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Penguins Report: Game Day at San Jose

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

Richie Walsh and Sam Kasan have all of the day's Pens news packaged in your Verizon Game Day Report...

And here's new Pen Marcel Goc speaking to the media after arriving at SAP Center at San Jose this afternoon.

--Michelle Crechiolo


--Sam Kasan

Head coach Dan Bylsma had a few notes for the media before tonight's game...
  • Jeff Zatkoff is starting in net.
  • The lineup is a game-time decision.
  • Goc and Stempniak will learn as they go.
  • Beau Bennett's status is still the same. He only skated with team due to limited ice availability.

--Sam Kasan

Newly-acquired Penguins Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak landed in San Jose this afternoon and met the team at the arena. Whether they will play tonight is a game-time decision, according to head coach Dan Bylsma. Here's some shots of them arriving...

Marcel Goc with manager of team services Jim Britt

Goc shaking hands with captain Sidney Crosby

Lee Stempniak arrived shortly after

Here he is catching up with fellow Buffalo native and friend Brooks Orpik

--Michelle Crechiolo and Sam Kasan


Pens are in the Shark Tank!

Injured winger and California native Beau Bennett (hand/wrist) participated in the skate

Another one of Beau

I just want to know what Fleury is doing in the background of this picture

The captain moves in to try and score on his goaltender

Kunitz playing his north-south game

Hopefully coach Bylsma isn't trying to block a shot here

Looks like he is

No. 87

--Michelle Crechiolo and Sam Kasan

The Pens are holding an optional morning skate at SAP Center. Quite a large number of participants. Forwards Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby, Brian Gibbons, Jussi Jokinen, Taylor Pyatt, Brandon Sutter, Joe Vitale, Chris Conner, Craig Adams and Beau Bennett, defensemen Deryk Engelland, Simon Despres, Robert Bortuzzo, Matt Niskanen and Olli Maatta and goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury, Jeff Zatkoff and Tomas Vokoun.

Those not skating are Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Tanner Glass, Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi.

Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak are expected to arrive around noon(ish) at the arena. We'll ask coach Bylsma about their status for the game after the skate.

--Sam Kasan


--Sam Kasan

Wednesday was the NHL's annual trade deadline. The Pens made two moves, acquiring forwards Marcel Goc (Florida) and Lee Stempniak (Calgary) for a 2014 third- and fifth-round pick and a 2015 third-round pick. While I was traveling with the team from Nashville to San Jose, Michelle Crechiolo was back home dominating the coverage. Here's her stuff...

“But I think our goal was to try to increase our depth up front and help our forward group, which I think we’ve accomplished (without trading) anybody off our roster. So that was our main goal. And I think with the (Pascal) Dupuis injury, with the 
Beau Bennett injury, it was important for us to try to do that. So hopefully it makes us a better, deeper team.”

In fact, if it weren’t for such significant injuries to Dupuis, Bennett, Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Tomas Vokoun, Shero may have stood pat at the trade deadline. But with top-six wingers Dupuis and Bennett sidelined and Martin set to return to the blue line around the start of the postseason, Shero decided his most urgent need was up top heading into the stretch run. And with those players all on either long-term injured reserve or injured reserve, he had the cap space to do something about it.

Full story here.

“It’s a guy we had our eye on for a little while, including last year,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. “But it worked out for us this year.”

The Penguins were able to acquire Goc, a Panthers alternate captain, from Florida for a 2014 fifth-round draft pick and a 2015 third-round draft pick hours before the trade deadline to bolster their forward depth, and the 30-year-old German native is excited to be coming to Pittsburgh.

“Being part of a top team in the league is exciting, and I’m looking forward to playing playoff hockey again,” Goc said.

Full story here.

With Lee Stempniak set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, he knew his name would come up in trade talks approaching Wednesday’s deadline. It’s a tough situation to deal with, but fortunately it ended up working out as Calgary sent him to an ideal destination – Pittsburgh.

The Penguins acquired Stempniak from the Flames for a 2014 third-round draft pick right before the deadline hit on Wednesday afternoon. And the 31-year-old winger, who hasn’t been to the playoffs in his three seasons with Calgary, can’t wait to meet the team in San Jose and get going with his new club.

“I knew there was a chance I was going to be traded and had no idea where. When I found out it was Pittsburgh, I was really excited,” Stempniak said in a phone interview Wednesday evening. “A team that’s at the top of the Eastern Conference and one of the best teams in the league, and with the players they have – just heard great things about the organization. It’s really exciting and I can’t wait to join the team and start helping winning games.”

Full story here.

While the Penguins may be a new team, newly acquired winger Lee Stempniak will see a number of familiar faces when he enters Pittsburgh's locker room for the first time.

He already knows three of his new teammates – Dartmouth classmate Tanner Glass, Brooks Orpik and Taylor Pyatt – and is grateful to have that comfort level with those guys to help ease the transition.

“I’ve known Tanner for a long time,” Stempniak said. “We played together two years at Dartmouth and we’ve always had a great relationship. I’m happy to be able to play with him. It should be fun. I know Brooks Orpik pretty well too, we’re both from the Buffalo area and both lived in Boston this summer. So there’s definitely a lot of familiar faces between those two and (playing) with Taylor Pyatt in Phoenix. So those three guys I know pretty well."

Full story here.

--Sam Kasan

Check out Michelle Crechiolo's scouting report on the San Jose Sharks below.

--Sam Kasan

Good morning hockey fans! The Pens are in San Jose to take on the Sharks. Hopefully, they'll be joined by their two new additions from yesterday's trade deadline - Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak. Here are some game notes to get you ready for the game.
  • The Penguins begin back-to-back games in California against the San Jose Sharks (TV: ROOT SPORTS; Radio: 105.9 the X) at the SAP Center in San Jose.
  • The Penguins enter this contest having gone 6-3-1 over their last 10 road games.
  • The Penguins earned a 5-1 win against the Sharks back on Dec. 5 at CONSOL Energy Center despite San Jose outshooting them 45-30.
  • Pittsburgh has a three-game unbeaten streak (1-0-2) against the Sharks.
  • The Penguins are hoping to end a 10-game winless stretch (0-8-2) here in San Jose. Pittsburgh’s last win here was a 5-2 victory on Oct. 22, 1997.
  • Tonight the Penguins begin their 11th set of back-to-back games. Thus far they have a cumulative record of 14-5-1; including 7-2-1 the first night; and 7-3 in the second game.
  • The Penguins are 9-0-1 in their last 10 sets of back-to-back games.
Stick tap: Pens PR

--Sam Kasan
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