GAME DAY REPORT
Celina Pompeani and Sam Kasan discuss tonight's game against the Edmonton Oilers. --Michelle Crechiolo
GAME DAY VIDEOS David Perron Ben Lovejoy Ian Cole Sidney Crosby --Michelle Crechiolo
QUOTE 'EM--Haley Sawyer
LOVEJOY, COLE TO MAKE HOME DEBUTS
After joining the Penguins for their four-game road trip out West, tonight defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Ian Cole will play in front of the home crowd for the first time since being acquired by Pittsburgh.
It’s been an especially surreal day for Lovejoy, who’s back for his second stint with the team.
“It’s weird, yet comfortable,” he said. “When I was first traded out of here, I was on a long road trip and it was 12 days long by the time I got back to the rink. Everybody just assumed I knew the ropes because I’d been with the team for so long.
“This is sort of the opposite situation. I’m back, but I know everything here. I say hello to a lot of people coming in, and I’m very comfortable. I’ve missed being here. This team has made it very easy for me to fit right back in.”
While Lovejoy is mostly familiar with everything here, this morning he did encounter a few bumps in the road – literally – trying to get to (and into) the arena.
“Our team hotel is now in the Southside, so I’ve never had to do that morning commute from the Southside to CONSOL,” he said. “I took a wrong turn and I sat in traffic for a while. I forgot how traffic is around here.”
Once he made it to the arena, Lovejoy wasn’t able to get inside right away.
“I actually stood outside for a while because I didn’t have a pass to get in the building, so I had to make some phone calls and some of the trainers came and let me in,” he said. “I had a pass waiting for me in my stall when I got here.”
The team gave Lovejoy the same locker stall he had the first time he was here. He’s on one side of Kris Letang, while Cole is on the other.
“Letang warned us that he is not a very good person to sit next to (because of all the media he gets), and I was like dude, I sat next to you for two-and-a-half years,” Lovejoy laughed. “He didn’t even remember. So I didn’t make a huge impact on his life, I guess, sitting next to him in his stall.”
For Cole, getting here was easy. The challenge was figuring out his way around once he made it in.
“I think it was actually a little harder navigating the locker room itself than getting to the rink because of how big this thing is, how expansive this whole facility is,” he said. “It’s awesome. It’s beautiful. It’s been a great day. Very eye opening for sure.”
While Lovejoy has been traded before, this is the first time Cole has experienced. So needless to say, the former St. Louis Blue is antsy to get in front of his new fans for the first time.
“Joining the team on the road, I was on the road for a week before I got traded so I’ve been on the road for two weeks straight,” he said. “So it’s really nice to get here, get to my new home and get introduced to the fans right away.”--Michelle Crechiolo
The Pens welcomed back wounded warrior Pat McIlvain in the locker room today. He's been a frequent visitor of the team. Read his story here
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
Rob Klinkhammer returns to CONSOL
Matt Fraser--Haley Sawyer
Pens head coach Mike Johnston said that defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who has missed 17 of the last 18 games with concussion symptoms, is cleared to play but the team wants him to go through a full practice with contact before he returns to the lineup. So he'll practice with the team on Friday and if all goes well, he could return on Saturday. --Sam Kasan
Beau Bennett takes one final shot
Kris Letang and David Perron: Two of the many French-Canadians
Winnik takes some advice
Brandon Sutter focuses on the net
All smiles for Sidney Crosby
Crosby takes a lap with a skating partner
Ian Cole on Pittsburgh ice for the first time
Bennett winds up
Perron receives a one-timer from Pouliot
The former Oiler Perron has 100% attention on the puck
Letang picks his target--Haley Sawyer
MORNING SKATE INFO
All the Pens were present and accounted for at the morning skate, including defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. The team used the following workflow...
DIGITAL PREVIEW--Sam Kasan
SCOUTING THE OILERS --Sam Kasan
START ME UP
Good morning hockey fans. Tonight the Pens host the Edmonton Oilers at CONSOL Energy Center following their successful 2-1-1 west coast swing. Here are some game notes to get you ready for the action...
- The Penguins return home for a three-game homestand beginning with the Edmonton Oilers (TV: ROOT SPORTS; Radio 105.9 The X) at CONSOL Energy Center.
- The Penguins are 6-1-1 in their last eight games. During that run they are outscoring foes by a 26-15 margin.
- Pittsburgh has earned at least one point in 16 of its last 22 games dating back to Jan. 20. During that span the Penguins have a 12-6-4 record (.636 pct.).
- This is the Penguins’ longest homestand since playing four straight home games from Dec. 31-Jan. 7.
- Tonight’s game is the second and final meeting of the year between the Penguins and Oilers. Pittsburgh earned a 2-0 win at Rexall Place on Feb. 4. In that game, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 22 shots he faced.
- David Perron, whom the Penguins acquired from the Oilers on Jan. 2 in exchange for Rob Klinkhammer and a 2016 first-round draft pick, scored Pittsburgh’s insurance marker that night.
- Pittsburgh has an active eight-game unbeaten stretch against the Oilers (6-0-2).
- Here in Pittsburgh the Penguins have won three straight against Edmonton.
- Going back the last 22 years, Edmonton has earned just one victory in Pittsburgh. The Penguins are 9-1-2 in their last 12 home games against the Oilers. The lone exception was a 3-1 Edmonton win on Jan. 10, 2006.
Stick tap: Pens PR--Sam Kasan