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Penguins Report: (Preseason) Game Day at Columbus

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins are boarding the plane for a quick flight to Columbus. Jason Seidling is making the trip and you can check out his in-game blog for all of Friday's action.

The bullets from Friday:
  • Sidney Crosby practiced for the first time since a hip flexor kept him out of Wednesday's third period and Thursday's practice (11:22 AM). 
  • The Penguins and Capitals are filming the NHL's version of "Hard Knocks" in the HBO show 24/7 (8:52 AM).
  • Some quick info on the Pens' lineup and game info (8:30 AM).
  • The line combinations from the morning skate (10:08 AM).
  • Good article on CONSOL Energy Center saving the Pens (9:12 AM).
  • Chris Kunitz and Eric Godard helped out with WDVE's radiothon (8:56 AM)
  • New wall murials are going up every day, pics included (10:30 AM).
  • Vidoes and interviews of the day (11:55 AM).

11:55 AM:
Sounds heard around the locker room:

Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma

On putting together preseason rosters and if he plays the team's stars on the road:
I think preseason to preseason, depending on where you’re playing, the answer to that question will change. With Game 1 here in the new building, there was certainly some consideration given to players that have been on the team for a while and it was special to play in the first game. But that was the consideration for Games 1 and 2 here. It’s been different in past years when we were in Montreal and Toronto.

On who will coach the power play
Coach Reirden and myself will be handling the power play. With some of the scouting and behind the scenes work, Todd will be helping out. I also will be taking a major role on the power play. (The power play) was one of the homework assignments we worked on over the summer. We actually gave the homework assignment to Tony Grenato – a penalty kill guy with a penalty kill mindset. He was just looking at what other teams did on their power plays and with a little different mindset as a penalty killer, and a fresh approach for this season. We looked at different things and some different aspects of successful power plays. We clearly had our personnel in mind when I took bits and pieces from successful power plays around the league.

On who will quarterback the power play
I think as the preseason plays itself out, each guy will get an opportunity in that position, (Goligoski), (Martin) and (Letang). One's a right shot, which is something different than the other two, and that will be the person bringing the puck up the ice as well. Entering the zone as we bring it up the ice, that’s a critical part of the game in getting the puck where we need it to go upon entry and retrieval for our power play.

On getting AHL players to build their game to the NHL level
In our organization, we try to clearly define and establish players’ foundation in what they do and what they’re going to be successful at and how they play. So when you see his game, it should look like that players’ foundation. So Mark Letestu and Tim Wallace and Nick Johnson, these guys clearly understand what they’re bringing to the game each and every night and how to be successful by bringing their game to our team. In terms of training, we try to put those players in opportunities to be that type of player. If we put Mark Letestu in a fourth line role tonight and play him with Tony (Granato) and myself, he’s not going to have much chance to do what he can do for our team. So in an exhibition, you’ll see players playing higher up in the lineup or playing on the power play when, possibly, in the regular season on a call-up he won’t get that opportunity. So we’ve given them an opportunity to bring their assets and their foundation to the game tonight and that’s why you see Brett Sterling with Sidney Crosby on Day 1 and Mark Letestu playing in a center position higher in a lineup.

On Dustin Jeffrey
I think Dustin’s a guy right now who is probably playing a little bit more. With his offseason and his games in London and how he’s played here in camp I think he’s earned a little bit more of a bump up in the lineup tonight, and he’s going to get that chance to play with some good players and have success in a higher role tonight.

Maxime Talbot

On Wednesday night's performance:
We are going to try to do the same thing they did tonight. We really appreciate their work ethic and the way they came out. It was pretty amazing to see the first period and the guys skating hard. You feel like everybody was out there executing the system. We have all been in the same system for a couple of years now. You just have to play your game and work hard. That's what we are going to try to do.

On the tempo on Wednesday
The guys came out strong right from the first period. I was sitting up (in the media level) saying to myself 'the guys are flying down there.' It's nice to see that during the first exhibition game.

Alex Goligoski

Assists Tony Jovenitti and Jason Seidling


11:22 AM:
Sidney Crosby was on the ice for the Penguins' 11:15 a.m. practice. Crosby is back on the ice after missing Thursday's practice and the third period of Wednesday's preseason game, a 5-1 victory over Detroit, with a hip flexor.

Crosby chats with asst coach Todd Reirden (left); Evgeni Malkin (right)


10:59 AM:


10:30 AM:
Some of the most exciting parts of moving to CONSOL Energy Center are the changes that seem to happen daily.  Just in the past 48 hours, a new mural was completed outside of the Penguins locker room.

The new mural commemorates Pittsburgh Penguins greats Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, Paul Coffey, Jaromir Jagr, Joey Mullen, and Larry Murphy.

In addition to the mural, the Penguins also put up a Stanley Cup display that the players will pass on their way to the ice - specifically leaving room to add another Cup.

10:08 AM:
The Penguins that will be in Friday's preseason game at Columbus are on the ice for their morning skate session. The line combinations at practice were:



9:12 AM:
Great article by Nicholas Cotsonika of Yahoo! on CONSOL Energy Center saving hockey in Pittsburgh.


8:56 AM:
Penguins forwards Chris Kunitz and Eric Godard took some time Thursday to participate in 102.5 WDVE's third annual "'DVE Rocks for Children's" Radiothon at Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville.

Click here for more information on how to donate to the "DVE Rocks For Children's" Radiothon.


8:52 AM:
Of course, Thursday's big news was that the Penguins will be appearing in the HBO reality TV series "24/7" with the Capitals. The cameras will get an uncensored, behind-the-scenes look at four weeks in the life of the two teams during the month of December. The Penguins brass think this is a great way to showcase the sport. And the players are excited about it too.

The first episode will air Dec. 15. Get ready to get a real peak into the Penguins' world.


8:30 AM:
The Penguins will hit the road Friday for their first road preseason game of the year, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. The two teams' lineups were revealed Thursday afternoon. Notables dressing for Pittsburgh are Mark Letestu, Dustin Jeffrey, Mike Comrie, Matt Cooke, Maxime Talbot, Arron Asham, Alex Goligoski, Paul Martin and Simon Despres.

The Penguins will have a 10 a.m. practice at CONSOL Energy Center for the players that are playing tonight. The players who aren't playing will take the ice at 11:15 a.m.

The team will fly at 3:30 p.m. and will arrive in Columbus at about 3:35 (just kidding, but it is like a 25-minute flight). But it's better than taking a three-hour bus ride, which is what the team did last season.

Tonight's game can be heard on Penguins HD Radio (streamed live at and at 105.9 WXDX with Steve Mears and Phil Bourque making the call. Also, you can follow the action on Jason Seidling's live in-game blog.

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