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Insider Only TIOPS PENS NOTEBOOK: Staal pushing to be cleared for Winter Classic

Winter Classic: Sunday a fallback option for League

NHL officials are not in panic mode by any means despite projected teampatures for Saturday’s Winter Classic in the upper-40’s-low 50’s with rain showers.
The league is preparing itself for all options when it comes to having the ice surface prepared for rain but nothing will be really known until Thursday and Friday of this week.
The warmer than expected weather is not a concern but it’s the rainfall. Little to no rain on Thursday and Friday will be key to having the ice ready for Saturday. Right now, only a few showers if any are being forecasted for Friday.
So what happens if the game can’t be played on Saturday? The game would then be played on Sunday which is the fallback plan but there will be no outdoor game if the Winter Classic were unable to be played on Saturday or Sunday.
That’s the worst case scenario but officials are hopeful and confident that things will work out.

Staal skates with teammates for 1st time since November 1

Penguins center Jordan Staal skated with his teammates this morning in Ottawa for the first time since November 1st.
To no surprise, Staal is pushing extremely hard to be cleared by the Penguins medical staff to play in the Winter Classic.
However, the Penguins have to be careful with him and no timetable has been established from Penguins on when Staal will return to the lineup as today was a first step.
Staal though is expected to intensify his on-ice workload by mid-week and the team is hopeful to establish a timeline for a potential return by the Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

Godard suffers swollen left eye

Enforcer Eric Godard suffered a nasty swollen left eye as Senators defenseman Matt Carkner delivered several hard rights to Godard’s face in a first period fight that was a Carkner decisive win.
Godard left the game in the period and for some reason the Penguins let Godard return to the bench and despite not being able to see out of his left eye, Godard took one shift in the second period and tried to engage Carkner into another fight but Carkner wouldn’t go and Godard received a 10-minute misconduct. Godard had two shifts in the game.

Holiday Roster Freeze ends on Monday

The holiday roster freeze ends on Monday. On Thursday the Penguins recalled goaltender John Curry using their emergency basis option. Curry has served as Marc Andre Fleury’s backup for two straight games as Brent Johnson is ailing with a groin injury.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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