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Morning Skate: Penguin Tempura

After going to Nashville for a disappointing loss, the Red Wings return home to Detroit to play the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nashville played a relentless physical game against the Red Wings and it was likely a cause for the Detroit loss.

The Penguins played yesterday on NBC against the Rangers and lost 5-2. Matt Cooke was hit with a five-minute major and a game misconduct for an elbow to the head of Ryan McDonagh. Cooke should face supplemental discipline for the elbow considering his previous history. Cooke is expected to talk with Colin Campbell today about the hit.

The last time these two teams played, the Penguins beat a shorthanded Red Wings team, as the Wings were without Tomas Holmstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Joey MacDonald started in net. Tonight might be the opposite as the Penguins are without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin (thanks, Apocalyptic0n3), Arron Asham, Mark Letestu and Brent Johnson may be the starter after Fleury played yesterday. 

PensBurgh is the SB Nation Penguins' blog. 

To prepare for tonight's contest, I watched "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz" episode of Futurama. Courtney, prepare for quote madness.

  • Hey, let's turn this back into the mega pre-game thread that it was at one point in the season. Show your approval with a mold-friendly thumbs up...please hold your thumbs until the end.
  • Our peace ring has 'em trapped like a tiger in a washing machine!  Jimmy Howard will start in net tonight for the Red Wings. Howard was pretty good against the Predators on Saturday night, but was hit with the loss. Howard is looking for his 35th win of the year, but the Penguins will not be an easy victory.
  • Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk and Jiri Hudler will all be out of the line-up tonight, as reported by's Ansar Khan. As Khan also reports, Ruslan Salei will be back tonight and the Wings will go with 7 defensemen and 11 forwards because the team is unable to call anyone up due to the cap space. To be honest, I want Jonathan Ericsson to start at forward, even if it's just for the fact that he doesn't start on defense. 
  • Every time you clap your hands you kill thousands of spores that'll some day form a nutritious fungus. Back to the injuries, although I'd like to see the Wings ice all three of those guys, it really is for the best as a precaution. With not many games left in the regular season and the Wings close to securing a playoff position, it is a good step to make sure they are healthy for the postseason.
  • Why aren't you firing randomly into those birds, little lady? Don't you wanna help 'em? New thing I might do in morning skate posts, put a bullet point from readers. On Saturday we had Papusica's bullet and today we have one from NatiTalia. She writes with such anger and vitriol on Matt Cooke: "Thank you Matt Cooke for being the douche nozzle we know you to be and taking yourself out of the game and not risking the safety of our players while your cheap ass is out there. Assuming the prick won't be able to play tomorrow after what he did today". You want to be the next featured person? Cool. First person to shoot me an e-mail on Tuesday will be in the morning skate for the Vancouver game.
  • Son, as your lawyer, I declare y'all are in a 12-piece bucket o' trouble. Following up on the Cooke thing, something has to be done with the guy. I don't know if it's kicking him out of the league (may be too extreme) but it seems he hasn't learned from his actions in the past. What should the NHL do with him?
  • Don't look now but the Grand Rapids Griffins are 2 points out of first in the North Division. Actually, do look now...and cheer them on as they have 9 regular season games left. 
  • Respect the chain o' command. Pittsburgh is no easy team to play and the Wings will need to put forth a much better effort than they did against Nashville. Despite being intra-division rivals with the Predators, I think a lot of the Red Wings players have more desire to beat the Penguins. The games against Pittsburgh are always intense so it should be a fun one to watch.
  • Those aren't even medals, they're bottle-caps and pepperoni slices! In addition to playing for the Penguins, I still get mad thinking about Sidney Crosby's clinching goal against the USA.
  • Watch that he doesn't pick your pocket! Kris Letang leads the Penguins in takeaways.
  • "Look, nobody enjoys shooting penguins, but if you have to shoot penguins , well, you might as well enjoy it."
  • Score Prediction: 3-2 Detroit OT. 
  • Player of the Game Prediction: Henrik Zetterberg
  • If this were TPL and I were doing nicknames, I'd have Chris "unlike me it's entirely leakproof" Osgood and Jiri "If rubbin' frozen dirt in your crotch is wrong, hey I don't want to be right" Hudler.
  • Around the League: Chicago 2 Phoenix 1, Montreal whooped the Wild 8-1 with a hat trick from PK Subban, Nashville beat the Sabres with a hat trick from Blake Geoffrion. As of now, the Ducks are in last place in the West with Dallas just behind them. Chicago (5) and Nashville (7) are both currently in playoff spots.