Penguins Report: 2/25/10 Practice
Thursday, 02.25.2010 / 11:38 AM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
Sounds heard around the locker room:
On when Gonchar and Malkin will be back:
My belief is they are coming back to the area on (Friday). They will be getting a break much like these guys got one. It wouldn’t be much different than an all-star break. They will get a few days to catch up and get some rest before we get back to it.
On if they will practice before Tuesday’s game:
The plan would be to have them practice March 1.
On giving those guys a mental blow:
They have been going every day. They didn’t get a break. They can argue that they were amped up in terms of the arena and situation they were in. They probably need the mental break more than the physical break.
On the Canada-Russia game:
I got home when it was 3-0. I didn’t rewind and see the start.
On if he was surprised at what Canada did:
I am very surprised at the game. I was very surprised to see it 3-0. I was very surprised to see how they got their goals on Chances. I expected it to be a closer game than that. I was really surprised.
On how he thought Malkin played in the Olympics:
I have tapes of Geno’s two other games, but that was the only one I saw him play. Other than hearing reports from other people I really didn’t see much of the tournament. I can tell you that I have talked to people and they have talked about how great the hockey was. I don’t necessarily think that was the case. As a coach I don’t think it’s a great team game. There are great players out on the ice, but not very many teams have played great team games. You’ve seen better team games from the Swiss and the Germans who play together more regularly. I don’t think the U.S., Canada or Russia, from the games I saw, played great team games. Some of the breakdowns you’ve seen in the games are from a lack of (preparation). When we play our playoff games or big games we have played 100 games before that. You know how to play and what the team expects. That is a tough thing to develop in a few preliminary round games and then play a really big game. I think that was a part of last night’s game.
On if Finland has that:
Finland still has a group of guys who don’t play together as much. I think Team Canada struggled at times finding their role players and what their role was on the team. That is a tough thing to develop when you have that many great players. Finland is a team that probably has a better idea when the guys come in, fitting them into different roles and establishing how the team is going to play. I think it is an easier solution because they have played together more often than Team Canada has. You see that even more from the Finns than you do from the United States.
On Maxime Talbot’s time frame to get back playing:
I have not talked with our trainers today. You should see Max progress rapidly if he continues to do well when he is on the ice. With as few a number of guys on the ice as there is, there are times at practice where it is difficult. To put him into that situation before he progresses is not the right thing to do given the amount of time we have. Hopefully we will see more from him tomorrow.
On if he was surprised at the Canada-Russia game:
I was surprised about the score. I was obviously rooting for Canada but I would have thought it would have been a tight game where both teams scored a lot of goals.
On if Canada has the makeup to win the Gold:
(Wednesday) was one game. In a tournament like this there is no tomorrow. You have to give your all every night. They have to erase it and make sure they start a new page against Slovakia.
On what he did over the break:
I went back home to see my family. I haven’t had a chance to see them that often this year. It was good to do that.
On being happy to be back:
I went on the ice at the end of the break at home because I want to get back in and play some games.
On this being a second training camp:
When you stop for three days you feel like you stopped for three weeks. Stopping for eight days was huge so we have to make sure we get back on track with practices. The pace has been pretty good.
On how long it takes for chemistry to come back:
Your hands are not quite synchronized with your legs right now. It is going to take a few practices and then I will be alright.
On watching Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar play in last night’s Olympic game:
I don’t really criticize them. They played well. I’m excited for them to come back, so we can start playing.
On if he thinks that the North American teams have an advantage in the Olympics with the smaller ice surface:
I think so. They get used to it. They’re playing every other day on that surface. I think it’s a little bit easier to adjust if you come from a smaller one to a big one. You have more time. On the other hand, when you switch, you’ve been in the big one, and now everybody’s crushing you. You might be at a little bit of a disadvantage. But, looking through the roster, it seems like 90 percent of all the players are from the NHL, so I don’t think it was a big deal there.
On the Olympic game between Canada and Russia:
Just watching it, you’re proud of your country. You’re proud of the guys who are out there. Even though one of our teammates is not playing, he’s still part of the team, and we’re rooting for him.
On if he believes that Team Canada will continue to be successful in the Olympics:
I think they are ready to go. They showed it the last couple of games. Maybe the Germans were not in as tough of a position as the Russians, but they did show that they are playing a team game.
On the Olympic game between Canada and Russia:
It was an awesome game obviously. I think even coming into the building with the momentum – you get that when you’re playing on the road. Obviously, the fans were into it. The players were up for that game and ready to play. It probably helped that they played the night before, too.
On his brother, Eric, playing for Team Canada:
I didn’t really talk to him. I texted him last night just to say good job, but I assume he played a couple of shifts after, so he should be fine.
On Sidney Crosby not getting any points in the game:
It’s unusual – especially if it was our team, then it would be really unusual. But, what you see in the Canadian teams are a lot of fire power and a lot of people who can score goals. You don’t need just Sid to play an unbelievable game.
On if Canada is back to being the favorite team again:
According to Canada, it seems like it. But, obviously, there are a lot of great teams, and it should be an interesting final couple of games.
On if it is possible for people who do not live in Canada to understand how big of a deal it would be for the country to win the gold medal:
That’s tough to say. Even I don’t think I realize how big it is. When you’re in the mix and when you’re in Canada, it seems like the whole country is literally watching probably. It’s obviously a big deal, but I guess life will go on if they don’t win. But, it would be pretty neat if they won.
On how he thinks his brother looks on the ice:
He looks pretty good. I told him that I knew Sid would like to play with a Staal, but I didn’t think it was going to be Eric. Obviously, those two click pretty well with the first game that they started. There’s just so much talent. You’re bound to score goals, and you’re bound to make great plays, and Eric played well.
On how the reunion between Crosby and Hossa tomorrow:
It’s not just those two players, but it’s going to be another big test for Canada. It should be a good time.
On the lack of embrace after the game between Crosby, Malkin and Gonchar:
I’m sure they weren’t too happy with each other. I’m sure Russia wasn’t too happy with Canada, so it’s obviously not fun to lose. Those guys are going to see each other in a week anyway, and I’m sure nothing will really come of it. It’s part of the game. It’s tough to lose that one.
On how long it will take before he starts giving Malkin a hard time about losing:
I wouldn’t do it, because I wasn’t part of it. He’d probably say, “Why weren’t you there?” Sid’s got some ammunition, though. It’s probably a little touchy feely. Obviously, it’s a big deal. If he starts chirping, then who knows.
Quote of the the day comes from Bill Guerin after he was asked if Team USA's success surprised him:
"I’m not surprised at all. There’s a reason we’re the greatest country in the world. We’ve got the best of everything and that includes athletes and hockey players."
The Penguins are on the ice for their Thursday afternoon practice session. Only Eric Godard is not accounted for.
Tyler Kennedy (left); Ruslan Fedotenko (right)
The team huddles to go over the next drill
A young fan shows his support
Penguins forward Maxime Talbot worked with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar for about a half hour prior to the Penguins' team practice at Southpointe on Thursday morning. Talbot is listed as day to day with a groin injury, but said that he feels close to returning to the lineup.
Max Talbot and strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar worked prior to the team's practice