Penguins Report: 2/18/11
Friday, 02.18.2011 / 10:45 AM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
- Injury updates on Kunitz, Letestu, Jeffrey, Asham, Nick Johnson and Malkin – whew look at that list (1:05 PM).
- Kunitz and Letestu skate after practice (12:14 PM).
- Coach Bylsma on Kunitz, Staal and Sterling (3:23 PM).
- Cooke, Staal and Kennedy spit knowledge (3:27 PM).
- Fleury visited the Boys and Girls Club Thursday night (12:13 PM).
- Pens pics (11:45 AM).
- The Pens take part in a youth hockey clinic (4:19 PM).
- “Sometimes I wish I was brave, I wish I was stronger, I wish I could feel no pain…” (10:45 AM).
Following practice, goalie Brent Johnson and a few other Pens skated with some kids for a youth hockey clinic.
Sounds heard around the locker room…
On being sidelined during the injury crisis:
It was tough. It’s one thing to be frustrated after being hurt or injured and not being able to play and watching on TV, but physically being able to be out there, but you just can’t (is also frustrating). The things that this group has had to overcome over the last week is pretty amazing.
On if missing four games has affected his fitness:
It matters. I have been able to practice with the team when they have practiced, and skated with the guys during the morning skates and just pushed myself.
On the team’s good form despite absences:
I think we are doing better than OK. It is a credit to the organization, the management and coaching staff – not only here but also in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, to stay on the same page and to develop guys to be ready to come in and play. Kudos to the young guys coming in, stepping up and playing in big minutes in big roles.
On learning from watching the games while he was out:
The game’s easy from up above. I wish that I had that vision when I was playing when it’s going so fast in your head out on the ice. I think that the biggest thing up there is that our coaching staff does a great job providing us with video and ways and facts to get better. Sometimes you overlook the importance of it until you watch the game from up above.
On his confidence back to its normal level after the injuries:
My body is still working, but my mind is feeling pretty solid in my game. I’m just trying to keep improving every game. That’s what I’m focusing on.
On his extra minutes played per game:
I’ve been playing a lot lately. If you ask any player, the more ice the better. The body has been taking a toll, but I’m getting through it and I feel fine.
On Cooke’s return:
It’s good to have another guy back. It’s been a very tough time for our team. It’s nice to have him back and ready for action.
On getting Cooke back in the lineup:
Whenever we get another healthy guy back it always helps out. Cooke’s a great player and we are excited to have him back.
On if he’s ever seen the unusual number of absences the Penguins have:
Not this many players (injured or missing), but I think we are doing well. The guys that are in the lineup, we have faith in each other and we are playing well together.
On facing Chicago on Sunday:
They are obviously a good team. We have to respect them, play our game and be successful. We are just excited to go there and play our game.
Brill: Joe Prince-Wright
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…
On the head injuries to the team:
I don’t like talking about injuries to begin with because I’m a layperson, and especially so with concussions. It’s different with every person, different symptoms, different types of progression for the player. That is totally up to the doctor. If someone tells me there is a broken bone, I know that’s 4-to-6 weeks time period for healing. Concussions, the progress, the player, the symptoms, every individual is different.
On Kunitz and Letestu skating:
It’s good to see progression and the reaction from the guys getting on the ice. There was a little cheer and roar even though they were in track pants. It’s good to see them out there. It means they’re progressing towards being healthy and getting back with the group.
On Staal’s added ice time and looking like a man among boys:
He looks like a man among boys because I’m playing him with Sterling and Chris Conner (laughs). On a more serious note, he does. It is that way because he has a huge body, he’s a big man, he can skate, he can protect the puck, his hair makes him look even bigger. He can do a lot of things out there. On the power play with the net-front, you see that on the game-winning goal. You see his skating ability up the ice on the two-on-one goal, and the scoring touch. We had a five-on-three against and you see him out there as the main guy on the five-on-three against. Twenty-four minutes is a lot to log in Colorado in the thin air for the first time we played there this year. It’s not just on the ice, but in our room with guys, even in practice today. He’s a leader because he has those abilities, but because of his presence as well.
