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Penguins Report: Blue Storm on the Horizon

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins will wear their blue “third jersey” for the first time on Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres at Mellon Arena at 7:30 p.m. The uniforms are similar to one’s worn by Pittsburgh in its 2-1 shootout victory at last season’s NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day against the Sabres in Buffalo.

“It’s kind of funny how that worked out,” Sidney Crosby said of the blue uniform’s return. “It was a fun experience the last time we wore them so hopefully we can build off of that. I think they look good. I think everyone is pretty happy with them, and for fans, it gives them a different look too. I think it’s a great idea.”

However, there is one slight alteration to the uniforms from the Winter Classic, as pointed out by head equipment manager Dana Heinze.

“The big thing we switched from the Winter Classic to make it unique this year, we added white chin straps to the helmets to make it more vintage,” Heinze said. “That was a last minute readjustment to all of the chinstraps for the players. Other than that, we were pretty on top of things.”

The vintage look is appropriate considering the uniforms were originially worn by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Heinze and his equipment staff – assistant equipment managers Paul Defazio and Danny Kroll – have been preparing since summer for Saturday night’s game.

“I’m really lucky that we knew well in advance,” Heinze said. “We had all summer to prepare for it. Luckily, I was able to order everything before the season started, like we did with the Winter Classic. We were well ahead of the game.”

The players started breaking in the new equipment at practice on Nov. 4, so there should be an easy adjustment for the team.

“We prepared for it,” Crosby said. “We wore them in practices so it’s not a big deal. I don’t think too many guys feel a big difference. If they do, I’m sure the (equipment staff) will make sure they’re comfortable. We won in them last time and it was a pretty fun game.”

But the equipment and uniforms weren’t the only thing new in the Penguins locker room. The name tags above the players’ locker stalls were also new, with a blue background to match the alternate look. It seems that the equipment staff didn't overlook any details.

“That’s how we do it here,” Heinze said.

> Penguins forward Paul Bissonnette cleared waivers on Saturday afternoon and will be assigned to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Bissonnette played in six games for Pittsburgh this season, notching one shot and 10 penalty minutes on two fights.

“We decided (Friday) to put Bissonnette on waivers,” head coach Michel Therrien said. “He needs to play. He’s a young player. He’s an asset for us. He’s got a good attitude. He’s working hard. His teammates like him. But he needs to play. There’s no sense keeping a player here in Pittsburgh if he doesn’t play."

Bissonnette has been a healthy scratch for the past six games and hasn't played since Oct. 28 at San Jose. 

> Miroslav Satan spent the majority of his NHL career, seven-plus seasons, with the Buffalo Sabres. Though he’s faced Buffalo on several occasions since his departure, he’ll never forget the time he spent with the organization.

“I spent most of my time there so you always remember that,” Satan said. “I don’t know too many players but many people in the organization are still there. It was a big part of my career.”

> First, Chicago Blackhawks head coach Denis Savard was removed only four games into the season. On Thursday night, Tampa Bay’s Barry Melrose suffered the same fate.

“It was more of a shock with Denis Savard,” Therrien said. “He didn’t have a chance this year. Then we saw Melrose happened (on Thursday). It’s never fun. You have to give (coaches) the trust and responsibility. You have to be patient at times. I’m glad here we have stability and it showed on the ice.”

> He said it: Satan on the Penguins’ blue jersey:

“I like it. Blue is my favorite color.”


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