The Pittsburgh Penguins hosted 4,000 of their friends during yesterday's open practice, and the gusto of that crowd has the team primed for their first preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Despite the lengthy practice (four and a half hours), the attending Pens fans kept the energy high and head coach Dan Bylsma noticed the pep in everyone's step.
"I thought the fans and the crowd gave our players a jump today," Bylsma noted. "It is good to have them in the building. I know when I was coming to the rink, and it was pretty early, there where fans pretty excited to have the opportunity to get in here today and see these players and this team for the first time this year."
Captain Sidney Crosby saw the same thing, saying, "I think a lot of the guys in here have fun working hard and getting better out there together so hopefully the fans can see that. Today was special pretty special."
Mixed in with the drills and conditioning was a scrimmage between Groups A and C. But the time for friendly in-team games is over, as the preseason rolls in tonight. Dan Bylsma and his coaching staff have some tough roster decisions to make, especially concerning the third line and the top six defensemen. But these storylines have been covered at nauseam. Like the fans that attended Saturday's practice, it's finally (Finally!) time for hockey. Actual hockey! Breathe it in, guys. Tonight at 6:00pm on ROOT Sports, it'll be one step closer to October 3rd. One step closer to the season opener against the New Jersey Devils. Enough talk . . . it's time to play some hockey!
Again, the game starts at 6 and is on television. Here's a link to the roster the Penguins are bringing to the Nationwide Arena. Enjoy the game, guys.
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