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Penguins Report: Game Day at Winnipeg

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Christmas Tree lights at the corner of Portage and Main.

While I'm fighting through the bitter cold in Winnipeg, Steve Mears is back in Pittsburgh in the warm and cozy PensTV studio to bring you today's Game Day Report.

Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On if his Xmas sweater is returnable:
The tag is still in the back. Should I return it? (laughter). I’ll take that as a yes.

On what he expects to see from Winnipeg:
I thought they played really well. They did a great job of attacking Montreal, coming in waves. They were good in their execution and forecheck, it turned into some offensive zone. They drew a lot of penalties, especially in the first period, and capitalized on that. They got the lead. It was as loud in here as I remember from last time, especially in that first period when they got going in the game.

On taking advantage of Winnipeg playing last night:
I think you’re assuming a team is going to be tired from playing last night. It only happens if you make it that way. They’ve been working hard and I expect them to play that way tonight, one game before the break. I know they want to keep their momentum going and string games together. I know they’ve played a lot of games and will try to keep their shifts short and play aggressive. It’s our job to make that a factor.

On how the Pens are playing:
We won our last two games. Before that we had a stretch of four losses in five games. I like the way we played the last game. I like the way our guys are working right now. It’s a challenge every night. It’s tough games and tough buildings to play in. We are in the process of trying to put games together. We have 2 and this is the final one against a tough team in a tough building, a team that been working really hard.

On Engelland’s suspension:
The league looks at every hit. They found reasons to suspend Deryk. I’d like Deryk to play tonight.

Pens pics...

Team gathers (left); Jets center ice (right)

Strait joins the club (left); Cooke's mustache is looking pretty furry (right)

Asham with a balancing act (left); Fleury gave Staal a little tap on the head with his glove (right)

Coach Bylsma said that Malkin, Sullivan & Kunitz were maintenanced this morning, so they weren't on the ice. He added that he hasn't decided if Strait or Michalek will play tonight in place of Engelland.

Deryk Engelland talks about his 3-game suspension...

On his suspension:
They saw something that they thought was suspendable. It is what it is. I just have to be ready to play on the 31st.

On considering his first-time offender before suspending:
No, you can’t if someone has no history. Something bad like that they can’t just not give you anything. They have to treat everyone the same no matter if it’s first time or fifth time. It is what it is.

On being a clean player kept it to 3 games:
I don’t know. I can’t say what they do. I’ll just sit back and wait for the next game.

On if his suspension will make people think he’s a dirty player:
I don’t think so. I try to play a physical, clean game. I try not to do hurt anyone. Hopefully he’s doing all right. The last thing I want is to injure someone. You want to play physical and let him know you’re there, but I don’t want to sit out with an injury and I’m sure they don’t either.

Pens sniper James Neal broke his stick during the morning skate. He called over a young fan in the stands and then tossed the broken blade over the glass to the little guy. He was all smiles when he showed his dad.

Pens on the ice for the morning skate. Malkin, Sullivan & Kunitz did not participate. The line combos were juggled in their absence. They are:

(Neal skated in rushes with the defensemen).

Jets coach Noel said Pavelec will start in goal tonight, even though he played yesterday.

The Jets played a home game last night against the Montreal Canadiens, a 4-0 blanking. So they held an optional morning skate.

Michelle Crechiolo gets you set for tonight's game with everything you need to know about the matchup. And below is her scouting report on the Jets.

With Engelland down for 3 games with a suspension, the Pens recalled Strait from WBS.

Good morning from Winnipeg! Tonight the Pens will battle the Jets for second and final time at MTS Centre at 8:30 pm (7:30 pm Central Time).


The holiday season is upon us. The clock is ticking to Dec. 25. So to get you into the holiday spirit I'm going to play "Christmas Eve in Sarajevo" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. And the song is set to an impressive home light show. Enjoy and happy holidays.

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