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From the Point Too

Penguins Meet Wings in First Pre-Season Game of the Year

The Penguins head into their first game of the pre-season this evening against the Detroit Red Wings. Having the Wings swoop through to participate in the first actual hockey game of the season is starting to be a Consol Energy Center tradition as they were the first opponent to skate against the Birds in pre-season tilt last year when the barn first opened its doors.

Personally, I am not expecting to see much tonight, but it will be nice to see hockey being played after a long off-season of NBA/NFL CBA talks. If you think that was painful, wait until next summer when Bettman and company get back in the negotiating room…. But that is a story for another day.

Today we are talking hockey.

The line-ups for each team were announced earlier today and they shake out as such…

The Penguins line-up will feature Evgeni Malkin, who has been flying thus far during camp. He will skate alongside Chris Kunitz and James Neal, which is a departure from the line he had been practicing with this week.

Richard Park will get a chance to center a second line that features Pascal Dupuis and Arron Asham. Could this be his huge audition for a role on the parent club? We shall see… 

The forwards are rounded out by Brian Gibbons, Joe Vitale, Colin McDonald, Paul Thompson, Ryan Craig, and Geoff Walker.

Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Matt Niskanen lead a group of youngsters on the blue-line. They will be joined by Philip Samuelsson, Carl Sneep and 2011 1st round draft pick Joe Morrow.

According to head coach Dan Bylsma, Marc Andre Fleury will play in two periods of tonight’s game, while Brad Thiessen will finish things off.

The Wings line-up is highlighted by Pavel Datsyuk, Tomas Holmstrom and Niklas Kronwall.

Coach Mike Babcock is clearly using this evening to at least start the decision making process on a couple of guys, as the talented Tomas Tatar, will join the likes of Jiri Hudler, Corey Emmerton and Fabian Brunnstrom – all of which are competing for roster spots on the parent club this season.

The forwards are rounded out by Dan Cleary, Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, Jan Mursak, Ryan Johnson and former Penguins forward Chris Conner.

Joining Kronwall on the blue-line: Mike Commodore, Brendan Smith, Garnet Exelby Brad Stuart and Logan Pyett.

What to Look For:

-Will Evgeni Malkin’s pre-season successes carry over into live action? We shall see. The talented Russian has been flying during scrimmages and drills and most notably, scoring goals—something that he hasn’t done a ton of since the Penguins Stanley Cup winning season in 2009. Yes, I realize that he has still done his share of scoring over the past couple years, but he hasn’t looked like a guy capable of scoring 40-plus, as he did through the ’09 season.

-Matt Niskanen needs to have a solid game if he wants to stay on this team. He has run so hot or cold since arriving in the Burgh, but it has mostly been cold during camp.

-Joe Morrow has looked very confident during training camp. He isn’t afraid to jump up on the play, has skated with confidence and has looked every bit the player the Penguins were hoping to get with their 1st round selection. Will that all carry over into live game action? There has been no evidence to the contrary and I am excited to see him in action.

-Many have been waiting to see how James Neal would fare with Crosby or Malkin, well, tonight is a big opportunity for him. Will he pull a Jordan Chase and “reach out and take it!”

-Some feel that Tomas Tatar is ready for prime time and there just may be a spot for him in the Red Wings line-up this season. I am very excited to watch him play in person, as I have yet to do so. I was a fan of his coming into his draft year and am anxious to see his offensive ability make the leap to the NHL.

-Is this Fabian Brunnstrom’s final go-round? It certainly appears that it could be… however, if there is any place in the league where a talented Swede can make it happen, it is Detroit. He has all of the skill in the world, but will the rest of his game come around? Tonight starts his quest for a roster spot.

Quotable:

Marc Andre Fleury on if this game takes on any added significance based on the fact that it is being played against the Red Wings:

“I think so. It’s always been fun games every time we play them. We have a rivalry against them. It’s always a good challenge. There are good memories from beating them. It’s always a tough game to play.”

I will be live at the Consol Energy Center bringing you all of the action. Follow me on twitter @brian_metzer for updates and stay tuned for more post game.

Filed in: Pittsburgh Penguins, | From the Point Too | Permalink
  Tags: consol+energy+center, evgeni+malkin, marc+andre+fleury, nhl, pavel+datsyuk, penguins, pre-season, tomas+holmstrom, tomas+tatar

Comments

Russian Rocket's avatar

Looking forward to the game tonight and seeing some of the young guys play.  Hopefully there are no repeats of the Orpik-Franzen incident from last year with anyone.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 09/21/11 at 05:26 PM ET

brianmetzer's avatar

I am hoping to see some of those youngsters in action… a good game… and no incidents of any kind. Just an entertaining hockey game… as entertaining as a meaningless first pre-season game can be that is…

B

Posted by brianmetzer on 09/21/11 at 05:28 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Hopefully there are no repeats of the Orpik-Franzen incident from last year with anyone.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 09/21/11 at 03:26 PM ET

Agreed.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/21/11 at 05:32 PM ET

Avatar

Wouldn’t surprise me if Nisky lost his job to Picard (or Strait or someone) and got exposed to waivers. Niskanen’s got the wheels and hands to do what Bylsma wants his defense to do, but his adjustments are just abominable. If anything unexpected happens (puck takes a funny bounce, makes an unexpected carom off the boards, a forechecker gets in the zone a little too quickly), it just turns into a Chinese firedrill when Niskanen’s on the ice.

Niskanen’s what, a 5th year NHL pro? Mentored by Zubov, wasn’t he? Playing behind Robidas after that? If he doesn’t know how to adjust to changing circumstances by now, with those two to learn from, he is never going to.

