Sometime around 6:30 p.m., 17,132 Penguin fans will make what could be their final entrance into the Mellon Arena to watch the Pens take on the New York Rangers.
Tonight, we begin bidding farewell to the only place we have ever called home.
Formerly the Civic Arena. Currently the Mellon Arena. Always The Igloo.
Seventeen years ago, you couldn't think about the Civic Arena without thinking about the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
You couldn't help but consider it "The House that Mario Built."
You couldn't help but wish Badger Bob Johnson were around to see himself commemorated in the Penguins' Ring of Honor.
Two-and-a-half years ago, you couldn't think about the Mellon Arena without vomiting all over yourself, picturing the bulldozers coming in and Mario Lemieux packing up his office supplies in cardboard boxes labeled "Kansas City."
After tonight, you won't be able to think about the Mellon Arena without thinking about the 2009 Stanley Cup champions.
The Pens will raise their third Stanley Cup championship banner to the rafters tonight before the opening puck drops, and with it, a little piece of all of us who have bled black and Vegas gold since 1992 will be raised to the roof of Old Lady Mellon.
Our home will change, but our hearts, our hopes, and our tears will forever remain in the confines of the place we endearingly refer as The Igloo.
The Penguins begin their defense of their Stanley Cup championship tonight. All of us are going along for the ride.
What will happen?
Don't kid yourself...nobody knows.
Two years ago, nobody was giving the Penguins a chance. They breezed through the playoffs before being stonewalled by the Wings.
Last season, history said that the Stanley Cup runner-up wouldn't get back to the Finals, let alone win it.
The Pens kicked history in the teeth.
So, as we prepare for Old Lady Mellon's curtain call, one thing is certain: It's going to be one hell of a show.
Let's go Pens.
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