VERIZON GAME DAY REPORT
Trib Total Media's Rob Rossi joins Sam Kasan to assess the first half and talk tonight's game. --Michelle Crechiolo
PENSTV INTERVIEWSSidney Crosby James Neal Coach Bylsma --Michelle Crechiolo
THEY SAID ITBONUS! Crosby and Neal assess the first half of the season. We've already past the midway point - can you believe that? --Michelle Crechiolo
A couple of little guys watching the skate
Coach Bylsma stops to sign autographs before hitting the ice
The whole team gathers to hear the practice plan
I can only imagine what Fleury is saying to Kunitz (he likes to chirp his teammates when they're in his crease)
Crosby never fails to attract a swarm of jerseys when he has the puck
Be-boppin' around in the neutral zone
Martin fueling up with blue Gatorade (the best flavor, in my opinion)
Neal jumps in the play while Crosby and Adams wait their turn
Martin and Fleury defend the net--Michelle Crechiolo and Sam Kasan
MORNING SKATE INFO
Here's how the Pens' forward lines and D-pairings looked at morning skate. Simon Despres, who was scratched last game, is skating on the third pairing with Deryk Engelland.
Coach Bylsma said following morning skate that Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal and the rest of the lineup will be a game-time decision.--Michelle Crechiolo
Toronto had the ice first this morning...
--Michelle Crechiolo and Sam Kasan
KUNITZ CLIMBING THE LEADER BOARD
When Kunitz woke up Friday morning, he found his name among the NHL leader board in several categories: points, goals and plus-minus rating.
The Penguins winger ranks third (tied) in the NHL scoring race with 31 points, sits fourth (tied) in goals with 14, and tops the league (tied) with a plus-17 rating.
“That’s unchartered territory for me,” Kunitz joked.
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t made the playoffs since 2004, but it looks like that could change this season. They’re one of the top teams in the East, currently ranked fifth with 15 wins and 30 points.
A big reason for that has been the play of rookie Nazem Kadri. Kadri, the Leafs’ youngest player, has been saddled with sky-high expectations and the subject of intense scrutiny since getting drafted seventh overall in 2009. He had a rough transition to the pros, bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL his first two seasons, but now seems to be reaching his potential as he is Toronto’s leading scorer. Kadri has 25 points (11G-14A) in 25 games and enters Saturday on a seven-game point streak. Kadri has scored in four straight games, including a hat trick against the Islanders last week.
START THE DAY
The Pens will battle the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at the Air Canada Centre at 7 p.m. Pittsburgh will hit the ice at 11:30 a.m. for their morning skate.
Let's start the day with a tune by Ontario native and music legend Neil Young. His father, Scott Young, is in the Hockey Hall of Fame for his journalstic work in the sport. Neil is in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. Must be some good genes. Anyways, here is Neil Young performing live with "Old Man."