VERIZON GAME DAY REPORT--Sam Kasan
PENS HOST MILITARY VETS
While hockey players put their bodies on the line each time they take the ice, U.S. military personnel put their lives on the line every day in the hopes of protecting the American people. The Pittsburgh Penguins made sure that a group of 13 local military veterans knew that the organization appreciated their sacrifice.
The Pens hosted the vets during their morning skate at CONSOL Energy Center prior to Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The skate was the first of a day-long program that the Pens, partnered with ATI, Dunkin’ Donuts and First Niagara Bank, are using to raise money for “Support Our Heroes.”Full story here. --Sam Kasan
PENSTV INTERVIEWSSidney Crosby James NealBrandon Sutter
THEY SAID IT
Quotes heard from around the locker room...
BONUS! Another one from Sid...
Pens head coach Dan Bylsma said that center Evgeni Malkin will continue to be re-evaluated by doctors. He added that a concussion has not been ruled out, but he hasn't suffered from headaches or disorientation at any point in time.
"(Malkin) will continue to be evaluated by our doctors tonight before the game," Bylsma said. "At this point in time we have not ruled out an concussion. I am happy to report that he has not been suffering from headaches or disorientation."
Crosby points to a treasure burried below the ice surface
Boys in blue
Did I S-S-Sutter?
Military vets are special guests at the morning skate. Welcome heroes.
Bennett ponders the aquatic life
Vitale is intrigued by some goings on at the morning skate
Letang game face
Engelland's game face
Dupuis hovers over equipment manager Dana Heinze while he fixes his helmet. Reminds me of Michelle hovering in my office when she's bored and refuses to leave. Sigh.
MORNING SKATE INFO
Pens forward Evgeni Malkin, who has already been ruled out of tonight's game, was the only missing player for the team at the morning skate. The team elevated its centers in his absence. Judging from the morning skate lines, Neal will be skating with Crosby on the top line.
The power play units were as follows:
SUPPORT OUR HEROES
The Pens are celebrating "Support Our Heroes" Military Appreciation Night against the Bolts. They've got a lot of stuff in store to show love to the brave men and women who fight for our freedom. The Pens will be wearing special camo jerseys for warmups, which will be auctioned off with proceeds going to charity. They're also hosting a special group of local military vets at the morning skate.
Full details here.
Niskanen, Orpik and Martin in camo jerseys last season
KID'S DAY AT PRACTICE
Here is a precious video. At Saturday's practice, Chris Kunitz and Craig Adams had their children skate on the ice with them. And Kunitz's son Zach takes after his dad, getting into the dirty areas of the crease to score on his dad.
As has been the case for a few years now, the Lightning’s strength is their offense. They have 61 goals through 16 games for an average of 3.81 per game, which leads the entire NHL. To no one’s surprise, Steven Stamkos is among the league leaders in points – ranking third behind Sidney Crosby and Thomas Vanek with 24 points. After going goalless in five straight games from Feb. 5-14, Stamkos has since scored in three straight – finding the back of the net four times over that span. Overall, his 11 goals lead the Bolts by a considerable margin.
Veterans Martin St. Louis and Vincent LeCavalier have been around for what feels like forever, but their impact hasn’t lessened. St. Louis may be 37 years old, but he’s right up there with Stamkos and the rest of the league leaders in points as he’s got 22 (4G-18A) through 16 games. Captain LeCavalier is also playing well, as he recently had a five-game point streak (2G-3A) and has added a grittiness to his game. He’s made a concerted effort to add more energy and physicality to his game, and that’s shown in his team-leading 50 hits.
Full preview here.
START THE DAY
Tonight the Pens host the Tampa Bay Lightning at CONSOL Energy Center for a 7:30 p.m. showdown. Pittsburgh will hit the ice at 10:30 a.m. for its morning skate. The Bolts have the ice at 11:30 a.m., although they're coming off a 5-2 victory at Carolina last night and may have an optional skate.
Since it is Sunday, I'm going to open the day with a little diddy by Sonic Youth called "Sunday."