The Pacers, at the same time, continue to pursue roster upgrades of their own

Barry Trotz, coach, Washington Capitals: “I think the buildings are probably better than they ever have been. The ice technology and what the NHL does is probably better than ever before. Probably the speed of the game, the technology of the game, the blades are a lot harder using different components, the skates are a lot stiffer, guys are digging in, they’re stronger. It’s sort of evolution. We’re a society that tends to complain about everything. It is what it is. Everybody wants a voice, everybody wants it perfect, and it’s not going to be. Life isn’t that way.”

NHL team senior executive: “We’ve discovered this with our own players. Ice seems bad when someone says it’s bad. When no one’s talking about it, no one notices it.”

Retired player, current Eastern Conference scout: “That’s a tough one. It looks like it varies from building to building. So many events going on in the arenas nowadays. I think it has some [negative] effect.”

Eastern Conference executive: “On one hand, the buildings are being used so much more for non-hockey events. But the NHL is also so much more cognizant of the engineering and technology that go into making the best ice possible. They are surely doing the best they can for the players’ safety and the game. It’s not a major issue, from what I hear.”

USA Today reported Wednesday that George recently met with Pacers owner Herb Simon to expound face-to-face on what he told ESPN’s Marc Stein last week during All-Star festivities on ESPN Radio: George still longs to lead Indiana to its first NBA championship but wants to know he is part of a title-contending roster before committing to a lucrative contract extension this summer.

Sources confirmed to ESPN in the wake of that meeting that Indiana has since invited teams such as the Lakers and Boston Celtics to make pitches for George in advance of Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. The Pacers, at the same time, also continue to pursue roster upgrades of their own, after ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported last week that the Pacers have made their first-round pick in the June draft available in trade conversations in hopes of strengthening George’s supporting cast.