop in a group of four that wore baby blue Penguins alternate jerseys, paid $240 apiece for center-ice tickets for Game 1. Back home in Pittsburgh, similar tickets would cost more than $1,000, he said.
Mike and Kate Filoni, of Hampton, were stunned they could buy two seats together for $190 apiece in the lower bowl through the Red Wings’ official Web site as late as Thursday.
John Staniszewski Jr. of Harper Woods, came to the game wearing his Red Wings jersey.  Staniszewski and his buddy, Dustin Duwayne Hoffman of St. Clair Shores, paid $100 each for standing-room-only tickets.
“Way cheaper, even when you figure in the travel costs and motel stay,” said Pittsburgh police officer Bob Plata. “We were up here for the Super Bowl, too. It’s a great place to come if you’re a Pittsburgh fan. We love Detroit.”
“You see a lot more in warm-ups because they move all the way down to our glass,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “They kind of disappear during the game. They’re all scattered (because) they don’t get seats together. We have very good fan support at home, and it’s a short drive, so I’m sure if they could get tickets, they got ’em. It’s always good to see the fan support.”
Orpik, however, smiled when recalling how Penguins fans drowned out Carolina fans by chanting “M-V-P” for Hart Trophy candidate Evgeni Malkin after he scored a goal in Game 3 at RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.
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