VERIZON GAME DAY REPORT
Katie O'Malley has the latest going into tonight's game.
ORPIK ON MAATTA
SID STARS AGAIN
For the second consecutive week, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was honored as one of the NHL’s ‘Three Stars.’
Crosby was named NHL ‘Second Star’ for the week ending Oct. 20 after leading the league during the seven-day span in both assists (6) and points (8).
LOCKER ROOM SOUND
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
--Michelle Crechiolo and Dave Uhrmacher
FORMER AV KOBASEW TALKS COLORADO
Pens forward Chuck Kobasew spent the last two seasons with Colorado before signing here. Of course, the Avs have a new head coach this season in Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, so he couldn't really speak to the style they are playing under him. But he did provide us some insight on his former club...
Kobasew on the Avs' biggest strengths:
"They have a lot of youth and young players, they have had some good drafts the last three or four years. Pretty good guys like (Matt) Duchene (2009 third overall pick), (Nathan) MacKinnon (2013 first overall pick), (Gabriel) Landeskog (2011 second overall pick), these guys are coming into their own and starting to be stars in the game. So they are very talented up front. Made a change in the coaching staff and some changes in management. I just think a fresh start for a lot of those guys and that is why they are playing well."
Kobasew on Matt Duchene, who scored a gorgeous goal against Pittsburgh the last time the Avs were here on Nov. 15, 2011 (I remember that play like it was yesterday):
"He has tons of skill and he is fast. It seems like the two years that I played with him he got faster the second year and I'm sure he is faster this year. He works hard at his game and is a very skilled player. A threat every time he is out there."
And finally, Kobasew on the Avs' goaltending. Jean-Sebastien Giguere is starting tonight:
"(Semyon) Varlamov is the starter and plays the majority of the games. He is very athletic. Giguere will probably play a handful of games for them, but he has been around, has won a Stanley Cup, he has a lot of experience and is a smart goaltender. And they got one of the best goaltenders of all time coaching them, so I'm sure it pushes both of them to be pretty good."
SID VS. MACKINNON
One of the biggest storylines of tonight's game is the Cole Harbor Battle. Natives Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon will faceoff against each other for the first time in what has been playfully dubbed the Cole Bowl.
Crosby expects "intense competition" versus MacKinnon
Eight years ago, an 18-year-old Sidney Crosby scored 10 points (two goals, eight assists) through the first eight games of his rookie season. Similarly, the first pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, Nathan MacKinnon, has scored seven points (one goal, six assists) in his first eight games with the Colorado Avalanche.
"I can't say I'm totally surprised," Crosby said. "I think that there's a lot of expectations for him. Skating with him in the summer, seeing him play, I felt like he was going to be able to make that transition pretty well and he's done that.
"I think there's always a learning curve, but he competes hard and he wants to learn."
Full story here.
Crosby, MacKinnon making Cole Harbor proud
What separates Cole Harbour from neighboring communities, or any of this size in Canada, is one of this country's most precious commodities. In the currency of hockey players, Cole Harbour has few equals.
That welcome sign is a tourist attraction. It says, "Welcome to Cole Harbour, home of Sidney Crosby." Being home to possibly the best hockey player of his generation made Cole Harbour a cultural novelty, much in the way Brantford and Parry Sound, Ontario, are known to hockey fans beyond Canada's borders as the places Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr grew up.
One hockey prodigy from a town this size is noteworthy, but certainly not unprecedented. Then Nathan MacKinnon came along, and for the second time in eight years, the first player selected in the NHL Draft came from this town named after a small, shallow harbor in Nova Scotia.
Full story here.
Jokinen and asst. coach Todd Reirden
Letang with the puck (and some snow) on his blade
MORNING SKATE INFO
Forwards James Neal and Beau Bennett were the only absent players from the Pens' morning skate (minus Vokoun of course). It looks like Harry Zolnierczyk may get back in the lineup on the fourth line in place of utility infielder man Deryk Engelland.
PP 1: Martin, Niskanen, Crosby, Malkin and Kunitz
PP 2: Maatta/Letang, Dupuis, Sutter, Jokinen, Kobasew
Pens coaching staff showing a lot of faith in Maatta by having him work with Dupuis on the second power play. He'll be the key responsible Dman on that unit. His play is certainly deserving.
PLAYS OF THE WEEK
For the lowdown on tonight's action, click here. If you're coming to the game, we've got some helpful tips here. And if you want a scouting report on this Colorado team, watch the video below.
START ME UP
Good morning hockey fans! Tonight the Pens battle the red-hot Avalanche in a matchup of two 7-1 teams.
- The Penguins continue along their three-game homestand against the Colorado Avalance (7:30 p.m.; TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: 105.9 the X) at CONSOL Energy Center.
- Pittsburgh enters tonight’s game riding a season-high four-game winning streak.
- With a win today the Penguins will improve to 6-0 at home for the first time since beginning the 1994-95 campaign 7-0 at the Civic Arena.
- A win tonight would also allow the Penguins to open the season with an 8-1 record for the first time since going 9-1 to begin the 2009-10 campaign.
- Pittsburgh enters tonight’s game having won four straight games against Colorado.
- The Penguins have also won three straight games against the Avalanche in Pittsburgh. Colorado’s last win in Pittsburgh was a 5-3 win on Jan. 24, 2004 at Mellon Arena.
- Following tonight’s game, the Penguins will play five of their next seven games and nine of 14 against Metropolitan Division foes. The first-place Penguins have a 3-0 record against divisional foes this season.
- Under Dan Bylsma the Penguins have a cumulative record of 39-13-9 (.713 pct.) against Western Conference teams.
(Stick tap: Pens PR)
Today's song comes courtesy of @kwalsh96: Wolfmother's "Joker and the Thief." It's an awesome song.
(This season I'm asking you guys to send your song picks to start the blog, whatever gets them pumped for the game or just a song that you really enjoy. If you'd like to put in a request tweet me at @PensInsideScoop and use the hashtag #PensReportSong).