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Penguins Report: Game Day at Ottawa

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Michalek still game-time decision (12:23 PM).
  • Pens morning skate lines (11:31 AM).
  • Meesh brings you the Verizon Game Day Report (3:31 PM).
  • The Pens recall Tangradi & Picard (10:10 AM).
  • Malkin is a beast (10:30 AM).
  • A look at tonight’s game (10:20 AM).
  • Michalek & Vitale spit game (1:02 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on his lineup & more (1:05 PM).
  • The Pens Vault unleashes “The Save” (10:40 AM).
  • See where a Civic Arena holiday ornament comes from (10:50 AM).
  • Pens pics (12:35 PM).
  • “Can’t start a fire without a spark…” (10:00 AM).

3:31 PM:
Michelle gives us the Verizon Game Day Report. Take it away, Meesh...

1:05 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…
On his lineup:
Brent Johnson will be starting in net tonight and the rest of the lineup will be a game-time decision.
On if there will be any carryover from the Foligno-Crosby situation:
That certainly won’t be our focus going into this game. I think maybe a little too much quoting was going on in the papers. It was a 6-3 game and there was a few incidences, but I know our focus won’t be in thatdirection. We’ll be focused on the match. We have four games going into the break here, and certainly would like to start with a win tonight.
On if he would entertain the thought of playing seven D:
Every time I say I don’t like seven defense, I end up playing seven defense. So I like having seven defense (laughs).
On if he learned anything from Paul MacLean when he played for him:
I learned a lot, actually, from the time Paul was a part of that coaching staff with Mike Babcock. Paul seemed to spend a lot of time with me. We did some extra work in a lot of areas. I got fond memories of being together and him spending extra time with me in the forward area. I’m not going to tell any stories, but I’ve got a lot of fond memories.

We're dancing in the dark: Michelle Crechiolo

1:02 PM:
Sounds heard around the visitors locker room…

Zbynek Michalek

On if he’ll be good to go tonight:
As of now, I think game-time decision. I still don’t know. I have to talk to the trainers and we’ll see.
On if he’s talked to his brother (Senators forward Milan) about how he’s feeling:
I did. I talk to him on a regular basis. I saw him (Thursday) night. He seems like he’s doing better and he’s improving, but obviously with the head injuries he wants to be careful and make sure he’s 100 percent. He’s not there yet. I wish him all the best and hopefully it will be soon.
On if Milan has asked him how to deal with it:
I think he has more experience with me. He’s had a few concussions before, so he knows how to deal with it. For me, it’s the first one so I mostly ask him for help. It’s unfortunate both of us have the same problem, but hopefully we heal and we’ll be back soon.

On if he’s had any symptoms the last few days:
I had a little bit of a headache the last couple days, so that’s one of the things that we have to be careful about. Like I said, we’ll see how I feel today and we’ll make a decision based on that.

On if he feels good on the ice:
Yeah, on the ice I felt really good the last few days. I had good practices since Monday. I felt good on the ice; it’s off the ice that sometimes I have problems.

On where he sustained the concussion:
It happened in Montreal. The last five minutes of the game, I got elbowed in the head and right away, I felt not right. I went to the bench and since then, I was having problems.

Joe Vitale
On how he’s feeling:
I feel pretty good. It’s still sore; it’s still tight. But I took practice off the last couple days, so I’m feeling a lot better. I think we’ll kind of see tonight. I think it’s the coaches’ and trainers’ decision right now. But I feel ready to go, I want to play and we’ll just kind of leave it up to them right now.
On how important the rest was:
It was huge. It felt pretty bad (at first); I barely had any flexibility. I stretched out a bunch today and it was a lot better. So those days did a lot of good, gave myself the best chance to get in the lineup tonight. So we’ll see what the coaches and (athletic trainer Chris Stewart) say.
On if he knows how the injury will react in a game:
I think it’s one of those things where I feel ok out there right now, but I think when I start battling in the corners I think that’s when I’ll notice something. It’s tender, but I feel like it’s good enough for now. I’d like to go out and give it a shot.

Hey there baby, I could use a little help: Michelle Crechiolo

12:35 PM:
Pens pics...

Line up!!! (left); Gather round!!! (right)

Brent Johnson gets the start in goal tonight

Staal (left) will be a game-time decision

12:23 PM:
Defenseman Zbynek Michalek said he is still a game-time decision for tonight. He said he will talk to the trainers, see how he feels and they'll make a decision.

11:31 AM:
Jordan Staal and Joe Vitale, who both missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, are on the ice for the team's morning skate.

Here are the Pens' lines...



10:50 AM:
As you may or may not know, the Pens are selling the old Civic Arena roof in holiday ornament style. PensTV's own Katie O'Malley investigates.

10:40 AM:
It's Friday, so the time has come to unlock the Pens Vault. Inside today's episode is "The Save." Goaltender Frank Pietrangelo's wicked glove save that helped the Pens survive a playoff series against the Devils and eventually win their first-ever Stanley Cup championship (fun fact: happiest guy on the ice was current Pens color analyst Phil Bourque, who lost his man on the play - Peter Stastny).

10:30 AM:
Speaking of Meesh (below), she had a chance to sitdown with Evgeni Malkin and talk to him about his recent spectacular play and ridiculous recovery from knee surgery in the summer.

(Getty Images)

10:20 AM:
This will be the second meeting between the Pens and Sens this season, and both Michaleks may not play due to concussions. Meesh has more details on the game.

10:10 AM:
The Pens made some early morning roster moves, recalling forward Eric Tangradi and defenseman Alexandre Picard from WBS.

10:00 AM:
Good morning from Kanata, Ontario! Tonight the Pens will play the Senators at Scotiabank Place.


Last night strength coach Mike Kadar and myself had the pleasure of having dinner with two of our very good friends, Peeler and Wally, and their families. They live just minutes from the arena and had us over for a wonderful home-cooked meal and good company.

Wally is quite the music aficionado, so I’m starting the day with a request by Wally. For him, here is Bruce Springsteen's “Dancing in the Dark.”

There is a sequel to this story though. Peeler’s wife Deb turned 40 recently. So Wally, who has a tremendous voice, and his band “The Fourth Liners,” performed at her party. Here is Wally singing “Dancing in the Dark.”

The only thing that would have made this better is if Wally had swayed liked Springsteen does in the video and if Deb would have jumped on stage and danced with him – a la Courtney Cox.

Peeler was kind enough to send me the video clip. Enjoy.

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