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Penguins Report: 1/21/11

Friday, 01.21.2011 / 11:07 AM / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan

  • Coach Bylsma updates on Malkin, Crosby and Godard (1:45 PM).
  • Staal becoming leader for Pens. My observation at (12:40 PM).
  • Pens’ lines (12:10 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Talbot and Carolina (2:22 PM).
  • Adams, Letestu and Martin spit knowledge (2:10 PM).
  • PensTV talks to Jeffrey and Staal (4:10 PM).
  • Pens pics (12:44 PM).
  • It’s a snowy night in Pittsburgh (11:35 AM).
  • “We fell through the ice when we tried not to slip. We’d say…” (11:14 AM).



4:10 PM:
PensTV talks ice hockey with Staal and Jeffrey...

DUSTIN JEFFREY



JORDAN STAAL





2:22 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On Maxime Talbot:
I think Max’s work ethic, determination and spark that he adds is certainly an area we’ve talked about. As for some of the highlights of what he’s done, he’s been one of our better penalty killers. Statistically, last night he was good on the draws. He’s a guy that can be used in different spots and has been used in different spots. He hasn’t been adding on the scoresheet and offensively like I think he’d like to be. And in a time like this, we’d like to see him be in those situations and convert in the offensive situations. He’s been a spark for our team in different ways, but last night, when we needed the draw late in the game, he was a guy we put on the ice to win that draw because last night he was outstanding in that way. He’s a guy who adds a lot to our team energy-wise and spark-wise. He needs to continue to be that, and add that as a focus for his game and the foundation of what he brings. He led our team in hits last night as well, and he’s right up there in those categories. So he’s been doing a lot of things. But I think frustration does start to build when you don’t get the result on the scoresheet. But Max has always been more of a timely guy than a consistent guy there. So if he keeps playing like that he’ll find a way to assist for us when we need it.

On how the team can get back to its game against Carolina:
I thought the second and third periods in New Jersey, they played really well. What happened in the first period was not so much New Jersey being restrictive or clogging up the middle, we didn’t play very well. But Carolina plays a very fast game. They have a group of forwards that can get on you with their speed and pound you with the puck and be dangerous in the offensive zone. We’re going to have to be good at not turning over the puck and managing the puck and preventing them from doing that, because they can be very good at that and then dangerous when they get in that offensive zone with that forward group. Again, it’s not much different for us in our execution in the neutral zone against the way they are in the neutral zone. It means we have to get pucks behind their D with speed and possession to set up our forecheck. That’s something we weren’t very good at (Thurdsay) night. With two games left (before All-Star break) and the Hurricanes coming in on Saturday, that’s going to be important for us to be able to get it in the offensive zone and affect their D and play an extended period of time.

On the Cooke-Staal-Kennedy line:
The last three games has shown that they’ve been a pretty good second line, let alone the third line we’ve talk about them being in the past. They have speed, they have tenacity with Jordan. And they have a little more presence in the offensive zone, holding on to the puck more and creating there which they have done. And I do think that in the future, there will be times playing certain teams, playing certain matchups where that may be an option we may go to in certain circumstances. And seeing them together maybe underlines just how good of a unit they can be.



Penalty shot goal: Tony Jovenitti



2:10 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...


Craig Adams

On why games against Carolina are always close
:

We always see their best game. They play really well against us and they have a fast, hard-working team. They’re good on the forecheck and they’ve got a lot of forwards that are quick and can hold on to the puck down there. So it’s always a challenge for us. Ever since I’ve been here, they’ve played us really well. They play confident against us. And it makes for exciting games.

On having played in Carolina:
It’s always a special game for me. I always want to win that one. Not that I don’t want to win every game, but I definitely know when we’re going to play them for sure.


Mark Letestu

On finding offense without Crosby and Malkin:
Obviously they’re big keys to our offense and the way we play, but everybody here knows the system and knows the way we play. So you should be able to fill in seamlessly. The goals may not come as easily but there are things that we have to do to get different kinds of goals – whether it be net-front play or traffic. I think the little things we have to kind of concentrate more on when those guys are out.

On the power play:
We need to do some more things to draw more power plays. It would obviously get us more into the game there. For the one power-play opportunity (Thursday night), we got some decent chances. Obviously, we would have liked to score and turn the game around, but it didn’t happen that time.




