A good morning (skate) to the Dear Readers…
= Penguins lines/pairings from the AM practice
= Injury Update
RW James Neal (upper body) did not practice, but coach Dan Bylsma said he is a game-time decision. Neal has not practiced since Monday.
D Kris Letang (lower body) and RW Matt D’Agostini (lower body) will not play.
D’Agostini and G Tomas Vokoun are on the long-term injury list.
= Watch for This n’At
- Joe Vitale on the second line was a decoy by coaches. Expect Beau Bennett to play on the second line if Neal cannot go.
- This is the first regular-season game the Penguins will play under the new hybrid-icing format. Look for Sidney Crosby to perhaps be used in the offensive zone with unusual linemates if Bylsma can manipulate a matchup because the Penguins are getting more O-zone faceoff chances.
- Olli Maatta, 19, is playing in his first NHL game. He has the look of a player poised beyond his years, but his defense partner is the Penguins defenseman with the least NHL experience. Robert Bortuzzo has played in only 21 games.
= The Read
- For Crosby, NHL Season No. 9 starts like the others – with expectations to win: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/4810704-74/penguins-season-crosby#axzz2gfvwDjIF
- Josh Yohe with the latest on Vokoun’s status: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/4813336-74/vokoun-penguins-fleury#axzz2gfvwDjIF
- Yohe’s final Season Preview positional breakdown; DEFENSE: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/4810702-74/penguins-bortuzzo-blue#axzz2gfvwDjIF
- Columnist Dejan Kovacevic is in St. Louis with the Trib’s Team Octoburgh, but his hockey brethren in Pittsburgh are happy for this contribution on Jaromir Jagr’s likeness being removed from the Penguins’ dressing room: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/4814189-74/locker-ring-jagr#axzz2gfvwDjIF
- Recommended Devils coverage found here: http://www.nj.com/devils/
= Hear Here:
Game-day radio hits: ESPN Radio with David Todd (2:30 p.m.); Penguins 24/7-TribLive Radio with Brian Metzer (5:40 p.m.)
TV: Roots Sports Pittsburgh Penguins Pregame Show (starts at 6:30 p.m.)
Be Excellent to each other,