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Penguins Report: Game Day at Florida

Friday, 01.13.2012 / 10:00 AM / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan

  • Full transcript of Crosby's comments (1:20 PM).
  • Video of the "Sea of Cs" (1:12 PM).
  • Pens show solidarity for their captain (12:18 PM).
  • Your Verizon Game Day Report (2:42 PM).
  • Latest news on Crosby (10:00 AM).
  • GM Shero's take on the 6-game losing streak (9:50 AM).
  • Malkin named All-Star (9:40 AM).
  • Pens morning skate lines (3:01 PM).
  • Scouting the Panthers (9:10 AM).
  • Bylsma, Orpik, Neal & Michalek spit knowledge (2:37 PM).
  • Park & Kennedy drop in (9:30 AM).
  • Roberts released from the Vault (9:20 AM).
  • Pens pics (4:30 PM).
  • Panthers pics (10:53 AM).
  • “Straight game face, it’s game day…” (9:00 AM).



5:20 PM:
The Pens players aren't the only ones wearing a "C" to support their captain. The move has exploded on Twitter. A few devoted tweets have led to a #C Revolution (full details here).





4:30 PM:
Here some more pics from practice (full photo gallery here)...


Crosby skates after team's practice




Sullivan (left); Adams (right)


Park (left); Neal (right)

 
Kunitz & even Fleury with a #C (left); Orpik (right)


Martin (left); Malkin goes with the Russian version with a #K (right)




3:01 PM:
Despite everything that was going on, Sam somehow still managed to get the lines in addition to getting pics, practice footage and player interviews. There's a reason why he's the boss! -Meesh

Kunitz-Malkin-Neal
Cooke-Park-Sullivan
Dupuis-Jeffrey/Vitale-Kennedy
Tangradi-Adams-Asham

Martin-Michalek
Orpik-Engelland
Niskanen-Lovejoy



2:42 PM:
Yet another slow news day. I have no idea what Mearsy is going to talk about in his Game Day Report...





2:37 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room, in video form...

COACH DAN BYLSMA




BROOKS ORPIK




JAMES NEAL




ZBYNEK MICHALEK







1:20 PM:
Here is the full transcript of Crosby's comments to the media from this morning...

On how he felt on the ice:
I felt pretty good. It’s nice to get back out there. It’s the first time, so I'll take it in stride, but it’s nice to get back out there.

On where he’s at in his recovery:
Symptoms are getting a lot better, but I wouldn’t say I'm symptom-free. I’m allowed to lightly exert. That’s positive when you’re sitting around for a bit. It’s nice that the symptoms have been better and it’s nice to get that step out there on the ice. So we’ll see how it goes.

On if headaches and balance problems are the main symptoms:
A little bit less, but yeah. Those are kind of general things. That’ll be the real test. The motion stuff has kind of been the issue, both the time before and now going through it for a bit now. The good thing is that I have a pretty good handle on it and I’m always able to improve that. That was a big help in August when I went to Atlanta. So I know I can handle that if I need to and if it comes to that.

On getting those treatments again:
Yeah, if need be. I think, like I said, I have a handle on it. It’s not like I’m guessing as much at this point. I know that’s something that can be fixed. I’m more worried about getting rid of the symptoms.

On if he’s likely to go back to Georgia:
Hopefully not. The motion stuff is still a little bit iffy, so I want to make sure I give it a fair shot. But at the same time, it’s something I know I can improve.

On when it was first decided he could make this step:
A couple days ago. It’s nice to get out there. Obviously there’s some restraints, too. But with that being said, it’s better than being on a bike or sitting around. I’d much rather be on the ice.

On if it’s more frustrating this time around:
It’s different, but I wouldn’t say more, no. I mean, I think at different points when I was going through it, it was so new and there were so many questions and not a lot of answers, either. This is kind of a tough injury; it’s not clear-cut all the time. Now I think I know a lot more about what I’m feeling and how to improve it. So I think being a little more familiar actually probably helps a bit. At the same time though, it’s tough to come back and then be out. But I think I’ve got a bit of a better handle on it right now.

On the guys wearing homemade “C”s:
(Laughs) Yeah, that was a nice gesture, especially at a time like this when things are tough and there is adversity with the injuries and with a few losses. We need to stick together. That was a good sign right there of sticking together. Whenever you have adversity I think there’s always times when your team and character is in question. I don’t think there’s ever been a point (like that) with our group. So it’s good to see everyone sticking together. I think we’ll see the results on the ice.

On the importance of him coming on the road trip in support of his team:
The fact that I’m able to skate is good, but you always want to be around them. I think when you’re winning, obviously you want to be a part of that, but when you’re losing too, you want to be there and go through it. I think for me to be here is hopefully good for both. I think it’s good for me to be around the guys and hopefully support them. Hopefully they can see that I’m getting closer and closer, so that’s a good thing, too.

On if there’s more he’d like to see from the league in preventing head injuries:
I think they’re doing a pretty good job. They can only do so much. At the end of the day, it’s up to us as players. That being said, it’s a quick game. There are things that can happen. But at the same time, I think they’ve done a lot of good things to prevent it from happening. Obviously, there have been some instances but I think if that effort and that caution toward those things is there consistently, I think we’re going to see a change.

