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Penguins Report: (Preseason) Game Day vs. Columbus

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

11:52 AM:
The Penguins had a few visitors at Saturday's practice and morning skate. An amateur hockey team from Oak Hill were in the stands. Crosby took some time after practice to sign autographs for the young fans.


11:45 AM:
In today's coachspeak with Dan Bylsma, the Penguins head coached discussed the team's health, the "Ultimate Fan Game" and how he handles fringe players at camp.

On Sidney Crosby recovering from his injury:
It was more precautionary than anything. He skated yesterday for a lengthy practice. He’s ready to go for tonight.

On Brooks Orpik getting to his game:
I think it is a challenge for a player to dial up the intensity in training camp and get to your game knowing that’s how you have to play and that’s what you’re effective at. That can be a challenge. But it’s not a real challenge for Brooks, and he knows that. He’s out there trying to get his timing and his game. He’s going out there tonight ready to do that. There’s no testing the waters or trying to avoid those confrontations.
He’s going out to play the game just the way he needs to play to be effective. Even in our scrimmages, we saw him on the penalty kill and blocking shots and getting into the mentality that he needs to be in to be effective. So that’s the challenge of the physical players in camp. But they need to treat these games like it’s a real game so they can get that timing they need to be on that edge and play their game come the start of the season.

On guys coming off injuries or procedures and how they deal with training
I think as a player you want to know where you’re at and test your body in situations where you can get a response that you know what it means and what you’re body is telling you. So to not have any contact is not what they need. They want it, and they want to go out there and test themselves so they’re ready to let it fly like they need to come October 7th.

On Brian Strait’s health:
He had a healthy practice. He was dealing with a bruised foot that he picked up in practice and this will be his second day of practice today.

On the team’s health:
I think it’s pretty good. There are, for a lot of people, the normal aches and pains that you get when you go back to full contact and full speed and game situations. So there’s some soreness, but we’re better than ever.

On how expectations change for a player’s second exhibition game:
For some players, they have earned another opportunity with how they played in Game 1. There is still serious competition going on for those players that are in those positions. It’s a chance for some of the veterans to find that area of their game to be effective. Brooks (Orpik) is a perfect example of that. He needs another chance to find game speed, contact and battle level. Chris Kunitz will not be in the lineup tonight, but his second game will be the same thing. He’s certainly hasn’t gone at game speed or seen much physical contact but you see him on the forecheck. For those guys – guys who are going to be on our team – it’s another chance to ramp it up and play their games.

On knowing any youth hockey players coming tonight:
My own is coming. His whole team, the Arctic Foxes, is coming. I also saw a team from Oak Hill out there. I think it’s Tim Kennedy’s – he played in Dallas. I’m actually excited because I think it will be a pretty energetic crowd for a preseason game. We are still testing out the building so this should be a loud one tonight.

On what he would want his son to take from the “Ultimate Home Game” as a dad:
There are lots of things. I think sports are one of the best ways to teach life lessons. Sometimes you see good things and bad things. You see that throughout the course of the game, so I think as a coach I would take that opportunity to have that life lesson, where it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It could be a referee making a good or bad call. If I was bringing my kid or team to a game I would take that opportunity. It’s always easier, for example, when you are watching Sidney Crosby versus an algebra problem. They aren’t as eager to learn a life lesson with an algebra problem.

On what he says to players vying for the last spots on the team:
My policy is that it should have been very clear to them the situation they were in coming into camp. Whether that was a conversation we had in the summertime with new signees like Corey Potter. It was very clear about this opportunity coming to our organization. Once camp starts, I’m not in the business of pushing favorites or pushing one guy over the other. The know the situation they are in and the opportunities they have. Our defense is a great example of this with our No. 6 and 7 spots up for grabs. There are guys who know they have a chance to compete for that. It’s not something we egg on or say you really have to take advantage of this opportunity tonight to one player and not another player. They all knew the competitiveness coming in.

Assists Jason Seidling and Tony Jovenitti


10:39 AM:

Evgeni Malkin (right) will skate the wing with Sidney Crosby.

Marc-Andre Fleury (left) will get the start tonight.

Tyler Kennedy (right) will play with Dustin Jeffrey and Eric Tangradi.


10:11 AM:
Here were the forward combinations from Saturday's morning skate. It looks like Malkin will get a shot playing wing with Crosby.


9:22 AM:
The Penguins will have a grudge match Saturday evening with Columbus. Less than 12 hours ago Pittsburgh defeated the Blue Jackets, 5-4, at Nationwide Arena. Once again, Mark Letestu looked good. For an in-depth look at the game, check out Jason Seidling's in-game blog.


9:00 AM:
The Penguins will host the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday night, in what will be the "Ultimate Home Game," in front of a sold out crowd of students and youth hockey players.

The game will be broadcast on Pittsburgh's CW (WPCW) with Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey making the call. The action can also be heard on the Penguins' flagship station at 105.9 the X (WXDX-FM).

The Penguins teamed with to put on the "Ultimate Home Game," which helps emphasize the growing job opportunities for young college graduates and apprentices in the Pittsburgh region. distributed 8,000 tickets to students from participating post-secondary schools, while the Penguins donated tickets to the Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League (PAHL), as well as to members of the Penguins Kids' Club and Tickets for Kids Foundation.

Complete rosters for the game are below:


9 Pascal Dupuis
12 Brett Sterling
15 Dustin Jeffrey
18 Chris Conner
22 Tim Wallace
23 Ryan Craig
38 Nick Johnson
42 Eric Tangradi
45 Arron Asham
46 Joe Vitale
48 Tyler Kennedy
71 Evgeni Malkin
87 Sidney Crosby

2 Corey Potter
4 Zbynek Michalek
5 Deryk Engelland
8 Andrew Hutchinson
20 Steve Wagner
44 Brooks Orpik
47 Simon Despres
58 Kris Letang

29 Marc-Andre Fleury
39 Brad Thiessen


11 Matt Calvert
15 Derek Dorsett
16 Derick Brassard
24 Derek MacKenzie
28 Nikita Filatov
36 Ryan Johansen
39 Trevor Frischmon
40 Jared Boll
43 Maksim Mayorov
61 Rick Nash
85 Oliver Gabriel
93 Jakub Voracek

2 Nate Guenin
4 John Moore
35 Jan Hejda
45 Brent Regner
49 Theo Ruth
51 Fedor Tyutin
58 David Savard
63 Michael Ratchuk

1 Steve Mason
80 Daren Machesney

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