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Penguins Report: Game Day at Buffalo

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Game day final thoughts…

  • Comrie to play; Fleury to start (1:26 PM).
  • Pens lines (12:01 PM).
  • Miller, Connolly out (11:03 AM).
  • The dads had a little morning fun at the skate (12:12 PM).
  • HBO talks to Crosby and Talbot about the Winter Classic (6:21 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Sabres, Enroth and Comrie (4:06 PM).
  • Players sign the dads’ jerseys (1:19 PM).
  • Sabres pics (10:50 AM).
  • “When I’m lost and I’m found and I can’t touch the ground, I’m plowed into the sound…” (10:19 AM).

It’s going to be a tough one tonight for the Penguins. The Sabres are an aggressive, attacking team that loves to use their defensemen on the rush and deep in the offensive zone. You’ll see a lot of Buffalo blueliners getting involved in the rush and cheating on the wall to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Hopefully, the Pens can exploit some of those risks and counterattack. This could turn into a real shootout, and should be an exciting game.

6:21 PM:
Here is an interview with Sidney Crosby and Maxime Talbot shot by HBO where they discuss the 2008 Winter Classic, which was against these same Sabres at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and look forward to the Heinz Field edition.

4:06 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma

On scouting the Sabres:
There are areas we have to be aware of. Their defensemen activate out of D zone and are in every rush. It’s not exclusive to Myers. Every time there is rush they activate their D. Their D is active in the offensive zone, coming down the back door. They’re active pinching down in the offensive zone. We’ll have to be aware of those situations.

On Enroth’s scouting report:
He’s played recently and Gilles (Meloche) watches at least two games on goaltenders if we have them. We’ll have a pretty good idea of who he is and what he does. The players will be aware of that. Some players know the difference between two goalies. Some don’t. Hopefully we’ll have enough to give the guys something on his style, what he’s good at and what we can expect.

On Comrie playing:
Mike’s a guy that can make plays. He’s a goal scorer. The best description of his game, and we’ve talked to other teams he’s played for, is when he has an edge to his game. That allows him to be that offensive player. It’s not just the physical, forechecking presence. He’s a guy that can be abrasive to play against. He’s got to play with an edge when he’s around the net.

1:26 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma said that Mike Comrie will play tonight against Buffalo and that Marc-Andre Fleury will get the start in net.

1:19 PM:
The jerseys worn by the dads in the photo today were given to them by the Penguins as a gift, along with a bunch of other items - such as polos, shirts, flags, banners, travel bags, etc. Each dad's jersey had their last name on the back along with their son's number (or a No. 10 for staff dads for 2010).

Following the morning photo on the bench, the jerseys were all collected and laid out on a table in the locker room. All the players then signed the jerseys so that all the fathers could have the entire team on them.

Zbynek Michalek (left); Matt Cooke (right)

Sidney Crosby (left); Brooks Orpik (right)

12:12 PM:
It's been a busy trip so far for the dads, but they got an extra special treat at Buffalo's HSBC Arena. All the dads were in attendance for the morning skate. Before the skate, Dan Bylsma and the coaching staff invited the dads into the locker room for the pre-game team meeting.

Maxime Talbot gets ready for the team meeting with his father Serge (left); Assistant coach Tony Granato gives the players the game plan and scouting report on Buffalo (right)

The dads take in the meeting from the back of the room

The dads welcomed the players to the ice for the morning skate by lining up the runway

Photo time! All the players, staff and dads huddled on the bench for a photo

General manager Ray Shero honored long-time Penguin Eddie Johnston on his 75th birthday with a jersey donning the number 75, saying, "EJ has the most wins in Penguins history." Shero jokingly added, "EJ also has the most games coached, so that means you have the most losses in Penguins history too."

Henry and Jordan Staal (left); Back to the team meeting (right)

12:01 PM:
The Pens lines at their skate at HSBC Arena:


11:03 AM:
According to the Sabres official website, Ryan Miller and Tim Connolly will not play tonight. Lalime is still on the ice for Buffalo, an indication that 22-year-old Jhonas Enroth may start against the Pens tonight.

10:50 AM:
The Sabres are on the ice for their morning skate.

Former Pen Patrick Lalime (left) may start in net for Buffalo tonight; D sensation Tyler Myers (right)

Mike Grier (left)

10:19 AM:
We're on the bus to HSBC Arena. Until we get there, enjoy one of the most underrated bands and songs of the 90s: Sponge "Plowed."

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