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Penguins Report: Game Day at Winnipeg

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • All you need to know about tonight’s game in TV form (2:06 PM).
  • Kennedy has concussion-like symptoms (12:34 PM).
  • Pens lines (11:36 AM).
  • Jets lines (11:20 AM).
  • Asham from his youth (1:18 PM).
  • Around the city of Winnipeg (2:59 PM).
  • Souting the Jets (9:00 AM).
  • Bylsma on Kennedy, Benny and the Jets (1:13 PM).
  • Asham and Staal spit knowledge (1:21 PM).
  • Pens pics (1:10 PM).
  • Benny and the Jets (10:51 AM).
  • “I feel like I’m frozen in time…” (8:45 AM).

Pics from around the city...

As stated earlier, the windiest intersection in all of Canada is at Portage and Main. Seriously, I turned the corner and a cow flew past me, followed by a telephone pole.

For some baseball you can check out the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Anytime I think of summertime baseball, I think of Winnipeg.

Above is the future site of the Museum for Human Rights. For a second I thought I was in Geneva.

The Bald Eagle/Big Brother America is peering over from the US-Canadian border.

Here is today's installment of the Verizon Game Day Report. Steve Mears anchors from the warm and cozy studio back in Pittsburgh, while your reporter in the field Brian Fantana braves the cold and hard streets of Winnipeg. All for the love of reporting the news.

Sounds heard around the MTS Centre visiting locker room...

Arron Asham

On his first professional game in his hometown:
It’s definitely going to be a good time. I have quite a few family members and friends coming to tonught’s game. For a lot of them, it’s their first time seeing me play live. I’m excited for it, but you’ve got to put all of the emotions aside and just focus on the game. We’re coming here to get two points.

On what it was like back when the Jets first left:
It was heartbreaking. The city was definitely devastated. But with the way the economy was back then, they just couldn’t afford to keep them. It’s all changed now. They’re getting great support here and Winnipeg is a great city. It’s definitely cold, but it’s definitely a great city.

On if he ever thought he’d get an opportunity to play here when the team first left:
I was hoping that they were going to get a team back, but I didn’t know if it was going to be in my career or not. I’m towards the end of my career; it’s winding down now. So I’m glad I’m going to get a couple years to play here in Winnipeg.

On if this game is going to take on a little more excitement for him:
Definitely. I’m going to try to keep my nerves calm a little bit and go out there and play my game and help this team win.

Jordan Staal

On the unique opportunity to play a new team in a new city:
I was in Winnipeg a lot when I was younger just playing double-A and triple-A hockey. It’s obviously a little different feeling now playing in the NHL against the Jets. I went to a game when I was younger. It’s pretty neat to be here and to be part of a game like this.

On what he remembers from that game:
I was really young, I was probably 4 or 5. I think they were playing the Sharks. It was pretty exciting and obviously as a kid, it was a lot of fun.

On it being good for Jets fans to get a team back despite the loss to Atlanta:
No question. There’s probably a little bit of a bigger fan base here than there was in Atlanta. It’s going to be really exciting for the city and I’m sure they’re happy with it. It’s a new arena, new city for our team, and we’re excited about it as well.

On the Jets being more desperate than ever tonight:
Definitely. They’re still searching for that first win. They’d like to have a better start than the one they’ve had. It’s going to make for a difficult game for ourselves coming into this building. It’s our first shot at it here and it’s going to be a very challenging game.

Smooth landing: Michelle Crechiolo

As stated earlier, Arron Asham grew up in Manitoba and was a Jets fan as a little kid. Here he is at 8 years old playing for the Portage la Prairie Terriers. Hint: he's not the kid smiling.

Photo courtesy of Arron Asham; assist to ROOT SPORTS Dan Potash.

Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On Tyler Kennedy:
Tyler Kennedy is suffering from concussion-like symptoms and is going to be evaluated further. We were made aware of the symptoms (Sunday) night. That’s why he was not on the ice and he won’t be there tonight.

On who will take Kennedy’s spot in the lineup:
Steve Macintyre will be going in the lineup. We’ll have to rearrange our lines a little bit.

On when Kennedy sustained the concussion-like symptoms:
I’m not entirely sure about that other than (Sunday) night, Tyler went and talked to our trainers and is getting evaluated this morning. We’ll go from there.

On what he’s seen from James Neal in the early going:
A lot of what we saw last year. There was somewhat of an idea that he didn’t score goals for us. He had 22 last year and only had one in the regular season with us. But he has speed, he’s on the puck, he’s a physical guy, goes in and around the net and has a great shot. He did that last year for us and he’s doing it again this year. The puck is going in for him right now. A lot of those shots are finding their way in. He’s got a couple rebound goals. He’s also got goals with his quick shot and getting pucks in on the goalie. So they’re going in right now for him and he’s going to hopefully keep playing the way he has with speed, physicality and going to the cage. Being a factor.

