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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Anaheim (Season Opener)

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

Celina Pompeani and Sam Kasan break down the Penguins Home Opener tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.

--Michelle Crechiolo


Sidney Crosby

Pascal Dupuis

Olli Maatta

Marc-Andre Fleury

--Michelle Crechiolo


--Sam Kasan

A lot of interesting notes from coach Johnston today regarding his style and approach...
  • Johnston likes a break in the early afternoon on game days to get away from hockey, but from 3 o'clock on he zones in on the game
  • Johnston will use analytics and observation to make in-game matchups, but won't overmatch and lose pace in the flow
  • Johnston wants the shift length to be in the range of 40 seconds
  • Morning skates will only occasionally feature line rushes and breakout reps and will last 15-18 minutes
Johnston has been waiting a long time for tonight, when he’ll step behind the bench as an NHL head coach for the first time. It’s something he’s been working towards ever since his first coaching job, which was at Camrose College in Alberta. Just a few years in, Johnston felt he was ready for the next step. So he decided to take action.

“I sent a letter to several NHL general managers, saying I’ve been coaching four years now at Camrose College and I’m ready to coach in the NHL,” Johnston laughed. “’Just keep me in mind.’ I got a few replies, (including one) from Pat Quinn at the time.”

While Johnston, now 57, ended up waiting longer than he may have expected, he’s here now. And he can’t wait to get started.

“I think everybody is going to come into tomorrow and whether you’re a new player on the team, returning player or a part of the new coaching staff, be excited, be energized, be nervous for opening night,” he said yesterday. “Around the league, I think you hear a lot of talk about how you enter training camp then you build up, build up, build up and now it’s 24 hours. For me personally, it’s really exciting. I’m looking forward to it; I’ve been looking forward to it since I acquired the job earlier in the summer. So it’s both going to be exciting and a little bit nervous as far as tomorrow goes.”

--Sam Kasan & Michelle Crechiolo


--Sam Kasan & Joey Sykes


Greiss working on his technique before the morning skate

Goc proves that pucks can fly

Downie and his tail taking a shot

This guy

Kunitz is over his illness

A crowd gathers to watch the goalies work on saving imaginary shots

Bales and Fleury whisper secrets about Greiss. They're whispering so Greiss won't hear them




The Flower

Crosby breaking the rules by parking in a NO PARKING zone

--Sam Kasan & Joey Sykes

All the Pens healthy roster players were in attendance for the morning skate.

--Sam Kasan

The Pens made a few roster moves this morning. They recalled Zach Sill, Andrew Ebbett and Taylor Chorney from Wheeling. They re-assigned Kasperi Kapanen to KalPa of the Finnish League and placed Beau Bennett on IR.

--Sam Kasan

Six-year old Adam Dickson and 8-year old Bryon Dickson, the sons of Cpl. Bryon Dickson, will drop the ceremonial puck before the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins home opener this Saturday night, Oct. 11, against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. They will be escorted to the ice by Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan as part of the pregame ceremonies honoring those affected by the Sept. 12 Blooming Grove shootings.
Also scheduled to be in attendance at the game are Tiffany Dickson (wife of Cpl. Bryon Dickson), as well as family members of Trooper Alex Douglass, including Jim Douglass (father), Doll Douglass (mother), Jim Douglass (brother) and Tara Douglass (sister-in-law).
Additionally, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, in conjunction with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, will be making a $10,000 donation to be divided between the Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson, II, Memorial Fund and the Tpr. Alex Douglass Donation Fund.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will also be wearing special police-themed warm up jerseys prior to Saturday night’s game, which will be auctioned off with all proceeds going to the funds for Cpl. Dickson and Tpr. Douglass.

