VERIZON GAME DAY REPORT
Our own Sam Kasan brings us all of the news from within enemy territory...
PENS SUPPORT SPIRIT DAY
Today the Penguins and the NHL are proud to show their support for GLAAD’s annual Spirit Day, where people are urged to wear purple as well as turn their profile pictures and avatars purple in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
In honor of today's united stand against bullying, here’s Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik standing up for LGBT athletes and fans in a message for the “You Can Play” project (more information on the "You Can Play" initiative can be found here).
The team gathers at center ice
Kobasew hydrating with some Gatorade (clearly the team prefers the classic lemon-lime flavor).
Brandon Sutter and coach Bylsma have a conversation
Fleury stretches out
As does Kunitz
Assistant coach Tony Granato passes pucks from the corner
Dupuis follows through on a shot
Taking shots at Zatkoff
--Michelle Crechiolo and Sam Kasan
Head coach Dan Bylsma said that Marc-Andre Fleury will be starting in goal and the rest of the lineup will be game-time decisions. He added that the Pens may use Deryk Engelland as a forward on the fourth line. Engelland has practiced three times at the forward position this season. His addition as a forward would add some power and muscle up front.
MORNING SKATE INFO
The Pens had some interesting lineup looks at today's morning skate. The third line was Glass-Sutter-Adams and Engelland was skating on the fourth line. Letang rotated in with the defensemen and also worked with the second power-play unit. It seems like the Pens could play Letang and dress seven defensemen. Or they could play Engelland solely as a forward with the usual six Dmen and still scratch Letang.
Here are the groupings...
1st PP unit: Martin, Malkin, Jokinen, Crosby, Kunitz
2nd PP unit: Maatta/Letang, Niskanen, Sutter, Dupuis, Kobasew
Definitely a different morning skate look. I'm curious to see what the coaching staff has planned for tonight's lineup.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
Here's what new head coach Craig Berube and captain Claude Giroux had to say about playing Pittsburgh tonight...
The Flyers held an optional skate this morning at Wells Fargo Center. 15 players participated, including goalies Steve Mason and Ray Emery.
Giroux talking to a friend on the bench
Hal Gill manning the blue line for the Flyers, wearing No. 75
Look at that flex on Gill's stick
Goalie Steve Mason
Chasing after the puck
--Sam Kasan and Michelle Crechiolo
FLEURY FLOURISHING UNDER BALES
With Meloche stepping aside to spend more time with family at the end of last season, Mike Bales has stepped in to work with the organization’s NHL goalies full-time after spending two seasons as the Penguins goaltender development coach.
The change has helped Fleury start the season a perfect 5-0, his longest winning streak to open a season – behind only the eight-game streak he posted from Oct. 2-20, 2009.
“We do a couple things differently,” Fleury said. “But, I didn’t change the whole way I play. It was just little adjustments here and there. It’s been good.”
Full story here.
D'AGOSTINI RETURNS TO PRACTICE
So D’Agostini still has some time before he is eligible for a return, but in the meantime, he’s excited to take the next step of skating with his teammates after doing morning sessions with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar for some time now.
“It has been a long time so it feels good to do line rushes and stuff like that, to kind of get me back into game mode as quick as possible,” he said. “Still going to have a lot more time before I get into games, but felt good to get out there with the guys.”
Full story here.
TWITTER Q&A: MIKE BALES
Speaking of the Flyers, Bob Grove takes a look back to 1980 when Paul Gardner scored four goals in a game against Philly.
There is no greater rivalry in the NHL than Pens-Flyers. Click here for a preview of tonight's matchup. And for a scouting report on the Flyers (and their always changing team dynamics) check out Michelle Crechiolo's Scouting Report below.
START ME UP
Good morning hockey fans. Tonight in the city of Brotherly Love is the first battle in the Keystone State rivalry between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers. Here's a quick lowdown on tonight's action...
- The Penguins take on the rival Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m.; TV: ROOT SPORTS; Radio: 105.9 the X) at the Wells Fargo Center.
- This marks the first of five meetings this season between the Penguins and Flyers. The next one will occur on Nov. 13 at CONSOL Energy Center
- Pittsburgh and Philadelphia will meet in a home-and-home series March 15-16 that begins at the Wells Fargo Center before concluding the season series in the next-to-last game of the regular season on April 12 at CONSOL Energy Center.Last season the Penguins won the season series against the Flyers, 3-1, for the first time since going 5-1 in 2009-10.
- Paul Martin led the Penguins in scoring against the Flyers last season with six points (1G-5A) in four games.
- Pittsburgh enters tonight’s game having gone 3-0-1 in its last four visits to the Wells Fargo Center and 10-2-1 in its past 13 visits dating back to a 4-2 victory on Jan. 13, 2009.
- Under head coach Dan Bylsma the Penguins are 9-2-1 all-time against the Flyers in Philadelphia and 13-10-1 overall.
- After getting outshot in the season opener by New Jersey, Pittsburgh has outshot each of its past five opponents.
(Stick tap: Pens PR)
It's Pens-Flyers, so we have to get you pumped for the game with a song. But instead of picking it myself, I'm turning over the musical selection to you guys. I tweeted for some suggestions and was overwhelmed with responses. It was really hard to pick just one. So I'm going to try and get all of your song choices into future Pens Reports throughout the season - so make sure you check back to see if your song made the cut. And if you didn't make a pick and would like to send us a song, tweet me at @PensInsideScoop
with the hashtag #PensReportSong.
So here is today's song choice... --Sam Kasan