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Thomas getting ready for 'home ice'

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Mike Prisuta
Friday, Oct. 10, 2008
 

• Fox Chapel High School product Bill Thomas played at Mellon Arena last Dec. 3 with Phoenix and this preseason with the Penguins. Still, Saturday night's home opener against New Jersey promises to be special. Thomas has always been a Penguins fan, and remained one even after he reached the NHL with the Coyotes. "I was at Game 6 (of last season's Stanley Cup final) with my brother," Thomas said Thursday. "Obviously, I was disappointed when the Penguins lost. I've always still been a fan. I'd always check up on them and see how they did. (Phoenix) only played them maybe once every three years. I guess I could still be a fan, couldn't I?"

• Winger Petr Sykora (groin) didn't practice Thursday. As for those who did, coach Michel Therrien sensed no ill effects in the Penguins reacquainting themselves with North America after opening the season in Sweden. "I think the guys are pretty sharp," Therrien said. "I'm quite surprised."

• The Pens acquired forward Mike Zigomanis from Phoenix for future considerations. Zigomanis, 27, split 2007-08 between Phoenix and San Antonio (AHL), and finished with two goals, one assist and six penalty minutes in 33 games for the Coyotes. Also yesterday, forward Jeff Taffe cleared waivers and was assigned to the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Digits

2 -- Penguins with a minus-2 rating after the two games against Ottawa in Sweden (Matt Cooke, Maxim Talbot)

4 -- Penguins with a plus-2 rating after the two games against Ottawa in Sweden (Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy, Rob Scuderi, Hal Gill)

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