Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Penguins vs. Coyotes (7:30pm) PREVIEW...Bourque in? Fleury out?

-Tonight the Pens (2-0-0) will face-off against one of the more controversial and frankly worst teams in the NHL, the Phoenix Coyotes (1-0-0). The Yotes haven't made the playoffs since 2003 and they're on the verge of being moved from Phoenix and back into some Canadian city. Blackberry CEO Jim Balsille hopes that city can be Hamilton, ON. Throughout the summer Balsille would meet with Bettman in court in hopes of relocating the team, every attempt failed.

-Former coach Wayne Gretzky stepped down last week and the team hired former Stars coach and Pens player, Dave Tippett. Tippett brings a much different approach to the game than Gretzky so we should expect a much harder playing team tonight than in year's past. The Yotes have an abundance of young talent: Boedker, Hanzal, Mueller, and Yandle. All 4 are coming off solid seasons last year, but they're looking to improve. The team is also lead by some accomplished veterans: Shane Doan, Ed Jovanovski, and Robert Lang (former Pen). Doan is an excellent leader and captain, and a player who Crosby really looks up to.

-Some other familiar faces to Pens fans might be Scottie Upshall, Petr Prucha, and Paul Bissonnette. Biz Nasty, who was picked up by Phoenix off waivers last week, will not play in tonight's game. Prucha underachieved/didn't get enough playing time in New York, Upshall played well in Philly and was used as a salary dump for Philly when they acquired Carcillo. And I haven't even mentioned the centerpiece of last year's Jokinen to CAL deal, mr. Matthew Lombardi. He was a point per game player in his time as a Yote, and the speedy winger will be noticeable tonight.

-Brent Johnson will start in goal tonight for the Pens. The backup will make his Pens debut as Fleury will get the nod in tomorrow's showdown in Philly. Ilya Bryzgalov will start for Phoenix. Chris Bourque might be in the lineup tonight in place of Godard/Dupuis, but Bylsma mentioned it will be a game-time decision on whether he plays or not. The Pens will be up against some good d-men in Michalek, Jovo, and Yandle and some solid forwards in Doan, Lombardi, and Mueller. Look for Matt Cooke to notch his 100th career goal tonight.


In Ray Shero we trust...

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