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Penguins Report: Malkin Practices; Gonchar Absent

Friday, 03.26.2010 / 11:16 AM / Features
By Sam Kasan
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Penguins Report: Malkin Practices; Gonchar Absent
 
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Update: 2:42 PM:
Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin was back on the ice for practice for Pittsburgh on Friday at Southpointe, but head coach Dan Bylsma said that he will not be in the lineup for the Penguins when they host the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday afternoon. Malkin has missed four of the team's last five games, and hasn't skated since the Penguins' contest against Carolina March 20. 

Malkin, who could still play Sunday against Toronto, did work with Eric Godard and Ruslan Fedotenko, but left the ice after only 15 minutes of work. 

"Geno went on the ice (Friday) and will not be ready for (Saturday)," Bylsma said. "He may play obviously the next day, but we’re going to have to see Sunday morning."

Pittsburgh defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who missed the team's game in Washington with an illness, was not on the ice for Pittsburgh.

Goaltender Brent Johnson was also absent with an illness. Video coordinator Jim Britt filled in at goal for Pittsburgh. 

"They are ill," Bylsma said of Johnson and Gonchar. "We’ll see how they are going forward, but expect Brent to be in as the backup (Saturday). Sergei is dealing with a sickness, so we’ll see where he’s at."


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2:38 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room:

Dan Bylsma
On how the power play is affected by the absence of Gonchar and Malkin:
We use the players who are on there now at different times, so it’s not a totally new look or a new power play where we have to re-work things. But you do have to adjust a little bit. It’s different coming up the ice. A lot of times, Geno is the focus. We use him sometimes in the drop-pass. It is different now without him, so we may have to change some things a little bit with different focuses. But these guys have been on the ice together. There is a little more traffic in front of the net with Billy Guerin and Ponikarovsky being out there and Chris Kunitz and Ruslan Fedotenko getting out there. We need to get more pucks there and try to win battles in that type of a situation if we get out there on the power play.
On how the Flyers are a different team:
We’ve seen quite a bit of Boucher. He’s a guy who we have also played against in the minors. We’ve seen a bunch of him. He’s a big goaltender. As far as without Carter, he’s a dangerous weapon. He’s dangerous on their power play. They have two power play units that they use. He’s a dangerous right-hand shot on that one. He’s also a guy who scores on the rush and is a dangerous guy in the offensive zone. But I don’t think that how the game is played out or the demeanor of their team is going to change very much without him in the lineup. It’s going to be enhanced in terms of how they’re going to play the game against us.
On the National Hockey League taking action against head shots:
We were made aware earlier in the week of some of the situations that they’re looking at and trying to define that. I think that everybody feels like clarification is a good thing. I think that they took steps to do that, and players are a little bit more aware of what those situations are. That’s a good thing.

Sidney Crosby

On the chance to win both home games this weekend:

We’ve been on the road for a while, so these are important games for us. We want to make the most of it.
On how the power play is affected by the absence of Gonchar and Malkin:

It’s obviously not going to make things any easier. If anything, I think it forces us to simplify things. When we do that, you never know. Sometimes good things happen, and you get good bounces. If anything, I think that forces us to do that even more so.
On practicing the power play:

At this point, I don’t think that there is a lot that is going to be undiscovered. I think you constantly work on those things at this point to make a power play successful. Those things don’t change based on the personnel that is out there. For us, it’s making sure that we get into those good habits.

Alexei Ponikarovsky

 
On playing with Crosby:

He is a great player so you just try to do your best to fit in on the line and do what you have to do. I like to grind guys down low and stuff like that. I want to get some shots off so we can get to the rebounds. We are playing without Geno right now but hopefully he is going to get back soon. We are mixing the lines around and trying to make the best out of it.
On how playing with guys for a while helps to make you feel more comfortable:

I don’t think so. I think everybody here is professional. You have to be ready for anything. That is just the way it is. Sometimes you play with one guy and then on another shift you are playing with somebody else because of a power play or penalty kill. It all depends what is happening on the ice.
 
Marc-Andre Fleury
On the shootout against Washington:

It’s never good when you lose. I was mad because we had the 2-0 lead in the shootout. I thought I could have ended it there but (Alex) Ovechkin and (Alexander) Semin scored there. I was mad at that.
On the Penguins penalty kill:

It has been going well. They guys work so hard at it. They are very courageous. They dive in front of pucks and help me out a lot. A lot of the shots I have been getting are from the outside so they have been great.
On if it will be different playing Washington and New Jersey in the playoffs:

Once we get there it is always different. You don’t really think about those regular-season games. You just want to win that game. We would have liked to win that last one in Washington but I think we put up a good battle.
On coming back from the Olympics rusty:

I think so. The first game against the Rangers wasn’t very great. I think even in the next one I was a little out of position at times.

Assists Caitlin Kasunich, Jason Seidling
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11:47 AM:









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