PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins’ abbreviated training camp will draw to a close on Friday.

Last night, it was standing room only for fans to watch a scrimmage at Consol Energy Center.

Business owners in the uptown section of Pittsburgh are glad to have hockey back.

“That is something that I haven’t seen in a very long time. That tells me that the Penguins are back,” Adam Tews said.

The key — overflowing ash trays in the cigar lounge at Smoker Friendly on Fifth Avenue.

“One of the first things I noticed when I came in today was we must have had customers here late last night because cigar ashtrays still had ashes in it, which means there were customers here until we closed,” Tews said.

Cash register totals for Tews reflect that as well.

Business was noticeably more brisk. There are many restaurants in and around the Uptown arena district, but not all business plans revolve around action on the blue line.

“I think it’s because we are a health food place and people would rather have their beer and wings on a game night then a salad,” Salad Café Owner Sarah Spencer said.

As Spencer reflected on the Penguins coming back to Consol, she wondered how much of a boost it will be for her bottom line.

“Most of our clientele is the businesses around here. We get a lot of business people. We get a lot of Duquesne students. It’s usually just that. That’s our whole business,” Spencer said.

While she and her staff prepared the salads, wraps, and pita pizzas for the lunch rush, she – like many business owners — are hopeful.

“We are happy that there will be more people coming down here, and we do hope that it does help. We are going to try again this year and see if we get anything but we’ll see,” Spencer said.

The Pens drop the puck for real Saturday at 3 p.m. in Philadelphia.


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