Penguins notebook: Preseason games can get nasty
Preseason games offer a combination of NHL regulars getting into game shape and a group of young, unheralded players eager to impress management in any possible manner.
The results can be disastrous.
Former Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar was injured in a 2008 preseason game when former Tampa Bay forward David Koci — he had only played 27 NHL games at that point, and finished his career with three goals and 461 penalty minutes in 142 games — struck with a late hit, knocking the star out of the lineup for five months.
Entrenched NHL players have their heads on swivels in these games.
“You have to approach the game the right way,” center Sidney Crosby said. “Especially in the preseason, there are going to be some guys who are really going hard. You have to be aware.”
Many established players merely use these games to fine tune their timing, test their conditioning or develop some chemistry with new linemates.
Others, though, will provoke confrontations in an attempt to prove toughness to management. Recent rookie tournaments produced a rash of fights and dangerous hits.
Defenseman Paul Martin acknowledged that preseason games aren't always comfortable for regulars.
“You really have to keep your head up in these games,” he said. “You know going in that some of these guys are physical guys by nature, and you need to be smart out there.”
Not all of the experienced Penguins players mind the unpredictable nature of preseason games.
Right wing Craig Adams acknowledged that he once was a player fighting for a spot on an roster.
“There are definitely going to be some guys who are trying to get noticed,” Adams said. “You know what to expect from guys who have been around. But if it's a guy you don't recognize, you've got to be ready for anything.”
Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin will miss around a week because of a lower body injury, according to Penguins coach Dan Bylsma.
Dumoulin, who has a legitimate chance to make the Penguins' opening night roster, sustained an injury on Sunday against Columbus. The Penguins did not reveal any injury information regarding center Joe Vitale, who looked woozy following a fight with Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski.
Penguins right wing Matt D'Agostini missed the exhibition game Monday night against Detroit because his wife went into labor Monday morning. He was originally scheduled to skate on a line with center Brandon Sutter and left wing Jussi Jokinen.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby
- Penguins’ Perron returning to form
- Penguins notebook: New NHL bye week sits well with Crosby
- Dumoulin-Lovejoy combo emerges as Penguins’ go-to defensive tandem
- Hard-hitting Penguins veteran winger Kunitz is last of a dying breed
- Occupying playoff spot on Thanksgiving good harbinger for Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Cole more at ease facing former team