SOUTHPOINTE — Coming off last night’s loss to the Ottawa Senators, the Pittsburgh Penguins are practicing this afternoon at Southpointe in front of a packed house of fans. One of the biggest turnouts I’ve seen for an open practice in a while.
Not on the ice for Pittsburgh is Eric Godard (left eye) and Craig Adams who is believed to be getting a maintenance day.
Winger Arron Asham is skating for the second straight day and is looking like a strong possibility to be back into the lineup early this week.
Jordan Staal (hand) is skating with his teammates for the second straight day.
Goaltender John Curry has yet to be officially re-assigned to Wilkes Barre/Scranton as Brent Johnson is now battling an illness.
PENS WEEK AHEAD
12/28/10 Vs Atlanta Thrashers (19-13-6-(46pts)
Atlanta is 4-3-3 in their last three games and suddenly in the midst of a three game losing streak after losing to Southeast division leading Tampa Bay last night.
Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien continues to be the big story in Atlanta, leading the Thrashers with 13 goals – 24 assists and 37 points.
12/29/10 @ New York Islanders (9-18-6-(24pts)
The New York Islanders are playing their best hockey of the season, posting a 4-0-1 record in their last 5 games. Of late, the Islanders have been led by goaltender Dwayne Roloson who has earned the NHL’s first star of the week, going 3-0 with 0.98 goals-against average and .972 save percentage for the week ending on Dec. 26.
Roloson made 38 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens last night.
Former Penguin Mark Eaton took a nasty hit from behind from Montreal’s Max Pacioretty but is okay and expected to play tonight for the Isles against the New York Rangers.
1/1/11 Vs Washington Capitals (21-12-5-(47pts)
It’s hard to run out of storylines for the 2011 NHL Winter Classic from an on-ice standpoint with the Capitals and Penguins but the weather will be the hot topic all week which will probably overshadow all of the great story lines from Penguins-Capitals rivalry to Crosby’s point streak to Ovechkin, ect.
Temperatures are now being projected to be 44 degrees, according to weather.com down from 52 degrees (as of 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning) but forecasts are still calling for 40-to-50 percent precipitation on Saturday. There’s no way around it and the game just won’t be able to be played if it’s raining.
I still think in the end that this game is going to be played but what a shame and mess it will be if the game can’t be played. One official declined comment when reached about how the refund process is going to work if the game can’t be played.
HBO 24/7 EPISODE 3 SCHEDULE
24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC DEC. 29 EPISODE
Debut: WEDNESDAY, DEC. 29 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT) with an immediate encore at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Other HBO playdates: Dec. 29 (11:00 p.m.), 30 (7:00 p.m., midnight) and 31 (9:00 a.m., 8:00 p.m.), and Jan. 1 (9:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m., 1:55 a.m.), 2 (10:30 a.m.) and 3 (7:00 p.m., 2:10 a.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Dec. 30 (3:30 p.m.) and Jan. 2 (3:00 a.m.), 3 (11:30 p.m.), 4 (10:00 p.m.) and 8 (3:30 p.m.)
HBO On Demand availability begins: Jan. 3 Rating: TVMA/L
For the first time this season, archrivals Pittsburgh and Washington meet on the ice in a highly anticipated showdown hosted by the Caps at the Verizon Center. Preparations begin for the transformation of Heinz Field from a football field to a hockey rink.
The first three episodes of 24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC will be presented back-to-back Saturday, Jan. 1 at 7:00 a.m. on HBO and Thursday, Dec. 30 at 1:30 p.m. on HBO2.
The finale debuts Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 10:00 p.m., four days after the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, with cameras tracking all the drama and excitement surrounding the Capitals and Penguins on game day. All four episodes have multiple replay dates on HBO, and the series is also available on HBO On Demand.
The executive producers of 24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; senior producer, Dave Harmon; producers, Scott Boggins, Bentley Weiner and Thomas Odelfelt; Aaron Cohen is the writer; Liev Schreiber narrates.