Game Day Notes
Pittsburgh has lost 7 of 9 games and things won’t get any easier tonight as the Penguins travel to Calgary for a showdown with the first place Flames.
Pittsburgh did not practice on Tuesday and will take the ice today in Calgary at 1:30 p.m. ET for their morning skate.
Calgary (26-14-6) is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and 12-8-3 at home. The Flames are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Monday night.
*Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar heard from the league yesterday afternoon but as expected was not suspended.
The Penguins used the Duncan Keith hit on Matt Cooke (Dec. 5th, 2009) to their advantage. Meahwhile, Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck is still feeling the effects of Gonchar’s hit.
*The struggles of Evgeni Malkin continue to be a hot topic around the league. Penguins general manager Ray Shero gives his coaching staff free reins on all coaching decisions expect for a few rare occasions like making Michel Therrien play Miroslav Satan against Tampa Bay in what was going to be his 1,000th game, after Therrien informed Satan that he was going to be a healthy scratch.
However, management is never shy to give their input. Sources tell me management is pushing for Jordan Staal to play with Evgeni Maklin. Not as a full-time gig but in more situations throughout the game.
Jordan Staal saw extensive time with Malkin earlier in the season but Bylsma has rarely used the two forwards together since.
Bylsma has shown an unwillingness to break up the Penguins third line of Matt Cooke – Jordan Staal – Tyler Kennedy but at some point, doing what’s better for your $8.7 million a year center has to be explored.
Don’t be surprised to Malkin and Staal together in certain situations tonight and the rest of the road trip.
I also hear there will be changes on the power play……..
Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal for the Penguins tonight. Brent Johnson was scheduled to play Thursday night against Edmonton. His status (groin) is unknown. John Curry is still with the team.