On all the injuries:
It has a little cause for a scratch to the head. In the American Hockey League we curse NHL coaches quite a bit when they steal our players and deplete your roster and you have to call up players from the ECHL, and players you don’t really know that well. It’s not the first time that I’ve felt this way about the roster. The fact of the matter is that we have expectations on how we’re going to play, and the people that come up here know it and know it well. Nick Johnson and Joe Vitale step in. Joe gets that goal in Colorado, you see his speed, see his shot, see his ability, but you also see that he knew exactly what to do in our system to be in that position. It’s a credit to Joe; it’s a credit to the coaching staff in Wilkes/Barre. It’s also the expectation of coming in and stepping in with how we’re going to play. That’s what it is regardless of who we have or what my (injury) list in my hand right now.
The thing not to be overlooked about the way he’s played is not just the fact that he’s got a point a game, but how he’s got it. The battle level and tenacity with which he’s played, the work ethic in the corners and on pucks, that’s really been the big part of how’s he played. It’s allowed him to get more opportunities, more ice time, an opportunity on the power play for him to cash in on. He’s made good on with some goals and some plays. He made the great play to Joe Vitale for the first goal. He’s made those plays, but a lot of it has been the work ethic and battle level despite his diminutive size.
On Goligoski avoiding the lull he hit last season:
That has been something as coaches and with Alex that we’ve been aware of during parts of this season as well, knowing last year that was the case, talking about why that was, what the reasons were. He’s been able to continue to stay focused on adding to his game, getting better. On the power play staying with it. He hasn’t always been on the top unit, but he hasn’t lost focus or the type of execution we’re looking for. He’s a big factor for our power play right now. A lot of that is staying at consistency level, and at that high level of play that he’s capable of.
On recalling someone from WBS:
Potentially we’ll probably need someone considering the number of games in the short amount of time.
Secondary assist: Michelle Crechiolo
Lots of injury updates from head coach Dan Bylsma:
- Kunitz, Letestu and Jeffrey are progressing, but won't play this weekend.
- Arron Asham has a concussion.
- Nick Johnson left the ice with an upper-body injury. Not available this weekend at the moment.
- Malkin is one week into his six-month rehab.
- No new updates on Crosby.
- Team is considering a callup from WBS.
"Arron Asham, we listed him as upper-body, he has been experiencing concussion-like symptoms. Day-to-day is not accurate at this point in time. He has been progressing. He hasn't gone to exercise. That's where Arron's at.
"Nick Johnson left the ice today with an upper-body injury. He is under evaluation. He will not be available this weekend at this point in time.
"Geno, you saw him walking around here today. He's one week into his six-month rehab.
"There is no new update on Sidney."
The Pens are finishing up practice. As the session is ending, injured players Chris Kunitz and Mark Letestu are jumping on the ice with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar. Both players have been out of the lineup with lower-body injuries.
Kunitz (left); Letestu (right)
Marc-Andre Fleury tried out a little floor hockey in a visit with the Boys and Girls Club Thursday night. More details here.
Pens practice pics.
Michalek, Talbot and Orpik (right)
Letang (left) glows in the dark
The Pens are on the ice for practice. All the usual suspects are here. No Jeffrey or Tangradi on the ice.
After the Pens' thrilling OT victory in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche, the team boarded a flight back to Pittsburgh. With the two-plus hour flight and time zone change, the team didn't arrive back in Pittsburgh until the early morning hours of Thursday, landing a little after 4 a.m.
The Pens were given Thursday off, but are back on the ice today with an 11 a.m. practice at Southpointe. Next up for Pittsburgh is a showdown in Chicago against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks Sunday afternoon at 3:30 on NBC.
Let's start the day with a song I heard on my iPod yesterday, and still can't get out of my head - Box Car Racer "I Feel So."
Box Car Racer was a side project of Blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge and drummer Travis Barker. DeLonge began writing songs that were a little darker and more mature than the sound of Blink-182, and decided to create a new band to express this variant style. He pulled Barker, and a couple of other guys, and Box Car Racer was born. The band only recorded one album, but planted the seeds for what would later become Angels and Airwaves.
"I Feel So" was Box Car Racer's first single. The video has all the elements that you'd expect from a band that screams "take me seriously as an artist even though I was in a poppy, teenage-driven TRL band." The video features: a piano intro; the band playing in a darkly light room; two confused children that cry single streaming tears; bloody fingers; random moshing; DeLonge sitting on the floor with his "serious" face; and ending with a random shot of a rose in a window for some symbolism.