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Penguins Report: (Preseason) Game Day vs. Chicago

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Here's the skinny on Tuesday's preseason game (the final at home for Pittsburgh) against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks:

  • The game will be televised on FSN Pittsburgh, but will air only after tonight's Pirates game. Live action of the game can be heard on the team's flagship station, 105.9 the X - WXDX-FM (9:00 AM).
  • Both teams released their rosters for the contest (9:00 AM)
  • The line combinations for the game (10:07 AM).
  • Practice pictures (10:30 AM) and Brent Johnson's new goalie mask (10:35 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma and players discuss various topics: the approach to player evaluations in training camp; playing the Blackhawks; training camp goals; etc. (11:53 AM).
  • The Pens ran an interesting practice drill (12:34 PM) and Crosby and Letang added a side competition (2:30 PM).


2:30 PM:
At the conclusion of practice, an improvised game broke out between Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang. The two were the last ones on the ice and were rounding up the pucks when Crosby suggested a competition. Each player stood at opposite ends of the rink and had to shoot the puck from below their own goal line. The other would act as goalkeeper at the other end. Any puck that crossed the other player's goal line (not in the goal, but the entire line that stretches across the ice) counts as a point. It was a close contest, but Letang prevailed, 3-2.

12:34 PM:
The Penguins second group is practicing at CONSOL Energy Center now. They just completed an interesting drill. Both nets were placed in the same end on the goal line with Marc-Andre Fleury in one and Brad Thiessen in the other.

The coaches, who were below the goal paint, were shooting pucks around the boards. One player had to keep the puck in the zone while another tried to chip it out. If the puck stayed in the zone, then that player was rewarded with a breakaway.

The squads were split between white and black (jersey colors). In the end the black team prevailed, 9-5, and the white team did two laps.


12:17 PM:
Josh Yohe had a nice piece on homegrown NHL prospect Brandon Saad. He is currently ranked by Red Line Report as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Saad will no doubt be the highest drafted player to hail from western Pennsylvania. Here are some other local products that broke into the NHL.


11:53 AM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On balancing Crosby’s workload:
Every veteran, with the exception of a couple, is playing in four exhibition games. (Crosby) has played in two and is scheduled to get the last two. It’s not a much different procedure with Malkin and Comrie on a line that we’ve seen earlier in camp. Chris Kunitz will be with Mark Letestu and Brett Sterling. That is normally where Sid would go, but Letestu is going to get an opportunity there tonight.

On the approach with the goaltenders:
With six exhibition games it’s not a great opportunity for the depth goaltenders to show what they can do. The main focus is on Marc-Andre Fleury and Brett Johnson getting the appropriate games to be ready for the start of the season. It’s important to get a couple games of full 60 minutes for the goaltender. It’s a different focus to get that full 60 minutes in. We’re trying to get them both a couple opportunities to play a full 60 minutes.

On what makes Paul Martin special:
It’s not that he’s a Gopher (laughs). He’s a very intelligent hockey player. He’s efficient and an effortless skater. He’s able to glide out there and look like he’s not working hard, but still maintain his speed and skating to beat guys. He has the ability to look guys off. He’s able to do that defensively as well. He’s a smart player, good skater, plays efficient, plays solid defense, great stick. He’s an all-around type of player. It’s the poise in all situations and the skating efficiency that he has that makes him a special player.

On how the Penguins evaluate players in camp:
It is by committee. There is a plan of opportunity given to the players. You talk about the first two games and the second two games. Now what the team needs and what’s best for the team will take over for Games 5 and 6. The scouts, GM, coaches are involved in that process before camp started, during camp and as we get towards the end of camp. It’s what we think is best for our team. That comes down to the coaches, Ray (Shero) and some other people. After Game 4 tonight you’ll see a change heading into Games 5 and 6.

