Hello, Penguins fans!

Whether you are checking us out for the first time or are a regular visitor, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you here at the Penguins Insider blog. My name is Tyler Piccotti, and I’m the new team beat writer at The Citizens’ Voice.

I just want to start by thanking all of you for the many words of encouragement you’ve sent over the last couple days. When I say having the opportunity to cover the Baby Pens is a dream come true, I am not exaggerating. I have lived in Lackawanna County for my entire life (excluding three years at Syracuse University), and I’ve followed the team closely since … well … the beginning. I was only 6 years old, but I remember the excitement of seeing the Penguins play for the first time at what was then the Northeastern Pennsylvania Civic Arena and Convention Center (boy, that’s a mouthful) against the now defunct Kentucky Thoroughblades. That night cemented my love for hockey, and I was a regular at team home games and community events through much of my childhood.

So, to be in this position so many years later is very special, and my goal is to spark the same youthful excitement and enthusiasm that I had growing up in all of you. I know I have some big shoes to fill thanks to the awesome job that Seth Lakso and Jonathan Bombulie did previously, but I will embrace that challenge and use your passion for hockey as motivation.

That’s where you come in.

I have a few ideas about how to make our Penguins content as engaging as possible (maybe a weekly mailbag, for example), but I am asking for your help and input in the process. What kind of features would you like to see going forward? Are you getting enough opportunities to interact with me and other Penguins fans?

The way I see it, we are all in this together. So, please do not hesitate to reach out with any ideas or questions you may have (either at 570-821-2089 or tpiccotti@citizensvoice.com).

To show how committed I am to that ideal, I thought I would tell you a little more about myself with a short icebreaker (pun intended). If you read our Penguins Weekly page last season, you will remember the Rapid Fire question feature we did with a Penguins player or coach. Well, let’s officially add beat writer to that list:

Favorite movie or TV show: I’ve been on a big TV kick over the last couple months. Right now, I love “The Leftovers” on HBO and am trying to get through all the episodes I missed until now. “Brockmire” and “Outcast” are up there, too.

Movie is a much tougher call, but I’ll go with “Mad Max: Fury Road.” It’s at least the best film I’ve seen in the last five or so years.

Favorite sport other than hockey: Auto racing, believe it or not.

Do you collect anything? Scale-model diecast racecars (see above). I was a huge Jeff Gordon fan growing up and have a bunch of his coolest-looking paint schemes.

Favorite hockey player growing up: Sorry to say it, but Alex Ovechkin. Who wouldn’t want that killer slap shot?

Cats or dogs? Cats, all the way.

What is the best present you’ve ever received? My parents actually got a cat in correlation with my birthday once. That was pretty cool.

Favorite music artist: Phil Collins, solo or with Genesis.

What’s the last song you listened to? “Enjoy the Ride” by Krewella. I discovered EDM last summer and now listen to it all the time. If you have any recommendations, I’d be happy to listen.

If you weren’t a journalist, what would you do? Probably something like public relations or a similar field. When I was really young, I wanted to be an engineer and design amusement park rides. But that requires WAY too much math.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Any variation of pasta noodles and tomato sauce, pretty much.

So, that’s a little about me. I promise we’ll stick to hockey from now on. I’ll be back really soon with some thoughts from the Stanley Cup Final. Jake Guentzel will more than likely be mentioned.