Penguins Report: Practice 2/3/10
Wednesday, 02.3.2010 / 10:53 AM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
More sounds heard around the locker room:
On how special it is playing in Montreal:
It’s unbelievable. It’s the best atmosphere in the league. You can play a Monday night game there in October against anybody and it seems like a playoff game. It’s a special place to play.
On why they have Montreal’s number:
I think we have played some good hockey against them. We have matchup up well. Maybe they caught us on a good night. One thing for certain is that you can’t take anything for granted and you have to be ready to play every night in this league.
On being worried about any potential rustiness on Saturday:
Absolutely not. We have needed a break like this. Like Duper (Pascal Dupuis) said, I am rusty all year. It doesn’t really matter.
On the measuring stick Washington is:
They are on a streak that not many teams can pull off. It’s amazing. They are playing great hockey and they are getting good play from everybody on their roster.
On the last matchup with Washington being an either/or game:
I thought we played well. I thought we could have played better, too. They are an excellent team. They are better than they were last year. You can tell that. They’re definitely doing to be heard from again.
On what makes them better:
I think they are deeper. I think the additions of (Brendan) Morrison, (Mike) Knuble and (Jason) Chimera were really great moves for them. They are deep and they have a fourth line which works hard and plays a real physical game. They have a lot of good assets.
On winning a couple in a row:
It’s always fun to come back to the rink when you are winning.
On playing in Montreal:
I think it’s fun. The crowd always gets into it. They have a good team this year. It’s exciting to go up there.
On the spark he provides:
I hope so. You are going to have to ask the guys, though.
On getting more shots:
I have to shoot more pucks. The more pucks I shoot the better chance I have of scoring. I have to focus on shooting more pucks.
On playing in Montreal:
It is special. My family is there. It’s a great building. It’s fun to play in Montreal.
On the dominance against Montreal:
I think we have played some good games against them. We have been in the offensive zone working on their D-men. I think we have created a lot in the offensive zone because of our forecheck.
On wanting to go in the Olympic break playing well:
You feel good about yourself. You are happy to come back to the rink. Everybody is smiling. It makes it easier than everybody.
On jumping on the Canadiens early:
I think the fact that they know so much about hockey that they expect so much out of their team. If we can get a couple of goals on them early then they might get on them.
Assist Jason Seidling
Sounds heard around the locker room:
On Orpik playing in the Olympics:
Obviously, he brings physical presence. He’s skating well. We’re playing together, and obviously I know his tendencies. When we’re going to play against him, I’ll tell them how physical he is and how good of a skater he is. He’s playing really well in the defensive zone, so you have to be ready when you’re on the ice with him, because he’ll try to step up and hit you. He’s a physical guy who’s going to obviously add to the American team.
On if his injury is in the back of his mind when he plays:
No. You cannot really go on the ice and worry about that stuff, because you’re not going to do your best and obviously playing in the Olympic Games you want to play at your best level. I would say in this Olympic Games it’s going to be more physical, because we’re going to play on a smaller ice surface. It’s going to be even tougher.
On if he would hesitate to check Sidney Crosby during the Olympics:
If you’re thinking out there, you’re obviously going to be way behind, so you have to react. I’m sure if he’s going to have a chance to finish me, he’ll finish me. It’s just a part of the game, and I’ll do the same. It’s just a natural reaction. You’re not going out there and worrying about hitting this guy and not hitting that guy. That’s not what’s going through your mind. You’re going out there to win those games, and you do everything possible to get a win.
On if 2014 is in the Russians’ minds going into the Olympics:
Obviously, we want to play in our home country in front of our home crowd. It’s huge for us. Russia hasn’t had the Olympics for a while. It’s for all of us, especially for me – a guy whose being older and going out and pushing those Olympic Games, but obviously it’s been a dream for me growing up as a kid to play in those Olympics and playing for my home team is something special. That’s why it’s very important for Russians to make sure that the NHL players are playing over there.
On how there is so little time between the Nashville game and the Olympics:
There’s not going to be enough time for us to prepare. But at the same time, everyone’s in the same situation. It’s what everyone is going to face.
On playing with his teammates on the Olympic team:
They’re all good players, so it won’t take us a long time to get used to. If you think about it, there are a bunch of players who played in the NHL. You know those guys, and you play with them at some point. I’m sure it’s just a matter of a few days to get used to.
On if playing at Montreal is special for him:
It’s different obviously, but it’s still a great atmosphere. The crowd can be intimidating, and sometimes you can use that to your advantage, because they’ll get on their own team. We want to go in there and have a good start.
On the Penguins playing well against them throughout the season:
Well, we have a lot of French Canadians on our team. I think anytime you play an original six team – they’re not a rivalry, but the intensity is there, the emotional level is there. Their crowds are always good, and you want to go out there and do your best.
On the Montreal injuries:
Anytime you lose a guy for any length or period of time, it filters down through the roster, and you have to count on the other guys a little bit more. The cool thing is that it gives opportunities to the young players who come up and step in and prove that they belong. In the last couple of games, we’ve seen them do very well and get their first NHL goals.
Assist Caitlin Kasunich
Head coach Dan Bylsma had the following update on the injury progressions of Chris Kunitz (abdomen) and Maxime Talbot (undisclosed).
Kunitz has been practicing with the team since Jan. 28. Talbot practiced the past few days but left after 15 minutes on the ice Wednesday.
"Kunitz is doing well. We keep pushing him and going forward. He’s getting close. We are hopeful that he could possibly play over the weekend. So we will see on that. Max (Talbot) left practice today. We are waiting to hear exactly how that is. It’s obviously not a good sign in terms of him progressing forward."
"I want to go out and play at full speed and full strength," Kunitz said. "That's what I want to do. Whenever that happens, as far as a time table, I'm not sure.
"I've been with the team for four or five skates. It's nice to be with your teammates, skating around and shooting. The timing, the wind, the strength, that's the stuff you lose from sitting out for so long."
The Penguins used the following line combinations at Wednesday's practice:
Staal-Malkin-(rotation of players)
Bill Guerin (left) shoots into the vacant net; Jay McKee (right) was back at practice.
Jordan Staal (left); Sidney Crosby (right).
Head coach Dan Bylsma and Marc-Andre Fleury (right) have a chat at center ice.
The Penguins held an open practice for three charitable organizations: Make-A-Wish Foundation; The Children's Home of Pittsburgh; and The Children's Institute. Each organization brought around 10 children. Iceburgh and a clown were also on hand to entertain the kids.
Every Penguin practiced on Wednesday (except for Eric Godard, who is out for 3-5 more weeks with a groin injury). Maxime Talbot did leave the ice 15 minutes into the practice and has yet to return. Talbot was the only Penguin to do on-ice work on Tuesday.
The Penguins are making their way onto the ice for their Wednesday afternoon practice. Head coach Dan Bylsma gave his team the day off Tuesday after its dramatic come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres Monday night.
But the crew is back to work Wednesday, including forward Maxime Talbot and Jay McKee - who have been battling undisclosed injuries. McKee missed Pittsburgh's win against Buffalo, while Talbot has been absent from five of the Penguins' last six games.