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PreVIEW: An early look at Penguins vs. Oilers.


Greetings from Fifth Avenue, and a good morning (skate) to the Dear Readers…



How the Penguins looked at their AM practice:




Jeffrey-Sutter- Zolnierczyk







Marc-Andre Fleury (4-0-0, 1.75 GAA, .930 SV%)

  • Ds Kris Letang and Deryk Engelland worked together as extras during the morning practice.



  • RW Harry Zolnierczyk was recalled from AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He will skate on the third line against Edmonton on Tuesday.



  • Kris Letang (lower-body injury) practiced on Tuesday, but he will not play Tuesday. Letang also worked out with strength coach Mike Kadar before the morning practice. Coach Dan Bylsma said Letang continues to “progress” and that the next step will be to participate in a full practice, perhaps Wednesday.
    Letang on his status:
    “We go a day at a time, see how I feel when I come to the rink. For right now, it’s just trying to feel comfortable out there.
    “We trained a lot… make sure I keep my conditioning, but you can’t always do much in the gym because it’s different on the ice.
    “(Resuming physical contact) was a good first test. I mean, there was so discomfort, but I can go with it. We’re going a day at a time.”
    Letang has yet to play this season. He was injured Sept. 27.
  • RW James Neal (upper body) has been placed on the injured reserve list. It is retroactive. Neal has not played since the season opener Oct. 3.
  • LW/RW Beau Bennett (lower body) did not practice. He has not taken the ice since playing only two shifts in the final period of a game last Saturday.
  • RW Matt D’Agostini did not practice, but he did work out on his own. He should return to practice next week, Bylsma said.
  • D’Agostini and G Tomas Vokoun (blood clot) on the long-term injury list, so they currently do not count against the Penguins’ salary cap.



A peek into how Penguins-Oilers might play out:

  • Rob Scuderi, coming off four years in the Western Conference, said Edmonton was a club that caught veteran teams’ attention because of the Oilers’ young talent.
    On C Taylor Hall: “Good skill. Very dangerous. The strongest of all those guys.”
    On C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: “He’s really tricky to play against. There’s not much to him physically, but he’s so tricky that he’s a tough guy to matchup against.”
    On RW Jordan Eberle: “He’s probably the most dangerous of those guys. He’s kind of the same as Nugent-Hopkins, but Eberle plays with a little more pace.”
    On RW Nail Yakupov: “Honestly, I think he’s still trying to figure out the North American game; but if he has the puck – well, he’s figured out that part.”
    (Yakupov was not at an optional skate. He has been a healthy scratch for two straight games.)
  • With Zolnierczyk’s recall, the Penguins can keep together their fourth line of LW Tanner Glass, C Joe Vitale and RW Craig Adams. That line’s ability early in the season to establish a forecheck and win puck battles could prove tough for the Oilers, who played at Washington on Monday and on the third of a six-game road trip.
  • C Sidney Crosby can match his best start to a season with a point Tuesday. He has a point in 75 of his last 91 regular-season games.





TV/radio appearances for Tuesday:

ROSSI ­– Penguins Live with Brian Metzer (5:20 p.m.,

YOHE – Penguins Live with Steve Kolbe (4 p.m.,



Be EXCELLENT to each other,






Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

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