The Pens and their coach discuss their last game going into the break...
--Michelle Crechiolo and Addison Smith
Obviously this news is secondary after the Letang news, but head coach Dan Bylsma provided a few other updates...
- Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal tonight
- The rest of the lineup is game-time
- There is no update on the other injured players
LETANG TO MISS AT LEAST 6 WEEKS AFTER A STROKE
The condition is treatable with blood thinners and at this point is not believed to be career threatening.
Further testing also revealed that Letang, 26, has had a very small hole in the wall of his heart since birth. This small defect in the wall is present in all individuals before birth but seals shut in most people. It is possible that the hole in the heart led to the stroke.
Full story here.
Harry Zolnierczyk chatting with coach Bylsma
Jokinen keeps his eye on the puck
Crosby with the captain's glare
Maatta mid shot
Bort bort bort
--Sam Kasan & Addison Smith
MORNING SKATE INFO
The Pens are on the ice for morning skate. Defenseman Kris Letang (ailment) and Taylor Pyatt (lower-body) were not among the group. The team used the following workflow...
The six defensemen rotated (Maatta, Niskanen, Bortuzzo, Martin, Orpik, Scuderi).
PP1: Malkin and Niskanen up top. Crosby, Neal and Kunitz down low.
PP2: Martin and Maatta up top. Gibbons, Jokinen and Sutter down low.
Three injured Pens - Beau Bennett, Chris Conner and Joe Vitale - skated this morning with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar prior to the team's practice.
ICE CREW: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE
Below is a special blog post from Ice Crew member Rhiannon...
As always, the Ice Crew has been busy inside and outside of the arena! We want to update you on all of the great events we had the opportunity to be a part of thus far, what’s going on currently, and what we have to look forward to in the future of the ’13-’14 season!
Full blog post here.
For the fans attending tonight's game here is the fan guide. For a scouting report on NYR check out Michelle's report below...
START THE DAY
Good morning hockey fans. Tonight the Pens will play their final game before the Olympic break in a Metro Division battle against the New York Rangers. Here are some game notes to get you going...
- The Penguins play their final game before the Olympic break against the New York Rangers (TV: ROOT SPORTS; Radio: 105.9 the X) at CONSOL Energy Center.
- Pittsburgh is 11-3-1 in its last 15 games dating back to Jan. 3. The Penguins’ .767 points percentage during that span is the highest in the NHL.
- The Penguins enter tonight’s game having gone 16-1 in their last 17 home contests.
- Pittsburgh has won 10 of the past 12 games it has played against the NY Rangers.
- The Penguins have won five straight games against the Rangers here at CONSOL Energy Center, outscoring them 17-5.
- Pittsburgh is 15-2-4 in its last 21 home games against the NY Rangers.
Stick tap: Pens PR
I've got a funny story to share with you guys. On Wednesday night the Pens defeated the Sabres, 5-1, in Buffalo. In the game, Sidney Crosby did what Sidney Crosby does – burn through two blueliners and snap a shot into the goal.
After the game, a reporter asked James Neal about the "breathtaking" Crosby goal. Neal responded with a grin, "It took my breath away." (Watch at 2:15).
And ever since then the Pens staff, which couldn't compose our laughter (Michelle's cackle is pretty audible), has been singing "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin and/or Jessica Simpson (depending on age). So to start the day, in honor of Neal's perfect Internet-winning response, here is Simpson's "Take My Breath Away."
PS - I never realized how bad Simpson is at driving. She drives right down the middle of the highway. Get it together!