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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Detroit (Preseason)

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins


Patric Hornqvist

Nick Spaling

Brandon Sutter

--Michelle Crechiolo

Tonight the Penguins will play their first real game under head coach Mike Johnston when they host the Red Wings at CONSOL Energy Center, and he was very clear about what he wants to see from his guys when the puck drops for the preseason opener.

“It’s about competing, competing for spots and learning how to play the system,” he said. “But I don’t want the system and strategy and the style of play to overtake the compete and energy in the game.”

Johnston and his staff have spent the last three days of practices laying down a framework for how they want the team to play, and the Penguins are certainly looking forward to begin implementing what they’ve been learning into an actual game situation.

“We’ve had the ideas introduced to us, but it’s one thing to think about it and it’s another thing to do it as habit,” defenseman Rob Scuderi said. “So I think tonight’s the first step for us as a group trying to get those habits down as not just something to think about, but the instinct you play with on the ice.”

But after a long summer, center Brandon Sutter said what’s going to be most important is getting their legs back under them and into game shape.

“It doesn’t really matter what you do in camp until you play a few games and really get in that game shape you want to get in,” he said. “Just kind of get a feel, get your timing back. You have to play games to get in shape, to get that timing and kind of get things down again. It’ll be nice to get that first one over and done with and get out there and feel good and just get a feel for it again.”

Under Dan Bylsma, morning skates usually started with line rushes before going into special teams work. Under Johnston, the focus was more on getting loose and getting shots and work for the goalies with short, hard, quick drills.

“As I mentioned to (the players) this morning, they know how to take care of themselves,” Johnston said. “At this time, it’s a matter of them getting out on the ice, getting a feel for the puck. It’s more important for the goaltenders to get into a rhythm early in the mornings, so we give them good, quality shots. The rest of the guys, it was 15 minutes. They have a couple minutes with some power-play reps and then they’re off the ice. So they know their bodies, they know how to get themselves ready. It’s a matter of feeling the puck, getting moving, breaking a sweat and getting ready for tonight.”

--Michelle Crechiolo


--Michelle Crechiolo, Sam Kasan and Joey Sykes

Head coach Mike Johnston had a few updates when he met with the media following the Pens’ morning skate… 
  • Crosby skated with other injured players prior to the morning skate, and hopes he will rejoin the team in the next couple of days.
  • Malkin still has not skated.
  • The trio of Downie-Sutter-Bennett couldn’t play together tonight because of balancing veterans for games; coach still likes that line.
  • Fleury will start; Whether Murray gets action will be decided during the game.

--Sam Kasan


Morning skate laps

Bennett does a balancing act with the puck

Hornqvist with some bend on the stick

Bortuzzo unleashing a shot

Murray going over positioning with goalie coach Bales

Bennett with the snap shot

--Sam Kasan and Joey Sykes

All the Pens players listed on tonight's roster (see entry below) are at the morning skate. Extra players Boak, Seymour and Sheary are on the ice as well.

The Pens did drills in their game-day skate, rather than working in lines rushes and special teams. More implementation of Johnston's system.

--Sam Kasan

The Pens released their roster for tonight's preseason game...

--Sam Kasan

With Detroit in town, we'll start the day with a little Motown. Here is the dynamic duo of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."


--Sam Kasan
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