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preVIEW: An early look at Penguins at Flyers


Greetings from Broad Street in Philadelphia, and now a morning-skate update for the Dear Readers…



A look at who was where during the Penguins’ pregame practice:










GOALIE: Fleury


  • Defenseman Deryk Engelland skated the right winger on the fourth line, and coach Dan Bylsma said Engelland has practiced at that position three times this season. Engelland said he played as a forward against Montreal two years ago and “a few times” during his days with Las Vegas of the East Coast Hockey League.
    “It’s a different look,” Engelland said, noting the defensive-zone specifically. “I’ll need to have my head on a swivel and stuff.”
    Engelland is arguably the Penguins top fighter. The Penguins are playing in Philadelphia on Thursday, where the Flyers once used “vengeance” as a marketing slogan.
    Bylsma tried to downplay all of that.
    “We like have that grit, that guy in the lineup,” he said of Engelland. “It’s not particularly just because we’re playing the Flyers.”
  • LW/RW Dustin Jeffrey did not take line rushes during the morning-skate session. He also did not practice on a line Wednesday. He would be the odd forward out if Engelland plays up front.



  • D Kris Letang (lower body) participated in the morning skate, but he will not play at Philadelphia. He will miss a sixth consecutive game to open the season. He was injured Sept. 27. Bylsma said Thursday there remains “no timetable” for Letang’s return to games.
  • RW Beau Bennett (lower body) did not practice Thursday. He has not practiced since he was injured last Saturday in a win at Tampa Bay.
  • RW James Neal (upper body) did not practice. He has not practiced since he re-aggravated an injury in a win over New Jersey on Oct. 3.
  • RW Matt D’Agostini (lower body) did practice, but like Letang he was not involved in all drills. D’Agostini has yet to play in a game this season.
  • D’Agostini and G Tomas Vokoun (blood clot) are on the LTIR (long-term injury list). They cannot play in the first 10 games and for 24 days dating to the start of the season.
  • Vokoun is out 3-6 months.



A peek into how Penguins-Flyers might play out:

  • Sidney Crosby (13 goals, 20 assists) and Evgeni Malkin (12 goals, 16 assists) have really seemed take to Wells Fargo Center in the 21 games each has played in Philadelphia’s rink.
  • The road club has won eight of the last 12 in this Commonwealth Cold War.
  • Blood. There will be blood.





TV/radio appearances for Thursday:

ROSSI – The Mark Madden Show (3:30 p.m., 105.9-FM); Penguins Live with Brian Metzer (5:20 p.m.,; Hockey Night with David Todd (6:10 p.m., 970-AM).



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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