Outdoor game to return soon?

PENGUINS NOTEBOOK

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The Penguins, who played host to the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field, would like to stage another outdoors game, and David Morehouse, the team's president and CEO, seems confident they will get the chance.

Perhaps sooner than many people might have expected.

Morehouse, while cautioning that nothing is guaranteed, said he believes there will be another game played outside here "within the next three years, I think."

In addition to the game at Heinz Field, the Penguins played in the inaugural Winter Classic in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2008 and will face Chicago March 1 at Soldier Field as part of the league's Stadium Series.

"I'm not sure whether we'd get one, because we seem to be playing in them all the time, and there are going to be a lot of people saying that they'd rather have their teams playing in it," Morehouse said.

"But from a marketing perspective, because we've done so well with television rights [and] because we've done so well on the ice, we're a natural fit. And the marketplace, Pittsburgh's a hockey town, so it would be good to host another game."

Although outdoors games aren't the once-per-season event they were a few years ago, Morehouse said he isn't concerned that they will lose the novelty that is a major part of their appeal, although he acknowledges that is a danger.

"I don't think people go to stadium games because it's a good way to watch hockey, so I wouldn't anticipate us moving from arenas to stadiums," he said. "The reason they go is the novelty of it, so there's a balance [that must be struck] between turning the novelty into routine.

"If you turn a novelty into routine, people will not longer be excited about the outdoor games. I think we're a long way from that. I don't think this Stadium Series will do it, but I think we should keep an eye on it. I don't know if we can do this [multiple games] every year."

It's been a while

Sidney Crosby's hat trick in the Penguins' 5-4 victory Saturday at Tampa was his first on the road since Oct. 28, 2006 in Philadelphia, and just the second he has recorded outside of Pittsburgh.

He has gotten his share of three-goal games, however, especially considering how many games he has missed because of injuries in the past few winters.

His hat trick against the Lightning was Crosby's seventh since the start of the 2008-09 season, tying him for the second most in the league in that span.

Carolina center Eric Staal has an NHL-high nine hat tricks in that time, while Crosby, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and Washington winger Alex Ovechkin have seven each.

Early look

Here are some of the Penguins' statistical leaders through the first dozen days of their season:

Points -- Crosby, 9.

Goals -- Crosby, 5.

Assists -- Matt Niskanen, Malkin and Crosby, 4.

Shots -- Crosby, 20.

Game-winning goals -- Chuck Kobasew, 2.

Hits -- Brooks Orpik, 20.

Faceoff success percentage -- Joe Vitale, .640.

Penalty minutes -- Tanner Glass, 12.

Blocked shots -- Orpik, 16.

Plus-minus rating -- Niskanen, plus-7.

Tip-ins

The Penguins had a scheduled day off Sunday. They will reconvene today to begin preparing for a visit from Edmonton at 7:08 p.m. Tuesday. ... The Penguins are scoring an average of four goals per game, but San Jose (4.8) and St. Louis (4.75) have been more prolific offensively.

penguins

Dave Molinari: Dmolinari@Post-Gazette.com or Twitter @MolinariPG. First Published October 13, 2013 8:00 PM


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