The Kings’ only visit to the Consol Energy Center ended in a 2-1 setback to the Pittsburgh Penguins on a Jordan Staal overtime goal on February 10, 2011. Since that date, Pittsburgh emerged from Staples Center with a pair of wins: a shootout victory over Los Angeles early in the 2011-12 season and a 4-1 win over the Kings in late January.
Though Los Angeles hasn’t visited the city in over three years, one player does have more recent ties to the city of Pittsburgh. Though he was in the middle of his debut season with the Barrie Colts the last time the Kings visited Western Pennsylvania, the Consol Energy Center was where Tanner Pearson heard his name called as the final selection of the first round at the NHL Draft on June 22, 2012.
“It was a pretty good weekend, actually,” Pearson said. “I was kind of nervous because I knew I was kind of in the end of the first round, beginning of the second round-area. Probably about (picks) 25-and-up I got kind of quiet sitting in the seat and didn’t know what to expect. But when your name is called and you get to go out on stage and put a hat and a jersey and take that picture, it’s a pretty special moment.”
It’s not anything he would want to change, obviously, but when you’re chosen with the last pick of the first round, there’s not really any excess celebration or extended family dinner the night of your selection
“By the time the first round was over, I think it was 11 o’clock at night,” he explained. “It was a pretty long night so we just went back to the hotel and just kind of casually took it in.”
On taking part in any pre-draft, top prospects activities:
No, that was kind of all the top-five guys type of thing. I was here for the weekend. We got to kind of see the city and the ballpark and that kind of thing. It was pretty cool.
On any anxiety late in the first round as names were coming off the board:
I was just kind of thinking every team that went on stage, “Is this going to be the one?’ ‘Is this going to be the one?’ Fortunately, it was LA and I couldn’t have hoped for anything better.
On whether he anticipated being drafted by Los Angeles:
It was kind of all the same. You don’t really know what to expect. I had good talks with LA prior to the draft and I had a good feeling that it could be the one and fortunately it was.
On what hockey operations said to him on the stage:
Just congrats and welcome to the team. I forget what Dean said.
On the entire draft experience:
Absolutely, it’s your dream as a kid to be in the NHL and take that first step up of getting drafted by a team. It was a big leap and I think I’m doing a good job so far.