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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. New Jersey

Saturday, 10.24.2009 / 11:05 AM / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. New Jersey


7:20 PM:
Check out Jason Seidling's live in-game blog, kicking off at 7:30 p.m.
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1:01 PM:
Highlights from head coach Dan Bylsma's press conference:

On game-planning for Parise:
Most teams have a guy or two guys that we talk about their tendencies and what you can expect from them on a night to night basis. Parise is one of those guys where his night to night game is almost the same night in and night out. He’s tenacious, he hounds the puck, he wants the puck on his stick and he plays that way every night. He’s a very good player. What to expect from him tonight is exactly that. There’s no quit in him. He’ll lift your stick, he’ll go to the net, he’ll win puck battles, he’ll go to the net even if there’s no room there. He has speed in the neutral zone, speed wide, a dangerous player. Really a guy, along with Langenbrunner and their line, make that team go in a lot of cases, especially offensively.
On countering a tenacious player with more tenacity:
I never like to count on just tenacity because eventually you’ll find someone more tenacious as you are. It’s forcing them to play in the defensive zone takes the bite out of a tenacious player’s game. If you can play the first half of his shifts concentrating on getting into the offensive zone, that leaves less energy when he does get the puck to go to the offensive end. That’s a great way to take some steam out of a guy that forechecks, is tenacious and hounds the offensive zone, force him to play defense for a portion of his shift. That takes a little bit of energy out of him and his line.
On the play of Crosby and Malkin and Sham-Wow moments (asked by Mike Lange):
At the end of the game and see that those two guys have played 25 minutes, I question myself of how much I put them on the ice. But there are times when you feel like you have to get them back out there when they’re going. You might use the word Sham-Wow then. They were going. They were driving our team in the third. It started with the shift where Kunitz got in a fight but that shift in particular, with Sid’s line hounding the net, getting to the net, getting loose pucks and the energy started to go in our favor. The shot count started going up in our side. You look for times to get them back out there. I don’t like playing them 25 minutes but in a situation like that, you have to let them go.
On Crosby banking pucks to himself off of the back of the net:
I thought about that one time in my sleep. It’s a play you do in the summer time. I think Sid’s tried it four or five times this year already. He can beat you physically and protecting the puck. You can’t just count on him making a cute play or a fancy play. He did use it and I haven’t gone to the dictionary for Sham-Wow but that was a great shift. There was a lot of tenacity on that shift that said we have a chance to get this going here.
On improving the power play:
I think one area we need to improve on is just entering the puck and the breakout. We didn’t get the fundamental basics that we need on the breakout to have success entering. In the end zone, I thought we could have shot a little bit more. We got a power-play goal. Kunitz had a real good power-play chance. We were around the net. We did a lot of good things. Breakout can be better, entry can be better. We just have to focus on Goligoski and Letang being ready to shoot the puck. When they are that will open up more pucks to the net and more lanes and avenues for the other guys around them.
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12:38 PM:
Check out Tribune-Review Penguins' beat reporter Rob Rossi's blog account of the Penguins' 3-2 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers.

In this edition, Rossi gets the usual brush off in the locker room, much to the enjoyment of team owner Mario Lemieux.

Left: The Smokin' Joes Saloon regular ponders what passes for popular culture in today's world prior to head coach Dan Bylsma's press conference.
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12:29 PM:
Jason Seidling and Tom Mast caught up with a few players in the locker room following the team's optional morning skate. Here's the latest buzz around the team.

Sergei Gonchar
On injury update:
It’s only been two or three days. There’s no real progress on a broken bone in such a short time. I just have to skate, because I want to be in shape when I come back. Skating is more for my conditioning than anything else. It’s not like over three days it’s become so much better. The time frame is the same. To keep my conditioning going I have to skate.
On if he expected to practice so early:
Yeah. When it happened the doctors told me that right away, even before we made a decision of how long it was going to be and that stuff. We knew right away that I could skate, because it’s just my arm. I can skate for my conditioning.
On shadowing players during practice without stick handling:
That’s exactly my goal. I just want to make sure that I’m keeping up with the guys. Skating-wise I have to do what everybody else is doing.
On if he’ll skate every practice:
I’m going to be there every day. When it happened the doctors told me that what I can do and I’m going to do it every day.

Sidney Crosby
On not being complacent:
I think a lot of the guys have pride in how we play. Whether you have success or not, you have to show up every night. I think guys have just tried to be accountable and make sure they bring their best every night. We have had some tough games or tough periods but found ways to win. We have to continue to make sure we improve, but continue to find ways to win.
On being a better team:
I think whether we are at the top of the league or not we look to improve. We know it’s early and there are a lot of things we have to be better at. We are not going to get a lot of easy nights. A lot of teams are measuring themselves against us. I think that is the challenge we have to be ready for each and every night.
On the trademark of the Penguins thus far:
I think we want to be a pretty aggressive team that forces turnovers and capitalizes on those turnovers. That is always frustrating to play against a team that forces mistakes, and then when you do make them, they make you pay. That’s not a fun to play against. That’s what we want to be known for. I think consistency and a good work ethic brings that out of us. That’s how we try to play.
On the success against Brodeur:
He is a great goalie. I think if anything, when you are playing a goaltender like him you are just trying to simplify things. Maybe with that has come a little bit of success. I think you just try to get traffic and you work harder to get those rebounds because you know for the most part he is going to make that first save. I think probably just trying to simplify things helps.
On it being unique to be home two nights in a row against a division team:
Usually with our division, we are pretty close to everyone so we can play back-to-backs and travel and it is not that big of a deal. Most guys can’t sleep right after a game anyway. Just to be home and have that kind of comfort level.
On spending time with Brodeur at the Olympic camp:
We just hung out. All the guys tried to get to know each other. I had met him a few times before that. That was the great thing about being at that camp, getting to know guys a little more personally instead of playing and competing against them. You get to know them as people – what they do in the summer and where they grew up. That was fun for me, I enjoyed that.

Marc-Andre Fleury
On it getting old playing against Brodeur:
No, not really. I think it is always fun to be on the ice against him. Just watching him play I like to see the little things he does.
On how often he has talked to Brodeur:
I think at the Olympic camp I had the chance to really talk to him more. It was pretty cool. He was very cool and nice, and he gave me some tips.
On what was said:
We talked about everything – life in general I guess. It was fun to be with him.
On feeling more comfortable talking to Brodeur having a Cup of his own:
He is the guy I have watched play since I was very young so I think I will always look up to him no matter what happen.

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11:37 AM:
For the record, players that took part in the optional morning skate were (in no particular order) forwards Tyler Kennedy, Jordan Staal, Eric Godard, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Bourque and Mike Rupp, defensemen Martin Skoula, Jay McKee, Kris Letang, Alex Goligoski and Sergei Gonchar and goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Brent Johnson.

Not a bad turnout considering the team is playing in back-to-back days and last night's game when to overtime AND a shootout.
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11:08 AM:
Some shots from the team's optional morning skate from Saturday:

 

 
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10:38 AM:
The Penguins held an optional morning skate practice Saturday morning. And quite a few players participated, but one particular player really stood out.

Wearing the red "no contact" jersey, defenseman Sergei Gonchar was on the ice for Pittsburgh. Gonchar broke his left wrist this past Tuesday and will be sidelined for four to six weeks. But the injury did not require surgery and Gonchar took part some skating drills with his teammates.

While he still has quite some time ahead to rehab and get back to full strength, it was still nice to seed "Sarge" back on the ice.

 
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