On rating the players:
We are 10 days into camp. They get rated by the day. Practice players get rated, certainly the games get rated. Players are involved in that process, but they’re not behind closed doors involved in that process – that’s the scouts, the GM, the coaches. Some players have earned more or less based on those ratings and those discussions.

Maxime Talbot

On playing the defending Stanley Cup champions:
It’s always fun to play against those types of teams. We played Detroit and we played them pretty hard. It’s always fun to beat those types of teams. They won the Cup last year so that can be an extra motivation tonight.

On guys on the bubble playing well:
I think it is important for everyone. These games mean something for all of us personally, whether it’s being on a certain line or just working on being consistent. You have to perform and work on the team’s system.

Craig Adams

On what the exhibition games mean to a veteran:
You have to show what you can do and try to solidify your spot on the team and in the lineup. You want to show the coaches what they want to see.

On having to prove himself to the coaches:
I always do. I think I will always feel that way as long as I keep playing. This is always a stressful time of year, but uncertainty kind of pushes you so that is good.

On the motivation of playing the Blackhawks:
Not really, not at this stage of the season. At this time I think you are worried more about yourself than the other team. We have to focus on what we have to do.

Arron Asham

On fitting in with the Penguins:
You are starting all over again. These are guys that you competed against and now you are playing alongside them. I am not too worried about chemistry or anything like that. It seems like when we have been playing together – me, Cookie (Matt Cooke) and Max – we have been playing well together. It’s just a matter of time.

On playing with fellow agitators like Cooke and Talbot:
Once the game is over, it’s over. When I came here I looked forward to playing with Max, Cookie and everyone else in here.

On wanting revenge after losing to Chicago in the Cup Final with Philadelphia in June:
No. It took me a while to get over the loss in the Final. That part is behind me. This year I want to get back to where I was and win the thing.

On his goals for the rest of camp:
I just want to keep getting into game shape and get my legs back. I just want to get my head ready for the regular-season games. So far it has been going well. I just want to keep making progress.

Assist Jason Seidling

10:35 AM:
Brent Johnson is rockin' a new mask. We'll get some better pictures after practice in the locker room.


10:30 AM:
Morning skate emulsions:


Brent Johnson (left) will likely start tonight; Evgeni Malkin (right)

Maxime Talbot (left); Simon Despres (right)

Ben Lovejoy (left); Alex Goligoski (right)

10:07 AM:
The players that will be in the lineup Tuesday night are on the ice. Here are the forward combinations from their morning skate:


9:00 AM:
Stream Penguins HD Radio Now
The Penguins will play their final home game of the preseason at CONSOL Energy Center against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

The game will be broadcast on a delay on FSN Pittsburgh at the conclusion of their Pirates telecast. The action can also be heard on the Penguins' flagship station at 105.9 the X (WXDX-FM) or streamed live on Pens HD Radio.

Complete rosters for the game are below:


10 Mark Letestu
12 Brett Sterling
14 Chris Kunitz
15 Dustin Jeffrey
17 Mike Rupp
19 Mike Comrie
25 Maxime Talbot
27 Craig Adams
38 Nick Johnson
42 Eric Tangradi
45 Arron Asham
71 Evgeni Malkin

3 Alex Goligoski
4 Zbynek Michalek
5 Deryk Engelland
6 Ben Lovejoy
7 Paul Martin
20 Steve Wagner
47 Simon Despres

1 Brent Johnson
36 John Curry


12 Kyle Beach
15 Fernando Pisani
16 Ryan Potulny
20 Jack Skille
22 Troy Brouwer
25 Viktor Stalberg
26 Igor Makarov
27 Jeremy Morin
28 Jake Dowell
29 Bryan Bickell
36 Dave Bolland
57 Ben Smith
88 Patrick Kane

4 Niklas Hjalmarsson
5 Jassen Cullimore
7 Brent Seabrook
32 John Scott
37 Nick Leddy
51 Brian Campbell

33 Hannu Toivonen
38 Alec Richards

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