On what he likes about his club so far:
We’ve played on the road. We played in some tough situations, being in Vancouver to start the season and then Calgary and Edmonton. We’ve shown we can win hockey games. Our power play (has been good) and our special teams are a plus-6 right now. We’ve got some power-play goals; that has been a factor. Our PK has been very good. We’ve given up one goal and have two shorthanded, so that’s been a big factor in our success so far. At times we’ve shown we can play with speed and be a tough team to handle. But that’s something we haven’t done consistently for 60 minutes, so we can get a lot better in some areas. Our power play has buoyed us so far, our goaltending has been good and we’ve been able to get some wins. We’ll be tested again here on the road for two.

On what he expects from this Jets team:
I expect a spirited atmosphere; I expect a spirited group. They obviously haven’t had success in the win column yet, so I expect them to come out real hard and real energized tonight and really come at us with a hard forecheck. Their D are a lot to handle. They’re in on the offense and in the offensive zone, and that’s something that can be a dangerous thing to deal with. We’re going to have to play good defense and try to exploit it and go back the other way.

On Jets fans being disappointed about not seeing Sidney Crosby:
Sid’s continuing his progress and his rehab. He’s been cleared for contact a number of days ago and he’s doing that back in Pittsburgh right now. Hopefully he can continue on with progress and at some point in time (return to game action). There’s no time table now for a return to game action. Hopefully we can see that happen down the road.

On how useful a player Arron Asham is:
Arron is a guy we signed two years ago and signed again this summer because he’s a physical presence. He’s a guy who has an unbelievable shot and can be dangerous there. He’s also a guy who can play with different people and in different spots in the lineup. He can play on the second line and third line, which he’ll do tonight. And we’ve seen what kind of a performer he can be in the playoffs. You saw that with Philly a couple years ago; we saw that last year with us. He was one of our better forwards in the playoffs last year in the first round against Tampa Bay. He adds a toughness element to your team that I know his teammates are glad we have on our team.

Jet-setter: Michelle Crechiolo

Please turn off all cell phone and electronic devices...

Asham returns home to face his boyhood team, the Jets (left); HC Bylsma scripts today's flight patterns (right)

Kunitz wonders why they spell "win" with two Ns in Winnipeg...weird (left); These Penguins have been grounded from flights - although Penguins can't fly anyway so I guess it's more procedural (right)

Park actually played in Winnipeg against the original Jets, and not the Sega NHL '94 version (left); Don't let those three cute kids fool you, they are spies planted by coach Noel (right)

Engelland is now free to move about the country (left); These Penguins are clear for takeoff (right)

Pens coach Bylsma just said that Tyler Kennedy is suffering from concussion-like symptoms and will need to be re-evaluated.

"Tyler Kennedy is suffering from concussion-like symptoms," Bylsma said. "He's going to be evaluated further. We were made aware of the symptoms last night. That's why he was not on the ice and won't be there tonight.

"I'm not entirely sure about (if something happened against Buffalo), other than last night Tyler talked to our trainers and is getting evaluated this morning. We'll go from there."

Tyler Kennedy is not on the ice for the Pens' morning skate. He's the only one missing apart from the guys who didn't make the trip (Crosby, Malkin, Orpik and Jeffrey). Here's the lines:



Here is the lineup tonight for the Jets:



Pavelec in net.

Jets pics...

Johnny Oduya sleep skating (left); Those jets are flying awfully close, hope there isn't a near miss (right)

Teemu Selanne, wait no, that's Nik Antropov (left); Brett MacLean, pretty boring photo (right)

Ondrej Pavelec (left) or Chris Mason (right) in net?

Dustin Byfuglien, or as he's more often known Adequately-sized Buff

The Winnipeg Jets are making their way onto the ice as I type.

Michelle Crechiolo gives you some details on the Winnipeg Jets.

Well, I never thought I would ever type these words, but here they are: Good morning from Winnipeg! Tonight the Penguins will battle the Jets at MTS Centre for the first time this season. The last time the Penguins played a game in Winnipeg was Feb. 16, 1996, where goaltender Tom Barrasso stopped all 32 shots he faced for his 10th shutout as a Penguin and Jaromir Jagr scored the only goal in a 1-0 Penguins' victory.

For many of the younger fans that follow the Pens, they might not remember much about the previous Jets team, which played in Winnipeg until the 1995-96 season. So to give you an idea of what hockey looked like back then, I dug up old game footage of Winnipeg vs. Toronto. It's amazing how much the quality of broadcasts have improved over the past 15 years.

Anyways, the Pens arrived in Winnipeg Sunday afternoon after a three-hour flight from Pittsburgh (note: injured players Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Dustin Jeffrey and Brooks Orpik did not come on the trip).

PensTV cameraman Mark Cottington and I had a chance to walk around the city getting video and pictures. And this place is bitter cold...and it's only October!!! The wind is blowing like something fierce. We made a stop at the corner of Portage and Main, which is supposedly the coldest windiest intersection in all of Canada. And I'll tell you this, I believe the hype. The locals need to get some global warming up here.

(Ed note: an awesome reader > @Winnipeg_Girl < informed me on Twitter (follw me at @PensInsideScoop) of the distinction that it is the windiest intersection, not the coldest as I was told. I definitely agree with that statement for sure. But it's still pretty frigid).


All that said, in honour of the friendly locals I thought it would be a good way to start the blog with Three Days Grace's "World So Cold."


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