Penguins Report: School Practice
Friday, 12.4.2009 / 10:27 AM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
Sounds heard around the locker room:
On Matt Cooke:
Matt Cooke will be going back with 11 and 48.
On moving Rupp off that line:
I don’t see the use of Rupp much different than the way he was used the last two games. When he scored his third goal, when he was a part of the assist (Thursday) night he was up with Geno and Sid. When he scored his hat-trick goal he was on a different line there. Mike’s been intermittently used to go up on different lines. We’ve seen the success he’s had. He may get himself a few more shifts up now because of the way he’s playes and if he continues to play that way. Certainly what Matt Cooke does for our team and does for that line is pretty important to that line’s success. Matt will go back in there and Mike Rupp will still be used like he was in the past two games.
On Chicago, Hossa:
I’d been interested to poll the players and see how they feel about it. Certainly the talk about this game is more than your usual game, Hossa coming in to town and the quality payers that they have. They draw attention to themselves by the quality of their team, how they play, where they’re at. They’re on of the teams that’s in the top five in the league right now for sure. Hossa coming back, people that can throw down the ice, it’s a team you get excited to play and we don’t get to pay them very often. It’s kind of like this is our one time to see some of these kids and how they’re progressing and how they’re playing. There will be a little bit more of a buzz to the game I think.
On qualities of Chicago:
Other than watching them on TV. The one game last year against them stands out in terms of how they can come at you with speed and skill. I have to feel like that’s sometimes how other teams feel about us. That game last year we were fortunate to win, to tie that game up and win that game in overtime. I think we got up in the game and they just kept coming with speed ad at times gave us some problems at some fits with, not just the pace at which their team can play, but the skill that they have at the same time, executing the pace. The D get involved and the D are always part of the play. They play a game that can give teams fits and they do it with a lot of skill. It’ll be interesting to see how we butt heads and how we get to our game, they get to they’re game, if they can put us back on our heels. There’s a lot to that game. If you play San Jose, you play Chicago, you play these good teams once a year sometimes twice. The game has a different feel. You don’t know how it’s going to play out.
The Penguins held their practice ending shootout and in this edition, in the spirit of the 8,000-plus school kids in attendence, the loser had to put on shoes and run through the crowd giving high fives to the children.
The competition came down to Sidney Crosby and Jay McKee. All the children wanted Crosby to lose so that he would have to run through the crowd and they cheered whenever he didn't score, which brought a wide smile to the captain's face.
The Penguins goaltenders did their best to oblige the kids by allowing other players to score easy goals. However, a miscommunication foiled their plan. With Crosby and McKee the final two participants, Crosby scored on Marc-Andre Fleury and threw his arms in the air in excitement. McKee needed to score to extend the competition to another round.
As McKee skated in on Brent Johnson, he flashed him his left hand and opened his fingers, trying to tell Johnson that he was going to shoot at the goaltender's five-hole. But Johnson thought McKee was signaling that he was going to shoot glove side. So Johnson dropped to the ice and lowered his glove, but McKee's shot went off of Johnon's pads.
Johnson fell backwards in disappointment and McKee was sent to the dressing room to swap his skates for shoes and run through the crowd.
McKee climbs over the seats to join the crowd.
With no other way to get back to the ice, McKee scaled the glass and dropped into the penalty box.
Thousands of students in grades 1-8 from throughout Allegheny County are special guests of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the team’s practice on Friday at Mellon Arena.
This is the second year that the Penguins are extending this unique opportunity to local schools in an effort to underscore the importance of education while treating kids to an NHL practice session.
Each school in Allegheny County that has students in grades 1-8 was invited to attend and was permitted to bring as many as 250 students. Many schools have told us that the tickets were used as a reward for achievements in academics or community service.
Each student in attendance will receive a “Practice Makes Perfect” workbook, designed to help them apply hockey to education. The workbook is courtesy of Highmark and the Penguins.
The event is presented by Highmark Healthy High 5.