What a busy day for the Penguins. A lot to catch you up on that went down at practice today so let's get right to it. <>
The Penguins opened the day by signing veteran defenseman Martin Skoula to a one-year contract
The Penguins trimmed their active roster to 21 players
. To get there, Pittsburgh waived forwards Ryan Bayda, Paul Bissonnette and Chris Conner and blueliners Deryk Engelland
and Nate Guenin.
Pittsburgh is hopeing that all five will clear waivers. If they do, they will be assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL> <>
Penguins forward Max Talbot skated
for the first time in over three months following his shoulder surgery. <>
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby practiced for the first time
since his groin tightened up on him in last Thursday's pre-season contest in Columbus.
"I feel better," Crosby said. "I’m not where I want to be but it’s progressing and hopefully by Friday (home opener) it’s something I won’t have to worry about. There was no point where I thought I had to get off or felt like it was getting worse, so that’s good."<>
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin
did not practice, though it was not because of anything serious.
"Geno’s fine, just a maintenance day," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "We thought it was a better day to take advantage of the schedule situation. That’s it. He’ll be on the ice tomorrow."
The Penguins were back on the ice after being given the day off Monday. And forward Max Talbot, who will be sidelined for the first two months of the season after having shoulder surgery, skated on the ice for the first time. Talbot had been rehabbing, but he spent some time on the ice prior to the team's regular practice.
In other notes: Evgeni Malkin
was given the day off to rest. And Ryan Bayda, who yesterday agreed to a two-way contract
, was placed on waivers. If Bayda clears waivers, he will be assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 27
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby
will not play in the team's pre-season finale today at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. Crosby, who has been bothered by a groin injury, skated in the morning but did not make the trip to the Motor City.
"We went on the ice for a good workout today," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "It's progressing. He's day to day. He went through the paces today. It's more precautionary and knowing that we have a chance to get healthy in the next few days, it's more of a decision for that."
SATURDAY, SEPT. 26
Got an update on Crosby's injury from head coach Dan Bylsma. According to Bylsma, Crosby tested the groin on the ice earlier today, though he did not participate in practice. His status for Sunday's pre-season finale still remains to be determined. Here is the full tape of what Bylsma said:
"He's still going day by day. He went on the ice today and felt good. He's going to go on the ice again tomorrow. He'll kind of test it out in the morning and we'll go from there. We know this game is a pre-season game and not a regular-season game. We'll treat it a little bit differently than if it was a game with points on the line. We'll see tomorrow."
Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby
is not participating in the team's practice at Mellon Arena. Crosby, who injured his groin Thursday night
, missed yesterday's practice and planned on testing the groin today. His status for Sunday's pre-season finale in Detroit is unknown.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 25
Here is the latest update on the Penguins injuries. Crosby
(groin) - Did not practice Friday. Crosby gave his groin a chance to rest and will skate on Saturday to test it. He hopes to play in Pittsburgh's pre-season finale at Detroit on Sunday.B.Johnson
(knee) - Did practice and spoke about it afterwards.
"It feels good. The little strain, I can still feel it but it's just a tolerance thing. We know it's pre-season and business starts on (Oct. 2). We were taking precaution right now. Now it feels great on the ice. I went out there early for warm-ups. Everything feels good."Lovejoy
(shoulder) - Did not practice. No update.
The Penguins held a major production day with the players prior to practice. From 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. the players and coaches posed for photos, videos and other promotional items for the upcoming season. Check out some of the photots from the day.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 24
The Penguins will travel via bus to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets in a pre-season contest. Follow the team's travels at our running diary
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 23
Here are some injury updates from Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma:
Bylsma on Brent Johnson
The plan is for him to get back on the ice tomorrow. He wanted to finish the game (Tuesday), but it’s a situation where we could use good judgment and thought it was better just to be safe. He got treated today and will be on the ice tomorrow. I don't think it's more than a day-to-day.
Bylsma on Ben Lovejoy
I have not heard a report on his situation with the severity of his injury.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 22
Here are some pre-warmup shots from the Air Canada Center:
View from ice level outside the Penguins runway
Shot from the press box
A few of the many retired players' banners
Wide arena shot
The Penguins have a quick turnaround with back-to-back nights in Montreal Monday and Toronto Tuesday. The team flew to Montreal, played the game and then flew back to Pittsburgh. The players are boarding the team plane now to fly to Toronto. The team will return to Pittsburgh following the game.
