PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby
took his customary skate this morning during the Penguins' practice session, working with Steve MacIntyre
and Mark Letstu.
Crosby won't make his season debut tonight against the New York Islanders
, but he was certainly in a jovial mood and having fun with his teammates. He also worked the point on the power-play alongside Paul Martin
with forwards Mark Letstu, Jordan Staal
and Matt Cooke
With the luxury of the final line change, expect Penguins coach Dan Bylsma
to have two-way center Jordan Staal
on the ice whenever Islanders center John Tavares
, who leads his team with 6 goals and 10 points, takes his shift.
"Tavares did things in our last game that were very dangerous and very good in the offensive zone, cutting the seams and pulling up on rushes and looking for late defensemen," Bylsma said. "His line was dangerous in the game and could have got them on the board. In the third period, he also had several chances. Tonight, playing home gives us a chance to maybe get a little closer matchup on him than we could have on the road.
"In a perfect world, you'll see Jordan Staal
out on him a lot either with his wings (Chris Kunitz
and Pascal Dupuis
) or maybe with (Craig Adams
and Dustin Jeffrey
The Penguins players wore special purple jerseys at the morning skate and will again don the attire during pre-game warmups on Thursday while the organization supports the NHL's annual Hockey Fights Cancer initiative. Each player will sign his jersey following the warm-up, and those jerseys will then be auctioned off at NHL.com beginning on Nov. 1.
Bylsma said the lineups would be a gametime decision, but here's what rolled during the morning practice session.
- Evgeni Malkin
- James Neal
- Jordan Staal
- Pascal Dupuis
- Richard Park
- Arron Asham
- Joe Vitale
- Craig Adams
- Kris Letang
- Deryk Engelland
- Ben Lovejoy
, who posted a 33-save, 3-0 victory over the Islanders in Uniondale, N.Y., on Tuesday, again gets the nod between the pipes and Brent Johnson
will back him up.
Meanwhile, Islanders defenseman Milan Jurcina
will make his season debut in place of Mike Mottau
"Mike has played extremely well for us, as have all our D," Isles coach Jack Capuano
said. "We just want to get Juice (Jurcina) back in."
This should be the Islanders' lineup:
- John Tavares
- PA Parenteau
- Frans Nielsen
- Kyle Okposo
- Josh Bailey
- Blake Comeau
- Marty Reasoner
- Jay Pandolfo
- Steve Staios
- Travis Hamonic
- Milan Jurcina
will start in net. Rick DiPietro
will serve as the backup.
In addition to the game, there's also plenty of fervor and excitement building up over the big League announcement that will be made at 3 p.m. ET here at Consol Energy Center. Stay tuned to NHL.com for complete details ...
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale