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September 30, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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Pre-game notes


A little after 10 this morning, David Perron began skating on a line with Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel during the Penguins’ morning skate before an exhibition game tonight with Detroit at Consol Energy Center.

Within seconds, I got two tweets. Tyler said it’s about time. John said it sounds like a video game line.

So just know whichever position you take – that Perron is the no-brainer choice for the left wing spot with Crosby and Kessel or that other candidates, perhaps Chris Kunitz, are better suited for the role – there are others taking the opposite view.

I wrote about Perron’s reaction here.

Johnston, meanwhile, I don’t know. Seemed a little less excited about it than Perron did.

“We want to see David in a situation where he’s playing his off wing. We know he can play there. Just put him in that spot. We’ve had Kuni there for a couple games. Last few games here, we’re just trying to experiment to get things set in our mind as to how we want to start the season.”

— The Penguins have put LW Dominik Uher, C Kael Mouillierat, D Steve Oleksy, D Reid McNeill and D Will O’Neill on waivers in preparation for the first large round of cuts this preseason.

The following players would need waivers to be sent down, so the fact that they’re not on waivers today means they’ve survived the cut for now: D Adam Clendening, D Tim Erixon, D David Warsofsky, LW Bobby Farnham, LW Tom Kuhnhackl, C Kevin Porter.

— Here’s the whole lineup from morning skate. With the team in the middle of a three in three, and if last night is any indication, there could easily be some changes to this before the game tonight:




— A video broadcast of tonight’s game will be streamed on the team’s website.

— Johnston’s thoughts on Sergei Gonchar and Derrick Pouliot, both in the lineup tonight, both of whom have had ups and downs in camp:

“A lot of times when we look at players in training camp, we tend to dwell on the weaknesses and say, ‘What do we need to see?’ But a lot of players, like Gonch or like Pouliot, who we were talking about the other day, we need to see their strengths come out. Their strengths in puck movement, passing the puck, good puck movement, quarterbacking the power play, taking charge of the power play. Then they try to work on areas of their game that we’ve talked to them about during training camp. For all those players who are sort of vying for positions, they’ve got to continue to progress.”

— With two exhibition games left, many Penguins players are getting into dress-rehearsal mode. That’s not necessarily the case for center Nick Bonino, who missed about a week with an illness.

“Last game, I was tired for a good amount,” Bonino said. “I think in the second and third, I got my legs a little more. Hopefully tonight it’ll go a little better. Have a little better lungs.”

— Johnston said Eric Fehr (elbow) is still weeks away.

“I think his shot is still 40, 50 percent. It’s still a ways to go. Everything else he’s doing out there – his skating, his puck-handling – it’s at the level he would want it at.”

Bye for now,



September 30, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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Post-game notes


Some interesting comments from coach Mike Johnston after tonight’s 4-2 Penguins preseason win over Tampa Bay in Johnstown.

First, on Adam Clendening, who has impressed to the point where he’s very much in the conversation to make the opening-night roster.

“Clendening I think, for me, has been one of the defensemen that has jumped ahead of a lot of other defensemen. He has been a defenseman who has caught our attention  every game he’s played. He’s played with poise, he’s moved the puck. He’s interesting right now. He’s shown us some things we weren’t really sure. We thought we would get from him, but we weren’t really sure. There’s going to be a lot of discussion over the next couple days.”

He was also complimentary of Brian Dumoulin.

“I thought Dumoulin’s game is getting better. From what you saw in the playoffs last year, I thought his quickness back for pucks.”

Second, on the Plotnikov-Malkin-Hornqvist line, which was dynamite. They hadn’t had one of these dominant games in the preseason before tonight. They were on the ice for all four Penguins goals.

“I like what I see. Hornqvist and Geno, we thought they had some chemistry before, but Sergei Plotnikov, I know people have talked about him. For me, he’s fit in better and better every night that I see him. The thing I like about his game is he can make plays, but he’s big and strong on the puck. He hangs onto the puck down low. He protects the puck really well. There’s some chemistry there for sure.”

On the decision not to bring Sidney Crosby to Johnstown. I didn’t hear the NBC Sports broadcast, but I heard there was some criticism of that.

“It’s 100 percent my call. When making up those lineups, in no way does a player ever say, ‘I’d like to play this game or that game.’ But I know Sid asked about Quebec and he asked about Johnstown originally, and I told him he wasn’t playing, that he would play the home game against Detroit. I know from his reaction that he was disappointed. We have to make the decisions as a coaching staff, what’s best for the team. We can’t overplay our players. Sid would have loved to have been in Quebec last night, would have loved to be here. You know the way he interacts with the public, but we can’t overplay them. We couldn’t put him in five games. I didn’t want him to be caught in a situation where we have four games in five nights and for Geno, Sid, some of these guys that are going to play a lot of minutes for us, to tax them. It was our decision. It’s always a tough one, but I thought we dressed a competitive lineup tonight. I thought we had a lot of good players in there. I’m sure the fans were treated to a good game.”

Finally, I wondered if Johnston thought the Penguins, especially their D, needed a game where they weren’t under fire for long stretches in their own zone.

“I told our defense that was a tough game for them tonight. If you can escape your zone under that forechecking pressure, that tight corners, that’s a tough game to play. I gave our defense a lot of credit tonight, our penalty killers and obviously Matt Murray.”

Now, some other quotes from the locker room.

EVGENI MALKIN, on whether it was important for his line to have a big game at some point in the preseason:

“It’s important. It’s a new line. Plotnikov, it’s the first year for him. I know he’s a little bit nervous. The game was very important. We played against Tampa, one of the best teams last year. It was a great test for us. It was a good game for us, all (four) lines.”


“Geno played really good tonight. He was flying on his skates. He makes those small little plays. He was really good. I just tried to get open. He found me a few times and we found the back of the net too. It’s good for the confidence. Hopefully we can build on that.”

HORNQVIST on Plotnikov:

“He’s always hard on the puck. He’s a big body. He always comes out with the puck too. He’s good around the net and good in the corners. I think he showed everyone tonight.”

BRIAN DUMOULIN, on the importance of a good game for the D corps:

“It was definitely important. One of the things that had been lacking in our last few games had been our starts. That’s one of the focuses we had tonight, having a good first five minutes and getting pucks behind the D. I felt like we established that and it was a good effort from there on out.”

Finally, MATT MURRAY, on his night:

“I haven’t really had much experience at all at the NHL level. To get one of my first starts against a lineup like that, it was pretty exhilarating for me. Those guys are some of the best in the world.”

And MURRAY on a nifty glove save he made on Steven Stamkos in the second period.

“I try to pretend like I’m not still star-struck by these guys, but that was a cool moment for me. After the whistle, I was thinking, ‘Man, was that Stamkos?’ And it was.”

Bye for now,



September 29, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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Pre-game notes


– Amidst the Hockeyville hoopla, there’s a game to play tonight, and for many in the Penguins lineup, it may be a last chance to make an impression before a major round of cuts.

“There’s guys fighting for jobs,” assistant coach Gary Agnew said. “It’s an exciting event, but we’re still talking about guys’ livelihoods and trying to make the National Hockey League.”

Defenseman Adam Clendening might be one of those guys. He’s having a strong camp, showing off his skating and mobility, and is paired with Olli Maatta for the second time in a week, but there’s a logjam on defense, so his path to opening night is not entirely clear.

After morning skate, Clendening said he thought he’d be able to focus on the task at hand without many problems.

“It’s not too bad. We’re not getting distracted as much as some of the higher-profile guys,” he said. “We just kind of go have lunch and take a nap.”


— Because the Penguins got back from Quebec City late last night, there were still some questions about their lineup after morning skate.

As of now, I’m projecting:





—  The teams took a slightly different approach to putting together lineups for the game.

With two days off before the game and one after, the Lightning brought a roster close to their opening-night lineup, including Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.

“I think the coaches understand when you come to an event like this, you want to put out a pretty strong lineup, and we are,” Stamkos said. “Happy to be a part. You don’t want to come here and not play. You want to embrace it, interact with the fans. They want to see the best players.”

In the middle of a stretch of three games in three nights – they played Monday in Quebec City and will play Wednesday at home against Detroit – the Penguins went without top-line forwards Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel. There was some grumbling from fans about Crosby’s absence.

“The schedule really dictates a lot of things for us,” assistant coach Gary Agnew said.

Agnew presided over morning skate and handled pre-game media obligations while head coach Mike Johnston stayed closer to lead a practice for players in the non-game group.