Lot of people were hard on Lovejoy toward the end of last season, but what they don’t realize is that he was being put in a position where he needed to cover two assignments simultaneously, while Niskenen practiced the Joseph Melichar ‘chase-guys-who-aren’t-your-guy’ comedy act.

Posted by steviesteve on 09/21/11 at 05:48 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

Game on!

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 09/21/11 at 05:49 PM ET

OneSmugPug's avatar

Please, Please, Please… Handshake Gate needs to get brought up in the broadcast…

Posted by OneSmugPug on 09/21/11 at 05:58 PM ET

brianmetzer's avatar

while Niskenen practiced the Joseph Melichar ‘chase-guys-who-aren’t-your-guy’ comedy act.

Line of the day…

Posted by brianmetzer on 09/21/11 at 06:01 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Lindas1st’s avatar proving that the short summer months do nothing to alleviate the obsession some Pens fans have concerning the greatest franchise in sports, the Detroit Red Wings. smile

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 09/21/11 at 06:27 PM ET

42jeff's avatar

.

Lindas1st’s avatar proving that the short summer months do nothing to alleviate the obsession some Pens fans have concerning the greatest franchise in sports, the Detroit Red Wings. 
Posted by Red Winger from oft-injured shitsacks and half-evolved apes on 09/21/11 at 04:27 PM ET

Well…jealousy does tend to drive people to extreme measures

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 09/21/11 at 06:33 PM ET

OneSmugPug's avatar

The amazing power of the Detroit Red Wings to allow their fans to overlook 40 years between championships…..years mostly spent out of the playoffs. The good news though, the 90’s glossed over a lot of things for many people, including Pens fans…

Posted by OneSmugPug on 09/21/11 at 06:45 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Like half the Pittsburgh fanbase doesn’t still check WebMD for the symptoms of Kasparaitis when the name is mentioned…

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/21/11 at 07:12 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

The amazing power of the Detroit Red Wings to allow their fans to overlook 40 years between championships…..years mostly spent out of the playoffs. The good news though, the 90’s glossed over a lot of things for many people, including Pens fans…

Posted by OneSmugPug on 09/21/11 at 04:45 PM ET

Says the guy who is a fan of a team that threatened to leave Pittsburgh, twice.

Man, it’s great to have hockey back!

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 09/21/11 at 07:16 PM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

Like half the Pittsburgh fanbase doesn’t still check WebMD for the symptoms of Kasparaitis when the name is mentioned…

aLOL

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 09/21/11 at 07:34 PM ET

Avatar

Like half the Pittsburgh fanbase doesn’t still check WebMD for the symptoms of Kasparaitis when the name is mentioned…

Like half of the Detroit fanbase doesn’t still check if there is another government bailout prior to purchasing their season tickets…

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 09/21/11 at 07:39 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

GtoL don’t start that SHIT !! the workers aren’t the Fault oif Bad/Horrible Management

Posted by Evilpens on 09/21/11 at 07:43 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Like half of the Detroit fanbase doesn’t still check if there is another government bailout prior to purchasing their season tickets…

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 09/21/11 at 05:39 PM ET

That comment has a very surreal quality, coming from a guy from a dead steel town.


Awwwww….welcome back, bitches! How was summer?

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 09/21/11 at 07:45 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Oh FFS come on…

Besides, we all know Penguin fans secretly love the Winged Wheel…

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 09/21/11 at 07:48 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Damn I missed hockey shit-talk.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/21/11 at 07:55 PM ET

Avatar

If an aggravated gum disease on webMD isn’t listed as Darius Kasparaitis, somebody with an account needs to log in and fix that immediately.

Posted by steviesteve on 09/21/11 at 08:01 PM ET

OneSmugPug's avatar

Says the guy who is a fan of a team that threatened to leave Pittsburgh, twice.

Man, I’m all about the Florida Panthers nowadays. How can one NOT cheer for a team that spent so much money on mediocre talent.

I can’t believe I just typed that without mentioning Glen Sather….

Posted by OneSmugPug on 09/21/11 at 08:42 PM ET

Avatar

Hopefully there are no repeats of the Orpik-Franzen incident from last year with anyone.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 09/21/11 at 03:26 PM ET

Agreed.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/21/11 at 03:32 PM ET

Yes, I hope no one gets injured.  At least this time there will be actual video, so everyone can make an educated comment about the hit, as opposed to the assumptions that were made last time.

the Detroit Red Wings, Presented by Amway.

Posted by Red Winger from oft-injured shitsacks and half-evolved apes on 09/21/11 at 04:27 PM ET

Fixed that for you Red Winger

Like half the Pittsburgh fanbase doesn’t still check WebMD for the symptoms of Kasparaitis when the name is mentioned…

Original.  I expect better from you JJ. 

Says the guy who is a fan of a team that threatened to leave Pittsburgh, twice.

Since you know so much about the Pens franchise, can you tell me the other time they ‘threatened’ to leave town?  It’s gonna be awesome to watch Ilitch do the same when the Wings are trying to get a new arena. 

Can’t wait to hear the complaints in A2Y when some Pens fan goes in there “trolling”.  Wings fans here never do that, especially in a Pens blog.  No wonder Tony left.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 09/21/11 at 08:46 PM ET

Avatar

dead steel town

my point exactly!

I have missed this.  Too bad its only two games a year and 1 preseason game.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 09/21/11 at 08:50 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Original.  I expect better from you JJ.

Hey, it’s preseason for me too.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/21/11 at 08:50 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Can’t wait to hear the complaints in A2Y when some Pens fan goes in there “trolling”.  Wings fans here never do that, especially in a Pens blog.  No wonder Tony left.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 09/21/11 at 06:46 PM ET

Hahahahahahahahahaha.

That was awesome.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 09/21/11 at 08:55 PM ET

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