--Sam Kasan


(Getty Images)

Sidney Crosby’s latest hardware is Pittsburgh bound.  Stop by the Town Square in SouthSide Works on Thursday, Oct 9 from 12:00pm – 2:00pm and say hello to the Art Ross Trophy (NHL Scoring Title), the Hart Memorial Trophy (NHL MVP), and the Ted Lindsay Award (NHL Most Outstanding Player).  Crosby captured the awards during the 2013-14 NHL season and now you can capture a photo with some of the most storied trophies in sports.
PensGear at SouthSide Works (442 South 27th St) will be open tomorrow from 10:00am – 9:00pm.  PensGear at SouthSide Works offers a full complement of Penguins apparel including the new third jersey.  Fans can take advantage of tomorrow’s Game Day Special and save $20 off a purchase of $100 or more.
The trophies will also be on display on the concourse at the Penguins home opener Thursday night at CONSOL Energy Center when the Pens host the Anaheim Ducks at 7:00pm.

--Sam Kasan

Pens fans should get ready to see a lot of winger Patric Hornqvist, as it looks like the last pick of the 2005 NHL Draft will start the season on a line with the first pick.

Hornqvist skated on Sidney Crosby’s right wing in the captain’s first and only preseason game on Oct. 1 in Detroit, and the two have been practicing alongside each other ever since. With head coach Mike Johnston announcing Wednesday that Pascal Dupuis will be with Brandon Sutter and Evgeni Malkin to start the regular-season opener on Thursday vs. Anaheim, it’s all but guaranteed that Hornqvist will start with Crosby and Chris Kunitz.

Not a bad way for the 27-year-old Swede to start things off here in Pittsburgh.

Full story here.

--Michelle Crechiolo

A lot of new faces were added to Pittsburgh's roster during the last few months, so here's a quick refresher on the players that will be wearing black and gold in front of Pens fans for the first time this evening.

In his own words: “I play a physical style of game and I think I have the capabilities to pitch in offensively as well. I’ve had some good seasons in the past with the Islanders, so I’m hoping coming in here I can get back to those kinds of numbers and continue with my physical play as well.”

In his own words: “I’m a physical player, I like to go in the areas most people shy away from. I pride my game on that. I like to take the body. That’s just what I plan on bringing to the team.”

In his own words: “I’m a puck-moving defenseman. I can get the puck up quick to the forwards and play in all aspects of the game, log some minutes and just be a good all-around player.”

In his own words: “I’m going to go hard to the net and shoot a lot and try to create space for my teammates and give the team energy.”

Goalie coach Mike Bales: “Thomas has great size and covers a lot of net. He has a good combination with his size and play-reading ability.”

In his own words: “Playing the corners, playing the front of the net, playing the so-called hard areas, that’s the style of my game. I just want to bring the work ethic, compete every night and make sure I do whatever it takes to win.”

Here's an even deeper look at the guys, what they bring and how their preseasons went.

--Michelle Crechiolo


(Stick tap: Evan Schall)

--Sam Kasan

Another season, another installment of the Trib Total Media Scouting Report from Emmy-Award winning producer Meghan McManimon and my Twitter cohabiter Michelle Crechiolo.

--Sam Kasan

Hello hockey fans. Today marks the beginning of the 2014-15 season for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they host the Anaheim Ducks at CONSOL Energy Center at 7 p.m. There are many storylines heading into this season that will play out over the next seven-plus months:
  • How new general manager Jim Rutherford will manage and operate the team
  • How new head coach Mike Johnston implements his system
  • How the Pens' roster overturn will impact their success and aspirations
  • How will the Pens' new players fit in
  • How all the new players, coaches and management will effect the dynamic in the locker room and the product on the ice
In addition, there are many other interesting facets that will develop over the course of the season. But focusing on tonight's game alone, the major points of interest are below...
  • Evgeni Malkin will play after missing all of training camp with an undisclosed injury
  • Malkin will be playing on the right wing with Brandon Sutter and Pascal Dupuis
  • Dupuis will be playing his first game since Dec. 23, 2013 at Ottawa
  • Maatta will be playing his first game since shoulder surgery in May
The Penguins enter the year with more questions than in recent years. It should be a telling and fascinating season. There is no doubt it will be full of dramatics and entertainment. Truth is, no one knows what to expect. And that will make this season absolutely thrilling. A new era of Penguins hockey is about to begin.

All that's left to do is get your popcorn ready, buckle up the seat belt and enjoy the ride. Oh, and drop the puck.


--Sam Kasan
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