Cooke-Asham could fit nicely on same line
Three observations about Saturday's practice from beat reporter Rob Rossi:
Nasty No. 3
General manager Ray Shero's desire is for the Penguins to be "a tough team to play against," so he had to like seeing the potential third-line grouping of feisty wingers Matt Cooke and Arron Asham. No matter the pivot, any line with Cooke and Asham could equally frustrate opponents heavy with skilled forwards, such as Washington, and answer clubs that play with an edge, such as Philadelphia.
Forward Dustin Jeffrey's game is so solid that he rarely sticks out on the ice. However, he also rarely is in the wrong position whether playing at center or on the wing. The Penguins should see how he looks in the middle on a line with forwards Craig Adams and Mike Rupp — role-playing veterans with whom a steady prospect might mesh.
Ice an issue
Several players described the ice at Consol Energy Center in unkind terms, and they didn't see a Friday-night concert as a good excuse for the sloppy conditions. Yesterday was a warm Day 1 for hockey at the new arena. Also, the building was packed with thousands of fans. Still, the feeling among many veteran players is that facility's anticipated busy schedule will work against any significant ice improvements that were expected coming from the NHL's oldest building, the Civic Arena.