Here are some sounds from around the Southpointe locker room from today:Jordan StaalOn camp so far:
I feel good. It’s been a pretty tough camp. It feels like the guys are getting the systems back and the timing back. Now it’s just a matter of time before the whole team gets together and plays some hockey.On getting out on the road:
I think it’s always more of a challenge playing on the road. It’s a lot more difficult, more of a challenge, and I think we’re ready for it.On short summer:
We had a short summer last year too. To a certain point it is tough, but at the same time it’s not excuse and we’re not going to use that this year.Ben LovejoyOn camp so far:
I’ve felt pretty good in camp. I got here a couple days early and kind of got comfortable with the guys. I feel like my game’s gotten better and better. I feel like I struggled a bit in the first game against Toronto. I don’t think I played my best hockey. But I feel like I definitely had a better game last night (against Montreal) and hopefully I can continue to get more and more comfortable.On what he hopes to show coaches in games:
I’m just trying to play simple hockey. I’m at my best when I’m moving pucks quickly and just defending well. There’s so much skill and talent on this team that I almost don’t want the puck on my stick. I want to get the puck to these playmakers and just defend and do my job. On available roster spots:
I came into camp just hoping to play well. I’ve been in the organization for a couple of years and know the coaching staff and have gotten comfortable with the guys and really just feel like if I can play my game things will work out. Hopefully, I can start in Pittsburgh, but if I have to start again in Wilkes-Barre and work my way up then that’s what I’ll do.John CurryOn camp so far:
I feel good. It’s nice to get back at it, to be at the NHL level and play with these guys as a goalie it’s great to see the shots every day, day in and day out. To get in some exhibition games, to get that experience is great. Just trying to take it all in and keep improving as a player.On motivation of playing NHL games last season:
It’s huge. Just to get a taste of it, it’s like a teaser, you just want it that much more and then to be with the team during playoffs and to see them go on that run, just to see how happy they were at the end of it, it makes you that much more hungry to get here, that much more hungry to improve and get your game to the NHL level.Dan BylsmaOn plans for remaining pre-season games:
I think the first two games were a chance for a lot of guys to audition, certainly for our team to get more familiar with the way we need to play, what it feels like on the ice. We’re still adjusting to how we need to play and how it should look like on the ice. And the guys that have shown well or deserve another game, games three and four, they’ll get in them tonight. And then games five and six we’ll be looking at as dress rehearsals for the start of the season Oct. 2. It’s almost like we have three different sections of camp, with games one and two, and three and four, another group of guys, largely new guys will be playing tonight. They’ve earned a game. It’s their chance to show again, and also the second time for most of these guys to get on the ice in a game and they should start to become comfortable with our systems and how we should be playing.Sidney CrosbyOn getting high sticked in the nose:
My nose is a little bigger than usual. It’s usually big anyway. It’s alright (laughs)On new guys coming in, Sid helping out:
I don’t think guys really have to (go out of their way to help). I think we’re just good people. It’s important for any team when new guys come in to make them feel welcome, but I think that’s just a natural thing with the type of people that we have in here. And then when you’re bringing in guys who are solid people then it’s easy. It’s really an easy fit. I think when you have that core and have that type of group, when you do have to bring new guys in and make changes it makes it a lot easier. On Crosby contacting Rupp when he came to the team, captain’s responsibility:
As a captain you want to call and welcome a guy and I’m sure when you’re going to a new team, I haven’t really experienced that, but I came here for the first time and Mario called. It’s just nice, you don’t meet anyone, but at least you talk to somebody and let him know if he needs anything that you’re there to help him, and just leave your number, things like that. I think it’s just a thing that everybody does, just try to make everyone feel as welcome as possible.On his legs at camp:
We had a couple tough games here. But for the most part I think we’ve had the pace that we want to play with. Consistency is important and when you’re in pre-season sometimes you miss those details, and those are so important. As it moves along we have to definitely get better, but I think our legs have been there for sure.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 20
2:13 PM:Dan BylsmaOn keeping up camp intensity the second week:
I think part of it is just how you plan your practices and the pace of practice and what drills you do. Now we’re looking at a situation where we’re playing three games in four nights and some of the practice intensity will drop off for the guys that are playing. The guys that aren’t playing, we’ll try to make sure we get that in there. Practice is dictated by whether you know if they’re playing or not, in terms of whether you give them more reps or not. The nature of some of the drills adds competition. That will still be added, even as we get down in numbers as we go forward. Then the end of training camp, the last two exhibition games will be a majority of our competition and you’ll see more special teams in practice. Things will change as you get to the last week. But right now we’re still in that where we want to see competition in practice, even though we might be playing the next night.
Here are some pictures from Sunday courtesy of Erik Heasely.