Paul Martin

On Eric Staal:
He’s similar to (Jordan). He skates really well and it’s tough to get the puck off of him. So we need everyone to help out and take away his time and space.

On Jeff Skinner:
He’s obviously a good player. He’s crafty, skilled and fast. He fits in well with that lineup. We have a player similar to him in Chris Conner. They’re good skaters and they move the puck well and have good hands. They’re able to create opportunities.

On how the team adjusts to injuries:
I think it’s all relative to who’s out and what position they play and who they’re playing with. Over certain periods of time, people develop chemistry with the guys they’re playing with. (Injuries) get people into roles that they’re not used to, but it also gives them the chance to get that experience and step up and show that they deserve those minutes. So it works both ways. We don’t like seeing guys out, especially our top guys, but if we do play our system right, we can make sure that no matter who’s in the lineup, we’re winning.



Power-play goal: Tony Jovenitti



1:45 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma gave an update on the status of Godard, Crosby and Malkin.

Godard will return to full contact practice Monday with a full shielf. Crosby is "progressing, but not symptom free yet."

And Malkin is dealing with a few issues.

"(Malkin) has a situation with his knee, a banged up knee," Bylsma said. "He also isn't feeling well. He has a sinus infection and pressure in the head. That's where he's at.

"He's not feeling well with the sinus infection. He's going to have to feel better before he can return to the ice."



12:44 PM:
Pics that hate the snow...




Michalek (right)


Bylsma (left); Lovejoy and Goligoski (right)


Asham (left); Johnson (right)


Letestu (left); Bylsma addresses team (right)


Bylsma (left); Johnson and Talbot (right)



12:40 PM:
Here's an observation of mine regarding the tough 2-0 loss the Pens suffered in New Jersey Thursday night. What I saw last night after the game, and hope to see more of while Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are sidelined, is the emerging leadership of center Jordan Staal.

The worst part of losing in the NHL, is having to talk about losing with the media after a tough and emotional game. It's like pouring salt on an open wound, not a fun part of the job. Nonetheless, it has to be done.

Crosby, as the team's captain, is available to the media after every single game, win or lose. He shoulders the burden for his teammates and answers the tough questions. Crosby knows that is part of the duties and responsibilities of the captain.

Now that Crosby and Malkin are both out with injuries, the Pens are looking to Staal to provide leadership, and the 22-year-old appears ready to step up.

Following the difficult loss to the Devils, Staal waited in his locker stall as the media gathered. He answered their questions with poise and confidence. He didn't make excuses and took blame for the loss. After the scrum of media left, Staal remained in his stall for the lingering reporters that came late.

Staal's patience and willingness to accomodate the media is a great sign of his maturation. With Crosby and Malkin out indefinitely, the Pens will look to Staal to provide more leadership. Staal will have an opportunity to grow as a leader. So far, so good.




12:10 PM:
Practice is underway for Pittsburgh. Still no Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin on the ice. The lines were the same as yesterday's game at New Jersey.

Kunitz-Letestu-Dupuis
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Rupp-Talbot-Conner
Adams-Jeffrey-Asham

Orpik-Letang
Martin-Michalek
Goligoski-Lovejoy
(Engelland)



11:35 AM:
It's great to be back in Pittsburgh after a short trip to New Jersey. I wouldn't mind a little less snow though, just a small request.







11:14 AM:
Before we start the day with a song and ice hockey updates, I want to wish a happy birthday to my little cousin Kaila. I remember when she was baby and used to call me "Ammy" because she couldn't pronounce the "S" in my name. Now she's 22 years old - and still doesn't use the S in my name.

Speaking of reflecting (nice segway), another song that always takes me back to high school is "The Freshmen" by Verve Pipe (ironically I was a freshman when the song came out, how appropriate).

Verve Pipe is among the second generation of the '90s alternative movement. Influenced heavily by the new wave of Seattle rock sweeping the nation, Verve Pipe formed in 1992, but didn't break through until 1996. And like every other band from the 90s, after splitting up for many years, the group is back together and recording.

The power of The Freshmen is that it has a different meaning to different people. Every time I hear this song it takes me back to a certain period in my life, and specific memories and emotions rush quickly in my mind. And that's the beauty of music. Nothing captures a life experience quite like a song.




BONUS! Verve Pipe singer Brian Vander Ark performed an acoustic version for a private audience. I'm always a sucker for acoustic songs. Enjoy.

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