Penguins Report: Game Day at Columbus
Friday, 10.30.2009 / 1:33 PM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
AROUND THE RINK (NATIONWIDE ARENA EDITION)
Left is the famous Civil War canon at the Nationwide Arena; Right Civil War buff/Pens VP of Communication Tom McMillan poses with the canon
With the injuries to Tyler Kennedy and Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh recalled forward Chris Conner from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Conner jumped on a flight from Manitoba to join his teammates in Columbus. While he did not skate in the morning skate, he will play against the Blue Jackets.
“They called me in after the game-day skate in Manitoba,” Conner said. “They said you got the call. Get out of here.”
Conner had two goals and three points in four preseason games with Pittsburgh before being sent to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He leads the Baby Penguins in scoring with eight points (2G-6A) through seven games. Now he’ll get a chance to show his tough at the NHL level.
“I just want to do whatever I can to help the team keep winning. It’ll be fun. I’ll just go out there and play. I hope to pick up where I left off (in preseason) and show what I can do.”
As reported earlier, head coach Dan Bylsma elected to not tip his hand during the morning skate regarding his forward units. The Penguins begin most morning sessions by working on break outs with their forward combinations and defense pairings for that evening’s game.
Today they split into opposite corners of the rink and worked on full-length breakout drills before their normal stretch period. The Penguins did not practice their power play, something they normal do at the end of their morning skate.
When speaking with reporters after, Bylsma remained coy with his game plan.
“Coaches don’t get to have too many secrets and this would be one of them,” Bylsma said. “I don’t think there are any secrets. We practiced in our lines (Thursday).”
After a few more inquires on the subject, Bylsma relented that some line combinations.
“I liked our line with Sidney Crosby last game,” he said. “That’s something that is getting better and better.
“Jordan Staal is going to play center alongside Fedotenko and Bourque. Cooke and Adams will be together. Those are the two stable guys on the third line. Staal and Fedotenko will be the two stable guys on that line. We will rotate guys in and out of there.”
Bylsma went on to say that he gave consideration to keeping Cooke and Staal together based on the chemistry they built with Tyler Kennedy (still out with an undisclosed injury). But he is intrigued with pairing Staal and Fedotenko, who played well together in spurts last season.
“It was a good offensive zone line, a good line at getting some chances with Feds being the shooter,” Bylsma said. “That is the thought process. Maybe we have Feds get some more offensive zone time with a guy who is real stable down low holding onto the puck as Jordan has shown this year.”
Here are shots from Pittsburgh’s morning skate in Columbus:
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma is hiding his lines for tonight’s game. The Penguins didn’t skate in their usual line combination drill at the start of their skate. With Evgeni Malkin and Tyler Kennedy out for the game, it is unclear what the combinations will be. We will check with coach after the skate to see if he’ll reveal his lines.
The Penguins are taking the ice at Nationwide Arena for their Friday morning skate. Pittsburgh will be wearing its blue third jersey in the game, the first time they’ve worn blue on the road since the 2008 Winter Classic in Buffalo.
Here are some shots of the Jackets’ morning skate, including a shot of rising star goaltender Steve Mason:
The Columbus Blue Jackets are making their way onto the ice for their morning skate session at Nationwide Arena.