CANONSBURG, Pa. -- The injury to Jordan Staal dominated Saturday’s conversation at Pittsburgh’s practice at the Southpointe Iceoplex. Not surprisingly, it also dominated the comments made by Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby at the conclusion of the 45-minute practice.
Crosby talked briefly about reaching out to Staal, who had a procedure performed to address a sliced tendon on the top of his right foot and is considered day-to-day. He also spoke about what the absence of Staal will mean to his team in Sunday’s Game 2, as well as what the Penguins have to do better, even though they looked pretty convincing in taking a 6-3 victory in Friday’s Game 1 at Mellon Arena.
Pittsburgh had four power-play goals and Crosby had assists on two of them. Crosby now has a playoff-leading 16 points, including a League-best 11 assists in just 7 games.
Q: You said you talked to Jordan. What kind of mood was he in?
Crosby: I just texted him, you can’t tell his mood from a text. I just said, “Hope you are feeling better and see you whenever.” I just wanted to say hi and see how he is doing.
Q: To what extent does your role change without him?
Crosby: I don’t think it changes a whole lot. We didn’t really play together. If anything, as a group, we want to make sure defensively that we are responsible. He’s a guy that we always look to as a real two-way guy and a guy that is tough to play against for other teams. I don’t think anybody’s role changes, but I think collectively, as a group, we want to make sure that doesn’t hurt us.
Q: How difficult do you think it is going to be for the Canadiens to replace Andrei Markov?
Crosby: It’s tough to replace any guy that plays those minutes. He’s a big part of their team. We’re dealing with the same thing. That’s the bottom line. That’s the way the playoffs work. I’m sure they don’t want people to feel sorry for them. We don’t want people to feel sorry for us. That’s what you deal with. Nobody likes seeing their teammates get hurt or missing guys, but you just have to move on.
Q: Is it something you can exploit with strategy, knowing they have lost their best defenseman?
Crosby: I mean they have some other guys. (PK) Subban played pretty well on the power play in his absence. (Jaroslav) Spacek isn’t an inexperienced guy, he’s played and he is a good defenseman. I’m sure he’ll be in there. They are filling voids with guys that aren’t experienced. They have good D-men that have some experience and that will help them.
Q: Do you expect to see a little more penalty-killing time?
Crosby: I have no idea. That’s something we’ll see. It probably depends on the game and how many power plays and that kind of stuff. If that is the case, I want to make sure I am ready for that. I don’t really know if that works out. But I got the opportunity to do a little of that over the course of the year, so hopefully that helps.
Q: What do you need to improve on off of last night?
Crosby: I think we want to get more shots. There’s no doubt when you put pucks on net, you wear the other team down. You get chances and eventually that helps. I think that is important.
Q: How do you as a team adapt with the loss of Jordan Staal?
Crosby: Collectively, we all have to make sure we are playing better. Whoever is playing in his absence, I don’t think that they have to put pressure on themselves to be Jordan Staal. I think we all have to help out. He’s not an easy guy to replace, but we have to find ways to be successful without him.