Brooks Orpik, D, Washington Capitals: “I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a place that has good ice. I think Pittsburgh actually has good ice, after years of Sidney [Crosby] going over … it started with all of us bitching about it. It finally got to the point where Sid would go every day and constructively sit down with the guys who ran the rink and tell them exactly what he felt was wrong with it. It was good dialogue between them, and the ice started getting better and better. That’s the one place I think is consistently pretty good.
David Perron, LW, St. Louis Blues: “I think we all understand the business. There’s concerts, there’s different things. I don’t think it’s great. I think there’s different things in between periods. There are shows. There are so many people skating on the ice. … The temperature when [the stands are] filled up is hot. I wouldn’t want to be the guy trying to fix it because I’m not sure where to start, but it’s definitely something we have to look at.”
The Pacers lost six straight games entering the All-Star break. They sit sixth in the Eastern Conference at 29-28.
ESPN first reported earlier this week that the Philadelphia 76ers’ Jahlil Okafor was among the targets Bird has pursued to fortify the roster around George, Myles Turner and Jeff Teague.
Indiana can’t offer George one of the league’s new designated player extensions — in excess of $200 million, in this case — unless he makes one of the league’s three All-NBA teams this season. The 26-year-old, having recovered admirably from the gruesome leg fracture he suffered on Team USA duty in the summer of 2014, is averaging 22.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season.
In his first full day in charge, after Tuesday’s stunning promotion from an advisory role in the wake of the twin dismissals of longtime Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss, Johnson arrived at the Lakers’ offices early Wednesday to work the trade phones and, yes, throw in a call to Bird.