The thing that strikes Jordan Staal is the history woven into the new Winter Classic uniform he helped the Penguins model Thursday at Consol Energy Center.
"It's got that old-school look to it," Staal said. "It's kind of neat putting on this jersey, [like] all the great players who played in this style of jersey and all the great players who played for the Penguins' organization."
Staal and Evgeni Malkin were chosen to help unveil the new uniforms, which the Penguins will wear initially for the Jan. 1 outdoor game against Washington at Heinz Field.
They are dark blue with lighter blue striped horizontal panels at the elbows, calves and the bottom of the jerseys. The lettering and numbering are gold.
The design is an amalgam of various designs the Penguins used during their early years before they switched to a black-and-gold color scheme. The logo is a roly-poly penguin wearing a scarf. It is a design that dates to the team's inception, but it has never been part of the club's uniform until now.
The Penguins will wear the new alternate uniforms twice in addition to the Winter Classic, Feb. 10 against Los Angeles and March 12 against Montreal, both home games.
Although there seems to be heightened anticipation for Staal's season debut, he is not expected to play tonight at home against Philadelphia or Saturday night at Carolina.
Staal, recovering from a foot infection, has looked strong in practice but still has some conditioning issues. He could play at some point during a three-game road trip that starts Wednesday at Dallas.
Defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who has what is believed to be a right shoulder injury dating to Oct. 11, is on a similar timetable. Michalek said he has improved to the point of being day to day but likely won't play this weekend. He would like to return in time to face his former club when the Penguins play Nov. 6 at Phoenix.
Unlike Staal, Michalek's concern is not conditioning but recovery from the injury to the extent that taking shots and having contact are not a problem.
"I'm getting close," Michalek said.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby talked to a Blues team doctor after his team's 1-0 overtime loss Saturday at St. Louis and apologized for inadvertently cutting the right wrist of Blues defenseman Roman Polak during a collision along the end boards.
Polak, who needs surgery to repair a tendon, said he was accidentally cut by Crosby's skate.
Crosby remembers Polak being in pain after Crosby hit him, but, upon further review, Crosby doesn't think his skate was the culprit.
"I watched the replay. I didn't see my skate anywhere close to him," Crosby said.
"On the play, I didn't feel like I kicked my skates up or they got kicked up. If it did happen, it was just enough where it got him in the right spot. But, obviously, that's pretty scary, and I feel bad about that. I had no idea."
Coach Dan Bylsma gave defenseman Alex Goligoski the day off to for rest. Goligoski had a whopping 28 minutes, 19 seconds of ice time in the 5-3 loss Wednesday at Tampa and averages 25:28 per game, tops on the team and 11th in the NHL before last night. ... Winger Arron Asham, who made his Penguins debut Wednesday after recovering from a preseason shoulder injury, missed the Penguins' first two games against his former team, Philadelphia. "I've definitely had this one circled on my calendar," he said of the matchup tonight. "It's going to be nice to get out there and compete against them." ... The Flyers had three power-play goals Tuesday in a 6-3 win against Buffalo, equaling their power-play goal total in their first eight games.
Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org . First Published October 29, 2010 4:00 AM