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Penguins

Shea-ved Ice: Alumni Game, Staal Update

By: Casey Shea
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(Photo By Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

(Photo By Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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It’s been a busy 24 hours for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they prepare to take on the Buffalo Sabres tonight in search of a 12th straight win.

First off, how great was it to receive an early Christmas gift from the Penguins on Friday?

In case you haven’t heard, Mario Lemieux is going to lace up the skates again for the alumni game at Heinz Field against the Capitals.

While the full rosters haven’t been released yet, we know Mario, Paul Coffey, Bill Guerin and Ron Francis will play for the Pens.

Plus, the Caps are going to have Peter Bondra back for the New Year’s Eve tilt on the outdoor rink.

(Side Note: Watch this video to relive the classic Pens/Sabres series in 2001. If this doesn’t send chills down your spine, make you smile, etc. you should probably schedule a doctor’s appointment ASAP because you probably don’t have a pulse. I was amazed by the “Moose!” chants both in Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

There’s plenty of goalies around the league with quick nicknames that the crowd yells after every save. Anyone else think Marc-Andre Fleury needs one? Might add some more life to the new rink. Just putting it out there.

(Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT/Getty Images)

Also unrelated, after Darius Kasparaitis buries that series-winning goal, I nearly broke my hand by leaping off my bed with my arms raised. Normally it wasn’t an issue, but it happened to be about 110 degrees outside, which was odd for the early morning hours of any day in Maine.

As a result, the ceiling fan was on. You can see why my hand hurt based on that information.)

There will be 10,000 tickets sold for the game. Personally, I can’t wait to see how much they start selling for on eBay within minutes of them going on sale through Ticketmaster.

Secondly, there have been a lot of reports floating around that Jordan Staal suffered another bone break in his right hand.

While it hasn’t been confirmed anywhere and the Penguins are obviously keeping quiet on the matter, some very well-respected hockey minds believe there may be something to it.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted this morning about Staal saying “PIT won’t know for sure til Monday but looks like those “internet” reports of Jordan Staal re-breaking bone in hand may have some validity.”

“Know there were denials of re-break, more talk of “calcification” issues but he may have suffered setback. Firmer prognosis expected Monday.”

“Doesn’t look good is sense that has been conveyed to me. So let’s just wait on exact timeline but something is up and it’s not a positive.”

If this is the case, could this be yet another case of the vindictive hockey gods? They allowed him to play in 358 consecutive games (including playoffs) before Montreal’s P.K. Subban displayed Bobby Flay-esque cutlery skills in last year’s second round playoff battle.

jordan staal 98772515 Shea ved Ice: Alumni Game, Staal Update

(Photo Credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The only good thing in all of the injury issues he’s been dealing with this season, is that the team is still doing well. At this point, there isn’t a need to rush him back.

They’re currently the top team in the league and are second overall in penalty killing at 88.5 percent.

Unless something gets leaked, it looks like we’ll have to wait until Monday for the latest on Staal’s recovery.

On another note, the Penguins recalled Dustin Jeffrey from Wilkes-Barre Scranton Friday.

Jeffrey has been ripping it up in the AHL and is tied for the league lead in points with 30 (13 goals, 17 assists) through 25 games.

dustin jeffrey 84240430 Shea ved Ice: Alumni Game, Staal Update

(Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

According to the Penguins’ official website, Evgeni Malkin and Jeffery were on the ice for the morning skate, but did not skate with a line.

The lines in the morning skate were:

Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke – Max Talbot – Arron Asham
Chris Conner – Mark Letestu – Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp – Craig Adams – Eric Godard

UPDATE: Dan Bylsma said Jeffrey will be in the lineup tonight and will start out centering the fourth line.

You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CaseySheaPens

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