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Decisions, Decisions: Penguins Breakfast Choices Before Early Game



NHL playoffs Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby

It’s not the most intense or serious story that Pittsburgh Hockey Now will publish, but believe it or not, it may have a direct impact on the Sunday afternoon game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.

What will the Penguins have for a pregame meal?

Early games present a challenge. Have you ever had spaghetti for breakfast (and your college days don’t count)? Penguins winger Zach Aston-Reese tipped us off before the Penguins game in Washington two Sundays ago.

“I’m going to try pasta. I usually have eggs, but I haven’t been good in afternoon games,” he said the day before. “So, I’m going to switch it up.”

The Penguins hung on for a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals that day and the Aston-Reese, Teddy Blueger, and Brandon Tanev line combined for the game-winning goal.

Perhaps Aston-Reese will stick with the pasta regimen. Pasta and carb-loading is standard practice before and after games. In the minors, the pizza table is a god-send for players (and broadcasters who quickly gained 10 pounds with free reign of the pizza table on Sunday mornings).

In the NHL, things are more precise. Experts carefully monitor nutrition and are at the ready to help.

Other Penguins skaters won’t break stride when the alarm goes off Sunday morning. Of course, don’t mess with a hockey player’s superstitions or routine.

“Same breakfast as I have before every game,” Bryan Rust said. “Nope (no pasta). Eggs. Traditional breakfast.”

Perhaps next time we’ll PHN will do an in-depth dive into how the eggs are prepared.

According to, the pregame meal should be eaten at least two hours before the game, and players generally must report two hours before the game, so those eggs should hit the frying pan (or microwave?) by 9 a.m. Also, make sure to include a side of bacon or ham and whole-wheat toast.

The meal should also have a balance of carbs, proteins, and fats. (Why again, no bacon?) The most common pregame meal for a night game common is pasta with meat or chicken.

The Penguins most superstitious player, Sidney Crosby, doesn’t vary. So, boil the water and drop the noodles.

“Same thing every time. That’s what your body is used to before games,” Crosby told PHN, but we had to clarify exactly what will be on the table Sunday morning.

“Yeah, pasta. Eggs. It’s important for your energy,” Crosby said, though we’re pretty sure that was acknowledging the choices, and Crosby won’t actually have spaghetti and eggs for breakfast.

Unless, of course, he did one time and scored a goal.

So, yes, I bothered to ask a few guys what will be on the breakfast table. And yes, I got a few strange looks until I explained Aston-Reese’s dilemma, and the boys knew I wasn’t oddly prying. In case you’re wondering, a hockey writer should have few calories, perhaps Honey Nut Cheerios or a bagel, and wait until during the game to grab a large coffee. After all, there is no Sunday nap, and we’ll be at work all day.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are within striking distance of the Metro Division-leading Washington Capitals. The Penguins (35-15-6) trail Washington by three points and have two games in hand.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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