There are plenty of signs that life is beginning to return to some sort of normal from the hell we’ve been through over the past year, more fans will be allowed at PPG Paints Arena beginning with Tuesday night’s Game Two against the Islanders.
But one familiar staple of playoff hockey in Pittsburgh will be missing, at least for the beginning of the playoffs.
The Penguins announced on Thursday that the outdoor big screen will not be set up outside of the Arena.
In a statement the Penguins said, “At this time, the Penguins have made the decision to not install the outdoor big screen for the playoffs.
This difficult decision was made out of an abundance of caution of avoid overcrowding and help keep our fans safe as we continue to emerge from the COVID pandemic.”
“We are focusing our efforts on our fans returning safely to PPG Paints Arena for the Stanley Cup Playoffs with capacity increased to 50 percent, and following protocols to protect the health and safety of those in attendance.”
Sunday afternoon’s Game One will be in front of the limited 2,800 people that have been allowed into PPG Paints Arena for the past couple months.
But game two will see over 9,000 fans in attendance as capacity increases to 50 percent on Monday.
All COVID mitigation efforts in Pennsylvania expire on May 31, with the exception of mask-wearing for those not vaccinated.
Hopefully, the Penguins have a good problem on their hand if they make it to round two and could possibly see higher attendance by then and maybe a return of the big screen?