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Penguins Report: Game Day at Tampa Bay

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Game day final thoughts:

  • Pens’ lines - Asham is playing (11:51 AM).
  • Bylsma media briefing (12:55 PM).
  • Pens sound (12:59 PM).
  • Pens’ Winter Classic uniforms unveiled Thursday (5:00 PM).
  • Morning skate pics (12:06 PM).
  • Morning Joe (11:02 AM).
  • Tampa Bay travel pics (5:09 PM).
  • Disney World trip (5:05 PM).
  • TGI Friday’s Pens Watch Party. Tell Laura I said hi (1:10 PM).
  • Staff bowling results – I know you’re dying to know (11:16 AM).
  • Guess the Lightning don’t do morning skates (11:53 AM).

Check in with Jason Seidling’s in-game blog for all the action, starting at 7:30 p.m. I’m expecting an epic blog from Jason tonight.

That’s all from Tampa Bay. I love this city, but can’t wait to get back to Pittsburgh. It’s been a long trip. See you in the South Side.



Splitsville, sight of the annual Pens hockey staff bowling tournament. My team was victorious this year (see 11:16 AM entry for details).


5:05 PM:

We had a day off Monday, so myself and Jen Bullano, director of communications, took a drive to Orlando to hit up Disney World. It is indeed the most magical place on earth.

The only downside to the trip was that I didn't get to meet princess Jasmine (although it would probably have been a bit awkward being the only adult waiting in line, just sayin'). Maybe next year princess.

5:00 PM:
The Pens return to Pittsburgh tonight after the game. The big news for Thursday will be the official unveiling of the Penguins 2011 Bridgestone Winter Classic uniforms. A couple players will model the jersey after practice. The wait is almost over.

1:10 PM:
If you have no big plans for the game, head to TGI Friday's for the Penguins Watch Party. The Bethel Park location is hosting the event. The party starts at 6:30 p.m. It's a great chance to cheer on the Pens with a group of rowdy fans. Plus the Ice Crew will be there! Everybody wins!

Laura is my personal favorite. I mean, she plays the guitar and loves pierogies. Checkmate.

(Although Annie is a close second with her love of Mike and Tony's Gyros and tennis).

12:59 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room:

Arron Asham

On playing his first game as a Penguin:
I’ve been out for a while. It’s good to be back and I’m looking forward to tonight.

On where he’ll play in the lineup
I just want to get out there and play. It doesn’t matter where coach puts me. I just want to start competing. Whatever happens, happens.

On if he needs a hit to get into a game
It’s been a while since I’ve been checked and tested things out. I’ve done a few battle drills in practice and things have been fine. I can’t go out and play a skilled game, that’s not my game. I have to go out there and bang, create space for whoever I’m with. I want to throw as many hits as I can to get my body and mind into it.

Pascal Dupuis

On Tampa Bay:
They’re a team that is well coached right now. We’ll have to play a sound game to have success tonight.

On what the Lightning are doing to be successful
They have a lot of skill. They have a lot of guys that can put the puck in the net. We just have to play our game. It’s not going to be any different against anybody else.

On stopping Steven Stamkos:
He’s a great shooter. He shoots the puck really well. He’s a real dangerous player out there. At the same time, we have a couple guys that are dangerous on our team too. We can make them pay if they make mistakes as well. The team that plays the best defensively will win.

Marc-Andre Fleury

On the offensive weapons on Tampa Bay:

I know when they’re on the ice and who has the puck. I won’t change my style. Like anybody else, I’ll try to stop the puck.

On being rusty with only one start in two weeks
It’s a little different. I’m used to playing a little more often. I felt good in Nashville. I’m looking forward to getting between the pipes and having some fun on the ice.

On memorable wins in his career
The first one. The Stanley Cup win. That was fun to get.


12:55 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On if Tampa plays a 1-3-1:
We’ll see tonight. That’s what it looks like. Their coaching staff has been known to change things as well. They did last game in the neutral zone.

On the Lightning:
Some real distinct areas is the defensive zone, real aggressive. Attacking the puck carrier on that side of the ice with four guys. In the offensive zone they do a good job of getting pucks into the blue paint and getting a lot of guys there. They did that well. There is a clear effort from their team. The neutral zone is a different look than we’ve seen this year. Those are some things we need to be aware of going into tonight’s game.

On Asham:
Ash is a guy that pushes all in on physical contact regardless of how he feels. He’s going to go in there tonight wanting to be that way regardless of how he feels or if he’s 100 percent. He’s going to want to be that way. He’s going to be a physical guy in the game tonight. He’s got a smirk on his face to go out there and play. He’ll bring that into the game tonight.

On the D-pairings:
They change in the game depending on playing time. We like what we see from (Martin-Letang). We’d like to keep that going. Where Brooks fits in, that will change in the game depending on ice time minutes. He’ll probably see Lovejoy and Goligoski on his side.


12:06 PM:
Here are some photos from the Penguins morning skate at the St. Pete Times Forum:

Penguins forward Arron Asham (left) will make his Pittsburgh debut against the Lightning.

Jordan Staal (left) continues to look strong in practice as he works back into game shape following a foot injury.


11:53 AM:
Tampa Bay, which dropped a 4-3 contest to the Nashville Predators on Sunday at St. Pete Times Forum, did not have a morning skate today.

11:51 AM:
Here are the forward units used during the morning skate by head coach Dan Bylsma:


11:16 AM:

Before we get to serious business, I have to update everyone on the annual Tampa Bay hockey staff bowling tournament. It was a spirited affair as the four teams bowled for the right to the coveted trophy.

The Final featured a showdown between head coach Dan Bylsma's team (Paul DeFazio, Danny Kroll and Jen Bullano) and assistant coach Todd Reirden's team (Jim Britt, Scott Adams and Myself).

Jim Britt, video coordinator/fill-in goalie at practice, bowled a 209 in the championship game to lift our team to victory. He was also named the Conn Smythe winner for his efforts.

11:02 AM:
After a three-day hiatus that feels like four months, the Pens will be back in action Wednesday night in Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning. Tampa Bay is currently tied with the Pens in the standings with both teams having 11 points. The game will be a battle between two of the Eastern Confrences top squads.

The Pens lineup will get a boost with the addition of free agent signee Arron Asham. The gritty forward has been out with an upper-body injury since the preseason and is ready to make his Pens' debut.

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