— The Penguins watched the first half of Slap Shot on the short 67-mile bus ride into Johnstown. Shockingly, 22-year-old Russian winger Anton Zlobin said he had never seen the movie before.

“It was a pretty funny movie. I liked it. Pretty fun jokes,” Zlobin said.

If it wasn’t a popular film in Zlobin’s neighborhood in Moscow, it was in Olli Maatta’s hometown in Finland.

“Not a lot of Finnish guys have played in the Slapshot rink,” Maatta beamed. “It’s pretty cool.”


More after the game,



September 29, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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Tour of Charlestown


There’s no Slap Shot tour of Johnstown that I know of, so I made my own. Come along with me.


A short drive from the arena, in a part of town called Cambria City, is Ace’s, or as it was known in the movie, The Aces. It’s a great place to take your lady for an evening out on the town.


This looks to me to be the lunch counter where Reg tells Dickie Dunn that he liked his piece about the Hanson Brothers and Dickie told him he was trying to capture the spirit of the thing. This should be a holy shrine for hockey writers.


Reg runs down this street to catch up to Francine, who tells him she’s moving to Long Island. It’s a poignant moment.


Here’s the train station where we’re introduced to the Hanson Brothers for the first time. It’s under construction, so I couldn’t find the Coke machine that took his quarter.


This storefront is where Gladys’ Cut and Curl once stood. That’s where Francine told Lily that if she did her cheekbones better, she could look like Cher.

And finally, the crown jewel of the Charlestown tour:


What’s the story on that dog?

It’s not actually the dog that saved Charlestown from the flood of 1938. It’s called Morley’s Dog.

James Morley had a statue of a French bloodhound in the yard of his mansion. It was washed away in the great flood of 1889, but was found a few miles away. It was restored to its original place as a symbol of Johnstown being restored.

It’s no longer in the park in the center of town where it appeared in the movie, but that’s OK. I found it anyway. Day made.

Bye for now,



September 29, 2015
by Jason Mackey

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Postgame: Canadiens 4, Penguins 1


A few postgame notes, as we leave Quebec City:

=Too many players were too tentative tonight during a 4-1 loss to the Canadiens at Videotron Center.

“Through the depth of our lineup, we didn’t have enough guys trying to make a different tonight,” coach Mike Johnston said. “When guys are trying out for a team, sometimes you’re a little bit conservative. You want to play safe. I’d rather them make a mistake here and there and not play as safe.”

Daniel Sprong did not fall into this category. He took chances. He tried to create. He also screwed up a few times, Johnston said.

“I have liked what I’ve seen (from Sprong),” Johnston said.

Just not with Sprong’s shift length.

“He’s got to get his shift length down a little bit to play with the energy that you need to,” Johnston said. “That’s a junior thing where he’s extending his shifts little bit too much.”

=The building and atmosphere had several players’ attention.

“Felt like we were the third team out there,” Marc-Andre Fleury said. “People were cheering for Montreal, against Montreal and for us.”

Fleury pointed out the steep grade of the seats, which you can see a picture of below.


“Pretty steep,” Fleury said. “Brings people closer to the ice.”

Johnston noticed it, too.

“I like how steep it is,” Johnston said. “When they have a home crowd in here, it’s going to be really intimidating for the opposition. Some buildings go back. This building goes up.”

=The Penguins have given up 14 goals in their past three preseason games. I asked Rob Scuderi afterward what’s been going wrong.

“It’s mistakes with the puck,” Scuderi said. “It’s not necessarily defensive-zone positioning. The biggest thing that’s killing us right now is pucks in our own zone. Simple plays that we should make, that we don’t, that end up coming back to bite us.”

Simple is better, Scuderi said. And the Penguins haven’t done enough of it lately.

“Sometimes it’s not pretty to watch, but the best thing to alleviate the pressure is just chip it out and go get it,” Scuderi said. “I thought (Montreal) did that a bunch.”

=Tonight’s top line was Pascal Dupuis-Nick Bonino-David Perron.

Personally, I think Perron is better-suited with Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist — I’d put Beau Bennett in his spot here — but Johnston said Dupuis-Bonino-Perron is a trio he’d like to take a closer look at.

To put that in perspective, though. Johnston said not long ago that he’d like to see Bonino together, too.

=Another rough one for Derrick Pouliot. Johnston pointed to loose-puck retrievals as Pouliot’s primary shortcoming. I also asked Scuderi about Pouliot.

