Pens westward-bound

LANCE HORNBY AND BILL LANKHOF

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

The Pittsburgh Penguins embark on their first western Canada road trip since 2003-04 after finishing with the Maple Leafs last night.

It'll be the first time western fans will have an opportunity to see Sidney Crosby play. It's such a big deal that yesterday assistant director of media relations Brian Werger was still orchestrating media conferences to be held at hotels in Edmonton and Vancouver.

"We've had hundreds of media requests. There just wouldn't be room in the dressing rooms for everyone so this seemed to be the best way to handle it," he said.

It's also a big deal for Colby Armstrong who gets to play his first NHL game with his family and friends from Edmonton in the stands.

Werger said the team has been besieged by ticket requests because centre Erik Christensen is also from the area, Darryl Sydor once played in Edmonton and Jarkko Ruutu has to fulfill requests in Vancouver where he made friends when he played with the Canucks.

Each visiting team gets a quota of 50 tickets for each game which players can buy and pass out to family and friends. It won't be enough. Here's hoping Sidney isn't still out front trying to buy tickets from Edmonton scalpers next Wednesday night when they drop the puck for the opening faceoff.

MAXIMUM EXPOSURE

Maxime Talbot gave about 10,000 people what they wanted yesterday morning and provided a quartet of Pittsburgh Penguins a good laugh in the process.

Feeling bad that such a large Air Canada Centre crowd stayed around after the Leafs open practice in hopes of seeing Crosby and all the Penguins and prodded by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Talbot went back in the room, changed into Crosby's game jersey and took a few first-star laps around centre ice waving to the mostly young fans.

His true identity hidden by his helmet, few people caught on at first.

"It felt incredible to be the best player in the world for two minutes," Talbot said. "When I came back out (as himself) they were booing."

The Leafs charged $6.50 with all proceeds to charity to see a full practice with some entertainment, but didn't expect the Pens to show up in force, after they arrived at 1 a.m. after a home game against Dallas. Talbot, Fleury, Dany Sabourin and Mark Recchi were the only four Pens who came to the rink.

LOOSE LEAFS

Darcy Tucker was a question mark for last night's game after a mishap at practice yesterday morning. He lost an edge and went heavily into the boards, hurting his shoulder. As late as 6 p.m., he was doubtful, but recovered.


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