Penguins Report: Game Day vs. St. Louis
Tuesday, 10.20.2009 / 11:54 AM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
Pittsburgh students got a treat today while waiting in line to purchase tickets as part of the Penguins "Student Rush" program in cooperation with American Eagle Outfitters. The crew was camped outside Mellon Arena at 8:30 a.m. and a few hours later met with Penguins radio announcer and Hall of Famer Mike Lange.
Lange stopped by and chatted with the students for a while and posed for a picture. And now an added bonus, they landed on the Penguins' website for their efforts.
Read the whole story here.
Sounds heard around the locker room:
On what he expects from St. Louis:
They’ve played some good hockey. They have a lot of youth, a lot of speed up front. So we should expect a fast game from them. That seems to be the story with a lot of teams, playing an aggressive, fast-paced game. I think we should expect that.
On the St. Louis defense:
I think that’s just structure. Andy Murray’s a great coach. I’m sure they’re taught well and they’re disciplined. They play strong defensively with a pretty aggressive speed game. We’ve got to worry about our game and get used to seeing a lot of that from teams.
On the young St. Louis defense:
I think any team we play we try to put a lot of pressure on the defense, no matter who we’re playing. The fact that maybe they’re younger, maybe that’ll emphasize it even more. But I think that’s usually our game plan anyway, to get the puck behind the other team’s D and really use our speed. I think we’ll especially look to do that.
On seeing, scouting the Blues:
I mean we don’t really play them a lot. We’ll have our meeting tonight and find out more. I think, for the most part, our game plan doesn’t really change a whole lot. We’re going to try to do the same things we always do. If we see something there that we can take advantage of we’ll try to do it. But for the most part, when you’re playing teams that are new or you don’t see a whole lot, you focus on your game even more then.
On the St. Louis defensive system:
I think it’s just everybody chipping in. Last year our goaltender was spectacular in St. Louis. It all started from there. Guys gained a lot of confidence with what Chris Mason was doing. The young talent got a lot of ice time. Those guys got their confidence going and I think the players in general just really paid attention to detail. Each guy made the guy next to him better.
On giving advice about the St. Louis Blues:
Andy Murray, he changes his systems quite often, so you can really just pinpoint what he’s going to do tonight. I know he will go over our game tape and see what we’re doing. It’s a little bit of a chess match with him. He tries to counter things. I’ve spoken with the coaches and tried to let them know maybe a thing here or there that we can expect from them.
On St. Louis head coach Andy Murray:
Preparation and the attention to detail and the work ethic he brings to coaching has got to be right up there at the highest. And it’s evident in the way he prepares his teams and his teams play. If you’re fortunate enough to sit in on a few of his meetings he’s a detail coach. That was kind of a newer thing for me. I really took a lot from his approach to the game.
On what Andy Murray would say about the Penguins:
I think he’d talk about the pace that we play the game and the skill that we play the game. But I think if you think it’s going to be a pretty game, if you’re playing against our team, I think he’d talk about the tenacity at which we do play the game, our skill players play, even on the power play, the second efforts and how tough it is to play a guy like Malkin and Crosby physically. They work hard in the trenches. I think he’s getting his team ready to play a fast game and to be prepared for some pretty physical battles down low against some guys who are tenacious on the puck.
On what he expects from St. Louis:
Andy will be playing the game based on what we do. They’ll be doing a lot of things based on how we’ve played the last few games. That’s how they expect them to play. Andy has always done that as a coach. So he’ll watch us closely and be changing and tweaking things based on what we’ve done in the past. That’s what I expect from his team.
On tweaking things for the Penguins, going head to head with Murray:
There are coaches that like to do one thing and try to perfect it and play. There are other coaches that like to change. Andy likes to change. In a sense, Andy likes to play a chess match. It’s probably going to be a little bit of changing throughout the game on both sides.
On the St. Louis defense:
They have a couple different things that could pose problems for our team tonight. They have a skilled group of forwards that work hard, tenacious. They win a lot of puck battles. They come back hard and lift sticks and get back going the other way with some speed and skill, coming at you with some speed. Their defense is a mobile group. No. 6 (Erik Johnson) will be up in the play playing defense as much as he is going back and playing defense. His last game is evidence of him being dangerous and being hard to handle offensively. It’s a challenge. He’s out there against guys that are looking for offense. If you’re not aware of him defensively he’s going to hurt you, because he can skate up ice. He’s into the play on rushes. He’s also in the play in the offensive zone. So it’s difficult to play offense against him when you should be aware of him defensively. We have to be real careful about how we play the game tonight, not take chances, not trade chances. If we get careless they will take advantage with their mobility back there in getting into the offensively play. What they did last game was evidence. The three assists on the back end is evidence of being aware of what they can do.
Assist to Tom Mast.
Some quick pics:
Left is an official NHL practice puck; Right is the "Hockey Fights Cancer" neck tie to be worn tonight by broadcasters and Penguins officials.
Left is Penguins video coordinator Jim Britt; Right, strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar makes protein drinks for the players.
Assist to Erik Heasley
Two minutes with Marc-Andre Fleury:
On if he plans on losing after his 7-0 start:
Well, that’s not my plan. I am sure it will come someday, but I am in no rush.
On if he thinks much about losing:
Mostly (I think just) game-by-game trying to get those two points every night. I don’t over think it.
On facing a team like St. Louis you don’t see every night:
We will have some video about their systems before the game. I’ll try to know what their tendencies are and what they’re power plays is like.
On talking to Jay McKee about St. Louis’ tendencies:
Yeah, I always like to know a little bit about their players – their skills, what they like to do on a shot, if they are a passer or if they like to deke, if they have a good shot. (Those are) just little things to watch for. It’s just little things to watch for. It’s always good to have a little spy on the other team.
It’s been awesome since the beginning of the year. We have guys diving in front in front of pucks blocking shots.
Assist to Jason Seidling
Prior to the Steelers' game Sunday against the Cleveland Browns the Sporting News held a ceremony to honor Pittsburgh as the No. 1 Sports City. Mario Lemieux represented the Penguins at the ceremony.
Thanks to Steelers photographer Mike Fabus for providing us with the photo.
Nothing new to report from the Penguins' Tuesday morning skate. As usual this season, the team skated in their normal line combinations and defensive pairings.
Bylsma didn't reveal the Penguins' plans for tonight's lineup makeup. When asked if there would be any changes, Bylsma replied:
"None scheduled right now. But at game time it could happen."
Below are the players that took shifts together:
Marc-Andre Fleury gets the nod in net.