Penguins Report: Game Day vs. New Jersey
Thursday, 11.12.2009 / 10:47 AM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
Sounds heard around the locker room:
On New Jersey being tough to score against:
I think the first meeting with them was clearly a chess match of patience and good positional, defensive hockey. They used their power play, countered with one goal and then used their power play to get up by two. They play an extremely patient game, a team game. There is not a lot of variance in how they play. In watching their previous games and how they have been playing, it is pretty consistent shift after shift, period after period. That is what we have to be ready for. We have to make sure we stay that same patient course. We have to make sure we don’t frustrated with how well they are playing and how ready they are to play defense and clog things up. We have to make sure we get to the offensive zone and be content with being able to wear things down and force them to play in that defensive zone. We are probably going to have to be content with getting pucks and shots with the way their team has been playing five-man defensive hockey.
On Sidney Crosby:
He is a great player and he can contribute in other ways – playmaking and scoring big goals. I don’t think anybody has questions about whether he can carry the team or however you say it but we need to help him out. I feel like one player cannot do it right now. We need more than one line – we need the whole team to step up and play their best. Hopefully we will do that tonight.
On seeing the current rash of injuries at prior stops:
Maybe not so many in this short a period of time. Plus, right after we started really hot and were playing very well we start losing body after body every game. It is adversity and something we need to go through. We will learn and we will deal with that. Hopefully we will come back and show some teeth.
On holding the ship together:
We have to keep it simple. That is the main thing. When you lose a bunch of guys like that it is not easy to replace them but everyone collectively has to chip and make sure they are doing their part.
On the new lines:
I thought we generated some good chances last game. The main thing for us is going to be to forecheck well and be aggressive. Cookie (Matt Cooke) is a guy who brings a physical presence and Feds (Ruslan Fedotenko) can shoot the puck so we will try to work to those strengths.
On constantly having new additions to the roster:
It is tough. You have new guys coming in and other guys playing different roles they never have. It is not easy. That is something every team faces, although maybe not as many all at the same time. That is what you are faced with. It doesn’t change no matter what the situation is. You have to find ways to win games. As tough as it is you have to find ways to get through it.
On trying to score against New Jersey:
As long as we realize it is going to come with hard work and keeping it simple we don’t have to try to change anything. We have to play the same way we know how to play. If it is the case where it is a low-scoring game we just have to be patient and let what has happened the past few games affect tonight. We just have to be sure that we start fresh here at home and get back to the way we need to play.
On this being a big game:
Yeah, somewhat. I think we focus more on our game. I think that is the main thing after a few losses and guys going down. We want to get back on the right track here. I think that is our focus. We are not watching the standing a whole lot. We are aware of it, but it is more about getting back on track.
On having to do more:
I just try to focus on being my best. That is all I can do. I think that is more productive than trying to do everything myself. It never seems to work when you try to do that. The game is a team game, but for me personally it is just a matter of making sure I am sharp, leading by example and doing the right things to create ways to make chances.
Assist: Jason Seidling
Here is the latest update on the progress of Malkin and Talbot. Both have been cleared for contact. Malkin hopes to play in Pittsburgh's game Saturday night against Boston, while Talbot is still at least 10 days away from returning. Read more here
Just got the news from head coach Dan Bylsma on Orpik's status. He will miss two weeks with a lower-body injury. That is promising news considering how bad the situation could have been. It's always a welcomed note to a defensive corps that is already depleted. Read more here
The Penguins took the ice for their morning skate in preparation for their showdown with Atlantic Division rival New Jersey tonight at Mellon Arena at 7:30 p.m. There were a few notable events at the morning skate to be mentioned.
First, defenseman Brooks Orpik was not on the ice. Orpik left Pittsburgh's game at Boston on Tuesday in the first period with an undisclosed injury and did not return. We expect to get an update on Orpik's condition from head coach Dan Bylsma after practice.
Second, even with all the injury woes the team is fighting through now, help does appear to be on the horizon. Forwards Evgeni Malkin and Maxime Talbot have been cleared for contact and participated in the practice without their red jerseys. We will get an update from coach on their progress as well, but at least it's one small positive step for a team that has been ravaged by injuries.
Evgeni Malkin (left) and Maxime Talbot (right) in their black practice jerseys. The pair have been cleared for contact and discarded their red "no contact" jerseys.
With all the injuries on the Pittsburgh blue line, Ben Lovejoy (left) and Deryk Engelland (right) will be expected to play some quality minutes for the Penguins.