And don’t laugh or say Scuderi doesn’t know anything about skilled defensemen.

“It’s easy for me to see because I can see how much skill guys have,” Scuderi said.

Anyway, it’s a tough balance that Pouliot is learning, according to Scuderi. One that involves playing offense but not letting the defense lag.

“It’s tough to tell those guys not to make plays,” Scuderi said. “It’s one of the hardest things to learn when you’re that skilled. When you’re used to having your way with the puck and other guys, one-on-one moves, it’s hard to just take that simple play. It’s something that every defenseman has to learn at this level, regardless of how skilled you are.”

Be GRATEFUL to each other,



September 28, 2015
by Jason Mackey

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Gameday: Penguins at Canadiens, 7 p.m.


A couple of notes from the Penguins morning skate:

=Lines looked like this:

Dominik Simon-Nick Bonino-David Perron
Beau Bennett-Oskar Sundqvist-Scott Wilson
Bryan Rust-Jean-Sebastien Dea-Daniel Sprong
Tyler Biggs-Matia Marcantuoni-Dominik Uher

Derrick Pouliot-Kris Letang
Rob Scuderi-David Warsofsky
Sergei Gonchar-Tim Erixon
Barry Goers-Reid McNeill

Note: Pascal Dupuis didn’t not skate with this group; he skated earlier, and coach Mike Johnston said that he will play tonight.

=It’s Bonino’s first preseason game. He was a late scratch last Monday at Columbus.

“Little bit of flu or illness or something,” Bonino said. “Came on pretty quick and stuck around for awhile. It’s on its tail end here so happy about that.

“Wasn’t a fun trip for me.”

The Penguins play Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week, and Bonino will definitely play Wednesday at home against Detroit, per lineups released by the team. He’d also like to play Friday in Carolina.

“If all goes according to plan, hopefully I can get three games this week,” Bonino said. “For me, it’s right now about getting into game shape, get the corner weight going and trying to figure out the systems at game speed.”

=Think pairing Pouliot with Letang is random? Think again.

Coach Mike Johnston is not-so-subtly sending a message here.

=Perron talked quite a bit about hockey in Quebec, which I wrote about for Monday’s paper.
“Guys like (Joe) Sakic, (Mats) Sundin … I played with them a little bit on NHL ’94 for Sega,” Perron said. “Good memories. It’s going to be fun to play tonight.”

I asked Perron who his go-to team was on NHL ’94 — arguably the best hockey video game of all time.

“I actually liked the Nordiques quite a bit,” Perron said. “Their jersey always caught my eye. Even growing up, my brother and I, anytime we’d play in tournaments that you buy to go in with a team, we’d play as the Nordiques. We had Nordiques jerseys. It’s going to be good.”

=The Penguins are fielding a younger lineup tonight, while the Canadiens are basically playing everyone except for newly-named captain Max Pacioretty.

“Tonight will be a battle,” Perron said. “They’re going to have their whole lineup, pretty much. It’s going to be a good test for the young guys to show that they belong in this league.”

It’s Perron’s first preseason game since last Monday at Columbus.

“I haven’t played for a week now,” Perron said. “I almost feel like it’s my first preseason game again.”

Be GRATEFUL to each other,



September 27, 2015
by Jason Mackey

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Dark horse defense candidates?



Christopher Horner/Trib Total Media

Outside of Kris Letang, Olli Maatta and Ian Cole, the Penguins’ defense has been a bit of a hot mess this preseason.

In games they’ve played, Derrick Pouliot (5 of 10, 50 percent), Brian Dumoulin (4 of 7, 57 percent) and Sergei Gonchar (6 of 8, 75 percent) have been on the ice for more than half of the Penguins’ collective goals-against.

Yet Adam Clendening and David Warsofsky — puck-movers with NHL experience, albeit with other clubs — have had sneaky-good camps.

Clendening was acquired in the Brandon Sutter trade and has played in Chicago (4) and Vancouver (17), while Warsofsky has 10 games of NHL experience with the Bruins.

Don’t be surprised if they get a longer look through the final four preseason games.

“I love this system,” Clendening told me after Saturday’s loss. “Everybody can make plays. Everybody can hang onto it and hit a late guy as a defenseman coming. It’s a dream for a guy like me.”

