Penguins Report: Game Day at New York
Monday, 11.30.2009 / 11:35 AM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
AROUND THE RINK (MADISON SQUARE GARDEN EDITION)
It was a busy afternoon for Shero and Bylsma. After the duo appeared on NHL Live!, they headed up to the NHL league office to witness the unveiling of the league's re-creation of the Stanley Cup in room form.
In a semi-circle area of the offices, each Stanley Cup winner in the history of the Cup have been etched into the walls. Shero and Bylsma arrived with a Penguins banner covering the 2009 championship team. They pulled the banner and revealed the engraving of Pittsburgh's championship team from last year.
After pulling down the banner, Bylsma pointed to the wall and exclaimed, "There's my name!"
The league office was grateful for Shero and Bylsma's attendence. And Shero joked, "It's not a problem. Let's do it again next year."
Penguins general manager Ray Shero was a guest on NHL Live! In the middle of his live interview, head coach Dan Bylsma stopped by to join the fun.
The Penguins have a few lineup changes heading into their 7 p.m. showdown with the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
First, the team learned yesterday that Matt Cooke was given a two-game suspension by the NHL. Losing Cooke means that Chris Bourque will get back into the lineup for Pittsburgh. The team will rotate with Bourque, Craig Adams and Mike Rupp on the third line with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy.
"We’ll see it by committee," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "Craig Adams, Chris Bourque, Rupper will see time there in that spot."
And on the blue line, the Penguins will not have the services of Alex Goligoski, who did not participate in the team's morning skate. However, veteran blueliner Jay McKee, who has missed the last six games with a finger infection, will be back on the ice.
"McKee will be in," Bylsma said. "We’re one in and one out type of situation. Jay McKee just got cleared to play yesterday and it so happens there’s a spot for him. But that’s been the way that it’s been for us. We feel like we have depth at positions with guys that can go in and play. We had that with guys coming up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and tonight we’re fortunate that the guy going in is a seasoned NHL veteran."
"It’s been a revolving door in our trainers’ room with guys coming in and out," McKee said. "It’s nice to be out of the room and on the ice again."
Some shots of Pittsburgh's morning skate at Madison Square Garden:
Sounds heard around the locker room:
On Matt Cooke’s two-game suspension:
I don’t get to have a take on it. The league reviews those hits and they’ve made a decision. We have to move on.
On Rupp taking his spot:
We’ll see it by committee. Craig Adams, Chris Bourque, Rupper will see time there in that spot.
On home-and-home series:
My experience in games like this is that there is an anticipation about what the game might be like. But it rarely ends up the way you anticipate it. There’s almost sometimes a wait and see, or test the water with your toe to see how the games going to start and how the tempo and physicality of the game is going to weigh out. That’s kind of the way I anticipate this game going in terms of that. We’re just going to come and play our game, try to get to our game as quickly as we can. Let that dictate how the game is played and not wait to see what happens or what’s going to carry over, who’s going to step up. We’re going to try to get to our game as quickly as we can and let that dictate the flow and tempo of the game.
On lineup shuffle:
McKee will be in. We’re one in and one out type of situation. Jay McKee just got cleared to play yesterday and it so happens there’s a spot for him. But that’s been the way that it’s been for us. We feel like we have depth at positions with guys that can go in and play. We had that with guys coming up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and tonight we’re fortunate that the guy going in is a seasoned NHL veteran.
On why the Penguins have struggled at Madison Square Garden:
They play well here. They have a good crowd behind them. It’s something that as an opposing team you have to be ready to play against their best, see their best. That’s the case with this team.
On getting lift from the home crowd:
It’s like a lot of teams. They try to set the tone when they’re at home, get their crowd into it. The atmosphere like it is here, they really want their crowd to be involved. That’s always a challenge the opposing team faces.
On if momentum carry over in a home-and-home affair:
The biggest thing is to erase (thoughts of Saturday’s 8-3 win) as quickly as you can. It’s always great when you have a game like that but being on the side of it, you always play your best games after you lose a tough one. Everybody responds. Everyone is a little more intense. A lot of hockey players have a lot of pride. Guys don’t like losing like that, especially this team. They have a lot of pride and their going to bounce back so we have to make sure that we erase last game and get into this one here.
On returning tonight:
It’s been a revolving door in our trainers’ room with guys coming in and out. It’s nice to be out of the room and on the ice again.
On his finger:
The pain threshold is at a point where it is bearable on the ice. It really doesn’t affect me. If I pick up a hard pass and makes my stick rattle if I don’t have a good grip, it’ll have some tenderness but it’s past that point of having to worry about it.
On the home-and-home series:
I think it will be intense tonight, the way the game went last time with some good hits and a lot of goals. They’re going to come out tonight to make a point and we have to do the same. We can’t sit back and wait to see what they’re going to do. We have to play our game execute and not try to worry about the outside stuff.
On playing at MSG:
It’s special playing here. There’s so much history. So many people and events have been through here. Being on the East Coast for a lot of years, I enjoy coming here. Every arena has a different feel to it on the ice. I’ve always felt pretty good on the ice here and I look forward to getting back there.
As we await word on the reason for Goligoski's absence, more good news has filtered in regarding the team's injury status. Defenseman Jay McKee, out the previous six games with an infected finger, will return to the lineup Monday against the Rangers.
In his first season with the Penguins, McKee has been rock-solid defensively, ranking fourth in the NHL with 69 hits and sitting third among Penguins defenders with a plus-5 rating. Through 21 games he has one goal and five points.
The Penguins have hit the ice at Madison Square Garden in New York for the morning skate using their normal line combinations and defense pairings. However, defenseman Alex Goligoski is not on the ice. Head coach Dan Bylsma will provide an update on his status following practice.