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Pens Report: 02.24.17

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pens held practice early evening on Friday at Heinz Field, a day ahead of their Stadium Series showdown against the Philadelphia Flyers.  

There is a lot being written about the festivities and events surrounding the colossal outdoor event. But here is what you need to know about the actual game being played. 

INJURIES

The Pens defensive corps is hurting with the recent losses of Trevor Daley (knee) and Olli Maatta (hand). While both of those players will be out until roughly late March-early April, two other blueliners might be available to play.

Justin Schultz (concussion) and Kris Letang (day-to-day) will be game-time decisions, per head coach Mike Sullivan. Both practiced with the team Friday.

Schultz has missed the past three games with a concussion, suffered Feb. 16 against Winnipeg. But he took contact following Friday's practice, the next progressive step in his return.

"I felt fine. We'll see how I feel tomorrow morning and go from there," Schultz said. "If there's no problems I should be good to go."

LINEUP

While Letang and Schultz may be available to play, one player that is ready to go is defenseman Ron Hainsey, who was acquired Thursday via a trade with Carolina.

Hainsey arrived in Pittsburgh on Thursday and joined his teammates for the first time and first practice today - though it wasn't a typical first practice.

"It's a little different than the 11 a.m. twirl around," he joked. "It was good to get out there. It's certainly fun to come in and be a part of this right away."

One final lineup decision to be made will be the team's starting goaltender. Sullivan said that decision will be made tomorrow morning, but that the team is weighing several factors.

"It's my responsibility first and foremost to try and win hockey games," Sullivan said. "We take everything into consideration when we make these types of personnel decisions. They're not easy ones by any stretch."

ICE

The Pens had a chance to test out the ice at Friday's practice. Despite the sunny and warm weather, hitting 70 degrees, the players believed the surface held up well.

"It was melting a little bit, but the puck actually went pretty well, it didn't stick," Ian Cole said. "All things considered it was pretty good."

While dealing with the outdoor elements, the Pens - a team that likes to rely on speed and creative playmaking - may have to adapt a little bit to the conditions.

"I do think based on experience of these types of games in the past, I think simplicity is a prudent approach," Sullivan said. "We should not be looking for the extra pass. We should be looking for opportunities to put pucks on the net."

WORKFLOW

The Pens used the following workflow…

Hagelin-Crosby-Hornqvist

Kunitz-Malkin-Kessel

Wilson-Bonino-Guentzel

Fehr-Cullen-Kuhnhackl

Dumoulin-Hainsey

Cole-Schultz

Letang-Oleksy

Gaunce-Ruhwedel

ODDS AND ENDS

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talked briefly about his future with the Pens. General manager Jim Rutherford told the media on Thursday that he would like to keep Fleury with the team for the rest of the year, but would discuss it further with Fleury.

The Pens goaltender since 2003 said he is looking forward to that conversation.

"I'm looking forward to see what (Rutherford) has to say and what he thinks," Fleury said. "See what way the team wants to go and we'll go from there."
 

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