Clendening hasn’t been on the ice for a goal-against in 40:16 while finishing with eight shot attempts, three on goal. Warsofsky played a game-high 25:45 last Monday in his only preseason game so far.

“When I was a free agent this summer, that was one of the big reasons why I chose to come here,” Warsofsky said. “Mike (Johnston) likes to get defensemen up in the rush, and that’s a part of my game.”

Clendening was drafted in the second round (36th overall) by Chicago in 2011. He’s produced one goal and four points in his 21 games, including 12 goals and 59 points in 74 games with Rockford, the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, in 2013-14.

In short: The kid can play.

And he cracked a tough Chicago lineup.

“I kind of knew when I got traded the style they play,” Clendening said. “We played them a couple times when I was in Vancouver. They play very similar to Chicago. I really enjoyed my time there. The lineup’s very similar. A lot of skill up front. Couple of studs on the back end here as well as there.”

I asked Warsofsky whether skating and moving the puck has always been a hallmark of his game. (Probably a stupid question in hindsight considering he’s 5-9, 170.)

“With my size, I don’t know if I’m much of a shutdown defenseman, per se,” Warsofsky said. “Every defenseman has their qualities: shutdown, power play, puck-movers. I don’t think I”m going to overpower too many guys down low. I think I need to bring another aspect. Luckily it’s puck-moving.”

For a coach who loves ‘em, too.

Johnston is on record this camp as saying he doesn’t care about size. Check out what he said the morning of the Carolina game:

(I look at) three areas. How they move the puck. How they skate and join the rush. Then their compete level in one-on-one situations. Sometimes with defensemen, everybody looks at their size. I don’t often look at size. I look at compete, skating and puck movement. Those are three key things for me.

Does that mean the Penguins could keep Clendening, Warsofsky or even Will O’Neill, who’s 6-1 but had 48 points in 72 games played with St. John’s in the AHL last season? I don’t know. It’s still early. But I haven’t been blown away by what I’ve seen out of Pouliot, Dumoulin or Gonchar (defensively, anyway).

Rob Scuderi presents his own, polarizing argument that I’m not going to get into here. Just know: Players and coaches love him. There are some leadership aspects, too, that can be valuable. It’s just do they jibe with the defense, the age and the cap hit? Tough to say.

What I do find intriguing, though, is what guys like Clendening and Warsofsky could offer. Could they take someone’s spot? Certainly worth monitoring as we enter the final week of the preseason.

Be GRATEFUL to each other,



September 27, 2015
by Jason Mackey

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Reaction to three-on-three OT


Leave it to Phil Kessel to deliver the money quote.

“Well, I only got one shift,” Kessel said when asked about his reaction to three-on-three overtime following Saturday’s preseason loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Oh, Phil.

But can you blame him? How enjoyable is this going to be?

“Probably not too many shooting going to be coming,” forward Chris Kunitz said. “Throughout the year, I think different teams will figure out strategies and different things to try. Everyone will catch up on it.”

Sidney Crosby seems to be OK with the idea.

Was from the beginning, really. Or for about the past decade.

Anyway, his stop-and-pop wrister from the right circle Saturday was a thing of beauty. It even happened, as Kunitz pointed out, with three forwards on the ice.

Although don’t go expecting the Penguins to make that a habit. Unfortunately.

“We threw three forwards out there for one second and ended up scoring a goal,” Kunitz said. “I think when you have the talent of guys on our team, as long as we keep the puck out and play good zone defense, we should be able to be successful this year.”

The Penguins got to practice three-on-three overtime three times this preseason and hold a 2-0-1 record in it. You had Crosby on Saturday and Evgeni Malkin setting up Oskar Sundqvist against the Red Wings.

Coaches have strongly suggested to the players that after one up-and-down shift they should get off the ice for a change.

Good luck with that.

“You’re going to be pretty winded, and you may end up being out there for two minutes if they don’t score a goal,” Kunitz said. “Kind of take that rule of thumb. If you have possession, don’t give it away. Come back. Let two guys change, then you change. It will be something everyone is figuring out as it’s experienced out there.”

Maybe Phil will even get that coveted second shift.

Be GRATEFUL to each other,



September 27, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

5 comments so far - add yours!

Chemistry class


Some post-game observations after a 4-2 Penguins preseason loss to Columbus:

— One of the priorities for the Penguins this preseason was making sure Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel developed some chemistry. Done deal. They’ve combined for five goals in two preseason games.

