Penguins Report: 1/4/11
Tuesday, 01.04.2011 / 10:46 AM / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
- Pens have four players voted to All-Star Game, out of six! (5:26 PM).
- Letang’s game goes to another level (5:31 PM).
- The fans not only vote Fleury an All-Star, but helped him turn his season around (6:49 PM).
- Crosby named NHL December player of the month (5:28 PM).
- Coach Bylsma talks Stamkos, second half and All-Stars (5:19 PM).
- World Junior/All-Star comments from Malkin, Crosby and Fleury (5:15 PM).
- Winter Classic memories (5:35 PM).
- WBS coach John Hynes will coach in AHL All-Star Game (5:33 PM).
- Pens pics (11:35 AM).
- “Paranoia! Paranoia! Everybody’s coming to get me…” (10:49 AM).
Marc-Andre Fleury's selection to the All-Star Game is a remarkable story of his overcoming early-season adversity. But the fans not only voted Fleury an All-Star, they also helped fuel his turnaround.
With the Winter Classic over and a few days past, I asked a few guys about their memories from the event. Here's what they had to say.
It was a disappointment with the outcome, but the experience and the way everything was put on was outstanding, and something that I’ll always remember in my career. It was something special to be a part of.
I remember walking out and how cool that was. It was a pretty intense feeling and the crowd was amazing.
It’s over and all the chaos and distractions are done. It was definitely a lot of fun and a great experience. It would have been better if we came away with a win, but when it comes down to it, it was just another game. We need to make sure we’re ready for the next one. There were a lot of positive things. The fans were great. The weather added something extra to the game, even if it made the ice surface not very playable. It was a lot of fun playing outdoors.
The HBO crew did a great job. That was a lot of fun. I’m excited to watch the show. Coming out to the ice at the beginning of the game for warmups, it was pretty cool with the fans going nuts. The first time walking out to the rink was a good time.
The rain. It was a cool experience to be outside and play in front of that many people was awesome. The conditions are what stuck out to me the most. It really wasn’t a hockey game by the end. It was just guys slapping the puck around and hoping for a bounce. It was fun to be a part of. Thank God we don’t have to play 80 of those.
It’s important to move on, whether we won or lost that game. Obviously December was a pretty busy month with the build-up to the Winter Classic and HBO. It just seemed like there was a lot going on. So it will be nice to get back to a bit more of a normal routine. Obviously, it’s a big second half for us.
WBS head coach John Hynes was named one of the two coaches of the AHL’s Western Conference All-Star Team in the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic in Hershey, Pa on January 31.
Kris Letang will play in his first NHL All-Star Game in January. Letang's nomination is much deserved. He's having a great season and was rewarded by Penguins fans.
Crosby was named Player of the Month for December. Yawn. No surprise that the best player in the world was the best player of the month. Crosby was also the player of the month in November. Nothing this kid does surprises me anymore.
A remarkable accomplishment by the Penguins and their fans. Four of the first six players named to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game were Pens. Crosby (who led all vote-getters), Letang (who led all D-men and write-in votes), Fleury (who led all goalies) and Malkin (finished 3rd among forwards) all will represent the Black and Gold in Raleigh.
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…
On having four players of the first six named to the All-Star Game:
It means we have some high-quality players, deserved players. It’s a congratulations to them and the work that they’ve done. They certainly deserve it. It also means we have a huge Penguin Nation that’s out there respecting our players for what they do on the ice. They are amazed by what they do, and they should be. It’s a sign of the organization, the fans and the quality of players on the ice.
On what he wants in the second half:
We’re going through that process right now. We’re at the halfway mark. We’re talking to our players about where we’re at, what we’re good at and what we need to improve on. I believe in making your strengths better. I also believe in recognizing what you need to improve on and getting better in those areas. It’s a process, one our team is always in. We still think we have a long way to go. We aren’t gong to stand pat. We aren’t going to maintain a level of consistency over the next 42 games. We’re working to get better in all areas of our game.
There is a quote that says, ‘You’re never quite as good as everyone says you are. And you’re never quite as bad as everyone say’s you are.’ (Stamkos) is an extremely hard worker, a diligent worker, a smart worker. He’s scoring from different areas on the nice, not just his one-time spot on the power play. He’s a guy who can play in every situation and does for his team. He’s on a team that plays well together. He’s a part of that. Not just a guy that gets X amount of goals and the other guys play. He’s hard working, part of a good team. He’s been good at working on different parts of his game: going to the net; down low; and finding ways to be affective in addition to the awesome shot that we know he has. He continues to be that dangerous threat, but there is certainly more to his game. If the media stops talking about him for a month, he didn’t go away. You should revisit the quality of player he is.
Many, many apologies to those following today's Penguins Report. We've had some technical difficulties and haven't been able to post until now. So without further ado,
Sounds heard around the locker room...
On being named to the All-Star team:
It’s good for me. Thank you to the fans to vote for me. It’s not only me, to have Sid, Fleury and Letang is great. It’s surprising to have four guys. It’s great for us.
On rigging the draft to get the four Pens on the same team:
I hope Sid is captain and pick all of us and we’ll play together on a line. That would be great.
On the WJC:
I watched two games last night. I watched Canada-USA. It’s surprising for Russia. It’s bittersweet. They played back-to-back and played hard. I hope they win tomorrow. It would be a great day for Russia.
On playing in the WJC:
I played twice in the final and lost twice. I played against Sid one time. I remember he played great. I think he scored one goal in the final. He’s an amazing player.
On if Russia will win:
I hope, I hope.
On the WJC:
I watched the game yesterday. They played awesome. It should be a great final.
On playing against Malkin:
We played in North Dakota, but it felt like we were at home. There were a ton of Canadian fans. We lost the year before so it was a big win. That’s something every Canadian kid dreams of winning.
On wagers with Malkin:
We haven’t discussed it yet, but I’m sure there will be.
On the All-Star selections:
It’s really nice. To have everyone share that is pretty special. You don’t see that happen very often. We’re all really excited. We appreciate all the support we get. That says a lot about our fans.
He’s gotten better each year. With the absence of Gonchar, he’s really stepped into that role and made the most of it. I think he’ll be the first one to tell you that he tried to learn as much as he can the past few years from Gonchar. You couldn’t have a better teacher when you look at offensive defensemen. He’s made the most of the opportunity and has played some great hockey for us.
On the USA-Canada game:
I didn’t watch it, but I saw the highlights.
On what it means to him as a former WJC player:
My first year, I played was against Russia in the finals, and we lost 3-2, so it was a tough loss. But everything from that tournament was good memories. I just wish the team the best. They beat a good team last night, and I’ll be watching.
On what it means as a Canadian:
It means a lot to people back home. All over Canada, we have huge support from the fans. I think every kid that plays there knows it and wants to do well for the country.
On if it gives NHL players bragging rights in the locker room:
Yeah, definitely. We do (make fun of each other). It’s always good when you can come in the room and make fun of these guys. Maybe I’ll get some side bets with Geno for tomorrow night.
Pens on the ice for a little ice hockey practice.
Happy Tuesday! The Pens, who practice this afternoon at 11 a.m., have had a couple days off following the Winter Classic. But that brief reprieve is about to end abruptly as the team will play five games in the next eight days, starting Wednesday night against Tampa Bay at CONSOL Energy Center.
We're going to start the day off with a requested video. This is for Red Lightning, Harvey Danger, "Flagpole Sitta."