A great day for (football) at Consol Energy Center

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• It struck me today upon entering Consol Energy Center that, essentially, Sir Paul McCartney was an opening act for the Arena Football League this week. Talk about perspective. When I find myself in times of trouble I’m going to think of that oddity.

• Way to take a sad song and make it better, Paul: http://penguins.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=536204&navid=DL|PIT|home

• CONNECT THE DOTS: Penguins majority co-owner Ron Burkle is a noted player in the Democratic party. The president (and soon-to-be CEO) of his NHL team has been an advisor to two Democratic presidential nominees. Gov. Ed Rendell defeated Lynn Swann, a Republican, in the 2006 election. Prior to deciding to run, Swann met Matt Shaner, a Republican activist. Shaner and Swann own the AFL’s Power, who will play home games at the Consol Energy Center that exists because of Burkle and Rendell’s deal making to reach an agreement on funding. The Power will pay rent to the Penguins for at least the next three years.  A lot of my friends ask my why when I’m home I watch political shows instead of “SportsCenter.” The easy answer is that the NHL barely exists on “SportsCenter,” but the better one is that politics and sports are a lot alike — winners, losers, and never-say-never situations.

• Stopped by the Trib Total Media Penguins All-Time Team displays before the news conference. Even if it comes off as a cheap plug, I urge fans to check it out as often as possible. I almost forgot what Jaromir Jagr looked liked in a Penguins sweater. Oh, and that virtual Stanley Cup … well, in the words of Petr Sykora, “Pretty good, buddy.”

• Consider Swann the case for early retirement. He looks outstanding, and pretty pain free. I couldn’t help wondering how badly Hines Ward might be limping around in 30 years — and if he’ll be a partner in Pittsburgh’s outdoor hockey league franchise.

• A month from now Penguins camp will be in its fourth day. I plan to have inserted “Zbynek Michalek” into my spellcheck by then.

• There are unconfirmed reports that Tim Horton’s is coming to Consol Energy Center. OK, so my favorite coffee AND 7 p.m. starts AND an elevator designated for the media AND Dr. Pepper AND a sweet media box/room setup AND far fewer rats … look, I’m not saying I won’t find something to dislike about the new arena, but I’m struggling here.

• Ran into broadcasting buddy Bob Errey today. “Look, it’s Rossi … and he’s not wearing a scarf.” (Shrug).

• OK, kids, the blog won’t be back up for good until camp grows nearer, but I’m hoping for some help with how I’ll approach Chipped Ice this season. Tell me what you want from the blog. All suggestions will be considered. I know a lot of you want me to update it more during the season. I’m game, but I’d like to make it a little less traditional than practice updates and bits of inside news and notes. So, I ask for emails from the audience, and answers to this question: What can I do to make you want to read Chipped Ice? hockeyday@tribweb.com … and thanks.

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