The goal they teamed up on today might be the scariest one of the bunch for those who will have to defend them. Kessel came out of the left-wing corner with the puck and hit Crosby driving to the net at the far post for a tap-in.

Everyone knows Crosby and Kessel are going to be a handful in open ice because they’re so fast. If they start connecting in tight as well, look out.

— Daniel Sprong had another nice game. Crosby and Kessel each had six shots in the game. Sprong had five. He also played four minutes on the power play, was the extra attacker when the Penguins pulled goalie Jeff Zatkoff and made a steal from David Savard to help set up Crosby’s goal in the three-on-three overtime trial.

I don’t know if the Penguins are seriously considering keeping Sprong around for a nine-game stay at the beginning of the season – or maybe even more than that – but he has done everything possible to force his way into the picture. It’s not out of the question at this point.

— Crosby in three-on-three overtime, incidentally, might end up being unfair. He got Savard all spun around and fired a shot between his skates to end the overtime trial today.

— Sergei Plotnikov had a real nice game. He had one shift where he struggled to get the puck out of the defensive zone on the wall, but other than that, he used his size and physicality to make a difference. He kicked a puck loose from Sergei Bobrovsky to set up a Kessel goal.

— The defense in general and Derrick Pouliot in particular had another rough night. Coach Mike Johnston said Pouliot wasn’t getting to pucks quickly enough and was holding on to them too long. He said three or four other defensemen were doing the same.

— Some rough stuff in the first period. Columbus’ Brett Gallant knocked down Olli Maatta with a shoulder on a delayed offsides call. Gallant came off the bench on a legal line change and immediately went to Penguins D Steve Oleksy, who was jawing with Ryan Johansen, to fight.

On the ensuing faceoff, Penguins heavyweight Tom Sestito had words with Brandon Dubinsky. It escalated to a Dubinsky slash and a flurry of punches from Sestito.

The end result was two minutes of four on four (during which Johansen scored) and a three-minute power play for Columbus (during which Johansen and Scott Hartnell scored).

Johnston said he didn’t get a good look at the Sestito-Dubinsky incident, but he wasn’t terrible critical of Sestito all the same.

“Tommy Sestito is a physical player,” Johnston said. “He can’t take the extra penalties, but you need guys that are going to stand up for his teammates. I didn’t see it clear, so I’d have to look at it, but I like that he went out and took charge of it anyway.”

Bye for now,



September 26, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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A good test from Columbus


Some highlights from Mike Johnston’s pre-game chat with reporters:

— Penguins lineup for today:




— Columbus, meanwhile, has a real solid B-plus lineup for this one — Saad, Atkinson, Dubinsky, Johansen, Foligno, etc. I asked Johnston if he’s glad the Columbus lineup is a strong one today to give his team a good, sound test.

“For sure. No question,” he said. “If you’re really trying to measure guys, no matter where they played last year other than the core guys with us, you’ve got to play against top guys. It’s great that Columbus is bringing a really good team today. It’s exciting for our guys. It will make them sharp in this game. It’s also going to push everybody. The core of our lineup are vying for ice time and positions and an opportunity. The core of their lineup is going to play for them.”

— Olli Maatta is playing while Kris Letang isn’t, but Johnston said that’s no indication he’s wavering from the plan to have them as the top D pair heading into the season. He said they’ll play together for three preseason games, then they’ll each play once apart. Today is Maatta’s solo game. Letang’s is Monday in Quebec City.

— Jeff Zatkoff will play the whole game today. Goalies are playing full games the rest of the way.

— Nick Bonino (illness) skated today. Johnston said he’d like to get him into one game during the three-in-three stretch Monday-Wednesday.

— The Penguins will start doing some basic game-planning based on opponent for the last two preseason games. For now, they’re just focusing on their own stuff.

— Kunitz-Crosby-Kessel will be on the same power-play unit today.

— The teams will play a three-on-three overtime after this game whether it’s tied or not to test out the new tie-breaking procedure. It’s the last mandatory overtime the Penguins will have this preseason. Johnston said he’s glad Crosby-Kessel will get a crack at it. They weren’t in the lineup the previous two mandatory OT games. “We want all our top players to experience it. They all will have after this game,” he said.

More later,


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