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Penguins Report: Game Day at Detroit (Preseason)

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will make his preseason debut in the team's final exhibition game of the year Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. It's been a long time coming.

"Ideally you'd get at least a couple (of games)," Crosby said. "I'm not going to complain about it. That's the way it is. I'm going to make the most of this game and get ready for the regular season."

Crosby missed Monday night's game in Minnesota due to the loss of his grandmother. He missed the team's first four games due to an undisclosed injury, but his completely healthy.

"I feel good," Crosby said. "As good as you can feel in practice. I'm in good shape. It's a matter of getting in some games. I'm pretty confident that it shouldn't take too long to get that timing. Practice has been good. I'm right where I need to be."

Crosby, who is typically combined with Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis, will skate tonight with Kunitz and new Pens acquisition Patric Hornqvist.

"It doesn't change anything," Crosby said. "Our roles and what we do on a line is pretty similar. You just try to get to know tendencies. I don't think anyone does anything different. Be aware of the guys' strengths that you're playing with and play your own game. Usually they put guys together that they think will compliment each other."

The coaching staff originally planned on playing Hornqvist with center Evgeni Malkin, but since he hasn't been able to skate at all during the preseason, the coaches wanted to see how Crosby and Hornqvist play together.

"We want to take a look at different combinations of players and see how they work together," head coach Mike Johnston said.

"When 'Sid' gets the puck you just have to get open," Hornqvist said. "He's a wonderful hockey player. He can make things happen from nothing. You just have to have your stick on the ice and find those open spots."

The Pens have scored seven goals in the first five preseason games. Johnston expects Crosby's presence to be a boost to the offense.

"He's ready to play and has been anxious to play," Johnston said. "Having him in our lineup gives us that punch up front that we need. It's been tight-checking games, low scoring, low shot totals. Having a player like that that can break free and make the special play is important."

--Sam Kasan


--Sam Kasan


Sidney Crosby

Patric Hornqvist

--Sam Kasan


All about this guy...

Crosby making his preseason debut tonight for the Pens

Downie has provided the agitation that the Pens have been missing

Hornqvist will get a look with Crosby

Letang continues to skate with Ehrhoff

Fleury gets his final tuning before the regular season

Martin is paired with Harrington

All smiles in Detroit (except for some Pens staff in the stands)

Dupuis moved to his natural position of left wing for tonight's game

Harrington's last bid for a roster spot comes tonight

--Michelle Crechiolo & Sam Kasan

The Pens used the following workflow at today's morning skate at the Joe...



--Sam Kasan & Michelle Crechiolo


Oct. 1, 2014 - Preseason Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena



1 Thomas Greiss - G
29 Marc-Andre Fleury - G
37 Jeff Zatkoff - G
* Fleury will be playing the entire game.

4 Rob Scuderi - D
6 Scott Harrington - D
7 Paul Martin - D
9 Pascal Dupuis - F
10 Christian Ehrhoff - D
12 Daniel Carcillo - F
13 Nick Spaling - F
14 Chris Kunitz -F
16 Brandon Sutter - F
17 Blake Comeau - F
23 Steve Downie - F
27 Craig Adams - F
38 Zach Sill - F
47 Simon Despres - D
49 Oskar Sundqvist - F
57 Marcel Goc - F
58 Kris Letang - D
72 Patric Hornqvist - F
87 Sidney Crosby - F

--Michelle Crechiolo

Happy first day of October, everyone! Tonight the Pens close out their preseason schedule against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena at 7:30 p.m. on ROOT SPORTS. Head coach Mike Johnston told us before training camp that at this point, we can probably read a lot into the lineup. The one they're going with tonight in the final exhibition game could be very similar to the one we see in the season/home opener on Thursday, Oct. 9 vs. Anaheim.

Especially since it looks like we'll be seeing Sidney Crosby play tonight. The captain was unable to play in the first three preseason games due to injury, and missed the last two games due to the death of his grandmother. Johnston said after Tuesday's practice that Crosby was going to call him later in the day to let him know what his travel plans from Nova Scotia were, and his participation in tonight's game was dependent on those. He's listed on the roster, so hopefully he's back and able to participate in morning skate. Check back here for updates.

For the players who are trying to make that opening-night roster - especially guys like Dan Carcillo, Zach Sill, Scott Harrington, and Simon Despres - this is their last opportunity to make a final impression on the staff before cuts are made in the next few days. We'll be keeping a close eye on them.

I was born and raised in the Detroit area, so I'm going to start the blog with a song that never fails to remind me of home ... and one that I'm sure we'll hear tonight in the arena at some point.

--Michelle Crechiolo
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