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Penguins Report: 12/15/11

Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 10:28 AM / Penguins Report
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins Report: 12\/15\/11


  • Staal and Vitale updates (12:59 PM).
  • Those participating at Pens practice (11:14 AM).
  • Pens' lines (11:24 AM).
  • Malkin feature from pittsburghpenguins.com (4:32 PM).
  • Johnny's thoughts on '24/7' (1:39 PM).
  • Bylsma discusses physicality, concussions and '24/7' (1:54 PM).
  • Coach loses shootout; will wear Christmas sweater (12:37 PM).
  • Pens pics (11:57 AM).
  • HBO 24/7 nod: "Well I'm so above you, and it's plain to see…" (10:30 AM).



4:32 PM:
After undergoing a brutal knee surgery in February (that Brooks Orpik told us it usually takes athletes about a year before they even feel back to normal, let alone an elite level), Evgeni Malkin talked to pittsburghpenguins.com about how he feels like he's getting back to the way he knows he can play. Check out the full story here if you'd like!





1:54 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On his team playing physical:
There is a certain aspect of the game where physicality is important. In the course of 60 minutes you’re looking to have an effect on the other team with the speed of the game, where you play the game and how you play the game. The physicality of the game is a part of what we’re trying to establish with our team. That’s led by forecheck, playing in the offensive zone, hunting pucks down, hunting people down, engaging physically. We have that element to the way we play and as part of our team. We have that defensively. We want to be an aggressive team defensively, have a good gap, sometimes that a physical gap. There are times on the ice where we ask our players not to hit. It’s not just a matter of where we can be physical, running around in different areas. It’s using your speed, execution and physicality to affect the other team. We have leaders in that regard.

On when the team shouldn’t hit:
Position-wise and numbers-wise and playing defense, you sometimes don’t want to be taken out of the play. There are times where you don’t want to run around and see how many times you can get a hit. You can see that in Brooks Orpik’s game. He was a guy that got a lot more hits before and he plays with a better position and more awareness defensively now than just trying to get a big hit.

On dealing with concussions as a coach:
You just don’t know if a guy is going to be one week, two weeks, or out longer. That uncertainty makes it tough to plan in terms of down the road. You get an injury that typically takes 2-3 weeks and a timeframe that you know, you could  can plan for the month of December without a guy with a broken foot. You know that. The uncertainty of it is difficult. You don’t know when they’ll come back. You don’t focus on this week or next few games when you have the uncertainty of an injury that Kris Letang has.

On Ottawa:
We have four games before the break. Some consistency in our game and getting back to winning is important in the next four games. With Ottawa, going in there on the road, we do take certain things from the game that we need to get into our game. A lot of it is the way we want to play and the execution. I think you saw last game with speed through the neutral zone and Evgeni Malkin getting a couple scoring chances, that turned into a goal and a post. We’re looking to get there tomorrow with speed. What allowed us to have success is puck management. Against Ottawa last time allowed us to get behind their defense and play in the offensive zone. That’s a big part of our game and we’re going to have to establish that again.

On '24/7' and his cameo appearance:
I didn’t watch it. I heard I was and anticipated it when I met Max in the hallway. I was pretty certain that would show up on the first episode. I did not see it though.

On when he’ll have to wear the Xmas sweater:
Monday, I’ll wear it to the rink (but not to a game).



Lonely boy: Sam Kasan



1:39 PM:
It's no secret that hockey goalies can be a little...well...different. I mean, you have to be a little crazy to actually want to stop hard rubber discs flying at a hundred miles per hour with your body on a daily basis, right? 

With that being said, in last night's episode of "24/7," we were treated to a wonderfully interesting side of Flyers netminder Ilya Bryzgalov (click here if you want to know what I mean). So we asked Brent Johnson about his goalie brethren and what he thought of the premiere in general. He obliged...

On '24/7':
It was fantastic. They should do 24/7 for every sport because it’s just phenomenal. My wife and I watched last night, we both looked at each other after because it was just so well done. Sometimes it doesn’t seem dramatic in the dressing room or when the coach is talking. But when you watch it they put their spin on it and it’s just fantastic. I think it’s great for fans and people who don’t watch the sport a lot. The ins and outs of the dressing room and on the ice, the tough physical play that these guys have to deal with, a lot of people don’t see that. They put a spotlight on that and show how these guys are sometimes more than just hockey players. They’re warriors and go into battle every night whether or not they get a puck in the face, stick in the face, hurt a knee or whatever. They do it every night.

On Ilya Bryzgalov:
I haven’t heard too much about him as far as in the dressing room. He made me chuckle. His attitude right now is tomorrow is another day, be happy. I think for a goaltender that’s an excellent attitude to have.



12:59 PM:
Pens coach Bylsma just said he expects Jordan Staal and Joe Vitale, who weren't at practice, to be on the ice for Friday's morning skate. They'll both be game time decisions for Friday's game vs. Ottawa.

He also said Michalek will be going with them on the trip.



12:37 PM:
The Pens practice shootout came down to Bylsma and Orpik. Orpik pulled out a nifty move at the end to tuck the puck around Fleury, meaning coach is today's shootout loser!

ROOT SPORTS' Dan Potash confirmed that coach will have to wear a Christmas sweater sometime next week as a result (and not on a game day).



11:57 AM:
Time for the best part of the day...Pens pics!


Lining up for a drill (left); Asham and MacIntyre totally emulating the Bash Brothers from the Mighty Ducks here with TK (right)


Two of the best asst coaches the biz: Todd Reirden with Orpik (left); Tony Granato with Brent Johnson (right)


Bylsma is a very hands-on coach as you can see with 'Geno' (left); now Tony G. lines up for a faceoff with Malkin (right)


Doing drills


Pens switch jerseys for a drill -- 'Duper' got stuck (right)



11:24 AM:
Pens got in line combos at practice. Here they are...

Kunitz-Malkin-Neal
Cooke-Dupuis-Sullivan/Kennedy
Asham-Adams-MacIntyre



11:14 AM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma has gathered the troops to go over the drills. On the ice are forwards Malkin, Neal, Kennedy, Adams, Kunitz, Dupuis, MacIntyre, Sullivan, Asham, Cooke and defensemen Martin, Michalek, Orpik, Niskanen, Engelland, Despres and Strait. Both Fleury and Johnson are participating as well.



11:04 AM:
The players are slowly starting to filter onto the ice for practice. We'll keep you posted on who's here and who's not.



10:30 AM:
Hello everyone! Welcome to another off-day edition of the Penguins Report. The guys are scheduled for an 11 a.m. practice here at CONSOL Energy Center. Afterward, they'll jet off to Ottawa to prepare for their Friday night showdown with the Senators at Scotiabank Place.

--

The first episode of HBO Sports' 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic aired Wednesday night, and I must say it was interesting just being able to watch it as a fan. Last year our whole communications staff got together for the premiere to see how HBO would craft an episode based on all of the footage they had gathered during their time with us, and it turned out to be nothing short of spectacular. That is absolutely the case this year. If you haven't watched it yet, you really should...it's a job very well done.

I wanted to start the blog with Mac Miller's 'Knock Knock,' which is apparently the Flyers' victory song this year -- even though the 19-year-old rapper grew up in the Pittsburgh area and is a Taylor Allderdice High School graduate. Unfortunately, I can't play it because of the lyrics so you'll have to find it yourself if you'd like to listen. And instead, I'll play the first song featured in the show. Fantastic song by a fantastic band. Enjoy!

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