On his response to what the media has been writing:
It’s tough to even answer it because it’s so far-fetched. I would say that I’m not surprised that it’s when we’ve lost five or six in a row. If we would have won five in a row, I don’t think any of that stuff would have started. And let’s be honest, the Steelers are out and the Penguins are what there is to talk about. And anything that can be brought up or started, especially given the situation, is a pretty easy fit. I’ve been around hockey long enough to know that this stuff seems to come out when you’re losing. So as long as guys don’t get caught up in it, I think we’re much better off not even listening to it.

On if he has any indication that anyone in the organization is questioning his situation:
No. It’s too bad we even have to sit here and talk about it, to be honest with you. It’s not even really worth talking about.

On how much easier it is recognizing the symptoms through this time around:
It’s easier having gone through it. But I don’t think, as far as knowing what’s going on, it’s easier. I don’t think it’s ever easy watching or going through this. But it’s nice to have somewhat of an idea. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, that’s just the way it is. With these things, a lot of times there aren’t a lot of answers. So to have some idea is obviously a positive.

On if he’d had a concussion before last year:
I’m sure every kid has probably fallen and bumped their head at some point. Whether they got a concussion from that or not, there’s a lot of guys in the league who seem to survive through bumps to the head when they were little.

On if he's sensitive to the balance of keeping the media informed and not being a distraction:
Yeah, 100 percent. First and foremost that’s the most important thing, not being a distraction. That’s No. 1 on the list. I understand my responsibility. I think I’ve been doing this long enough to know that if there’s information to give, it’s part of my role and the responsibility that comes with what I do to provide that. And I’ve always been willing to do that. But I think if there’s no information to be given, I’m not going to give any. I’m not going to make something up. And on top of that, I’m not going to cause distractions or create distractions because of that. So that’s always my thought. That’s the most important thing. Whether it’s trying to come back to help the team or doing what I have to do handling that stuff, that’s the most important. So that’s something that I’m pretty conscious of.

Hat trick: Michelle Crechiolo





1:12 PM:
Here's video of the guys wearing the "C"s and of Crosby himself out on the ice...





12:18 PM:
An absolutely amazing scene unfolded at this morning's skate, as all of the Pens hit the ice wearing homemade "C"s on their chests in solidarity for their captain Crosby.

Well, except for Evgeni Malkin...he opted to go with the Russian version "K."

Anyone questioning the Pens locker room just got their answer. Goosebumps.









10:53 AM:
Panthers are on the ice for their morning skate...





10:00 AM:
As I first reported Wednesday, Pens captain Sidney Crosby joined the team for this 3-game road trip and will skate on his own later today for the first time since suffering concussion-like symptoms in early December.

The Pens will hold their morning skate at 11:30am at BankAtlantic Center. At the end of the morning skate Crosby will hit the ice. He will speak with the media following his on-ice session. Stay tuned to PittsburghPenguins.com for more on Crosby's skate.

In a related Crosby note, I spoke to GM Shero Thursday about Crosby. Shero said that Crosby has not been cleared to play and that it's good for everyone to have Sid on the trip.

"He wanted to join our team because we’re in a tough stretch," Shero said. "He badly wants to play and be out there. But he’s not cleared to play. We want to be very careful. Once he’s cleared to play, he’ll be the most excited guy on the ice.”

More of Shero's comments on Crosby here.


(Getty Images)



9:50 AM:
On Thursday I spoke with general manager Ray Shero about the state of the Pens, who are trying to snap a 6-game losing streak.

While Shero is happy with the way the team is competing and showing character, he also wants the players to have a sense of urgency. The team has slipped out of a playoff spot in the standings .

Shero praised the leadership being shown by several players in the locker room, especially Evgeni Malkin, whom Shero said is "the best story of the year so far."

Get all the details from Shero on the Pens here.





9:40 AM:
The NHL announced the lineups for the 2012 All-Star Game in Ottawa later this month. The Pens representative will be forward Evgeni Malkin, who is no stranger to All-Star contests.



(Getty Images)



9:30 AM:
On Monday, Pens forwards Richard Park & Tyler Kennedy "dropped in" on a local youth hockey practice at Castle Shannon. Check it out below...






9:20 AM:
It's Friday, so it's time to delve into the Pens Vault. Today we have a tribute video to the legendary Gary Roberts (by the way, Roberts was in Pittsburgh last week to take part in the Mario Lemieux Fantasy Camp, more on the camp here). Even Katie O asks, "WWGRD?"






9:10 AM:
The Panthers have been one of the NHL's big surprises this season. Meesh tells you what to look for in tonight's matchup. Below is her scouting report on the Panthers.






9:00 AM:
Good morning from Florida! Tonight the Pens hope to stop their six-game skid in a showdown with the Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers.

The Pens made a few roster moves Thursday. They re-assigned forward Colin McDonald to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Also, Steve MacIntyre cleared waivers and will report to WBS.

Stay here at the Pens Report for all the news to come out of today's morning skate (and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @pghpenguins and @PensInsideScoop for updates throughout the day).

---

Since we are in Florida, it's only fitting to open the day with some Flo Rida (not to be confused with the great rapper Ver Mont). We'll go with "Good Feeling" because it's an upbeat song to get you pumped up for the game, and one of the lyrics in the song are "Straight game face, it's game day." Perfect.

Enjoy.

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