An empty arena
Another one of those will be hung Oct. 2
Pittsburgh's locker room is open after each practice session today. Here are some comments from the first media period. Eric GodardOn camp so far:
It’s been pretty good. Everyone seems to be working hard.On how this camp compares to others he’s been in:
It’s been not as strenuous, most of the core guys coming back from two long seasons. I’m sure they wanted to keep it at a good pace, get everybody back, but not over-exerting too much.On locker room atmosphere:
It’s great here. Coming in last year, it was the whole kind of attitude of the guys and they knew it was just something that was built on by the organization, and it’s carried down, the trickle-down effect.On pre-season games, being challenged by young guys:
I’ve done the same thing. It’s good to get a couple in, get the feel back. The first one’s always pretty tough, just making sure I’m prepared for the regular season.On goals for season:
I just want to continue to build and become a bigger part of the team, try and stay vocal and be a good teammate.Sidney CrosbyOn Chris Kunitz, offensive production:
He’s a guy who’s going to go to the net a lot, so I think I can help him by putting the puck on net, and he’s going to go into the traffic and either take a guy with him or get his stick on those pucks that are lose in front. He does a lot of little things well out there. If I can get the puck towards the net more often hopefully he’s going to be there to bang in the rebounds.On comfort of line going into season:
It’s nice to have some constant guys there. I think we know each other pretty well and we’ve played together in big games and tight games and we’ve found ways to create opportunities. There’s a sense of confidence there, and familiarity.On learning about line chemistry last season:
I think each guy just realized what they have to do to contribute to the line. It’s not going to matter who’s getting the actual chances to score but we’re all going to benefit from each other. Billy’s a big guy. He’s going to win his battles and make little plays. Chris is going to make sure that he’s in front of the net and he’s going to find those rebounds. And for me, I’ve got to make those plays to them when they’re in those areas to score. We all try to read off each other. I think the most important thing is that we all get involved. When we do that it’s hard to shut us down.On pace of second week of camp:
You’re getting in better shape and you’re getting used to the pace. I think that’s a natural thing. I don’t think mentally, physically you have to push yourself to do that. If you’re working hard each ice time then that should come. As we get closer I think everyone wants to make sure they’re sharp and focusing on little things and I think each game probably gets more normal.On intensity of camp:
It’s just a natural thing and a lot of guys have pride and they want to prepare themselves. You have to be intense in order to do that. You can’t turn it on like a switch and we all realize that. I think it’s a good sign of maturity knowing that guys are doing whatever they have to do to make sure they’re ready to start.
The Penguins concluded their first practice session with a shootout competition. Alex Goligoski's shot hit John Curry in the shoulder, popped into the air and trickled into the net to give Black sweaters the win. Thus, the White sweaters - Eaton, Godard, Curry, Bortuzzo, Rupp, Bayda, Pushkarev, Letang and Adams - were forced to skate two laps backwards and then do a set of push ups and sit ups on the ice. 10:40 AM:
The Penguins are holding two practice sessions at Mellon Arena today, each going for an hour and a half. The first group, which hit the ice at 10 a.m., had forwards Kunitz, Crosby, Guerin, Rupp, Adams, Godard, Caputi, Jeffrey, N.Johnson, Bayda and Pushkarev, defensemen Eaton, Letang, McKee, Goligoski, Lee, Engelland and Bortuzzo and goaltenders B.Johnson and Curry.
The second group, which hits the ice at 11:45 a.m., has forwards Bissonnette, Conner, Cooke, Dupuis, Fedotenko, Malkin, Smith, Staal, Tangradi, Vitale and Wallace, blueliners D'Aversa, Despres, Gonchar, Guenin, Lovejoy and Orpik and netminders Fleury and Thiessen.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 19
The Penguins were given the day off from practice but still had to attend meetings with the coaching staff. They're regroup and be back on the ice tomorrow.
Here are some comments from the Penguins following Friday's pre-season game agaisnt Toronto.
Yeah, we were on the short end of the penalty tonight, but it certainly gives you a chance to look at your penalty kill, put your penalty kill in game situation and then learn from it. There’s nothing like learning from being forced to deal with a major like that, and a lot of penalty kills in the games. There’s certainly stuff we can look at and get better at.
On practicing special teams enough at camp:
We have done some, but in a perfect world you’d like to do a lot more, practice a lot more before getting in a game, but we didn’t have that opportunity with the schedule we were presented with. Sometimes when you make a mistake in practice it’s not as evident or doesn’t sting as much as when you make it in a game. To make a few and get scored on like we did tonight, and even in game one. We’ll be ready to get better in practice with some video, and we have some time hopefully to do that.
On turning corner to second week of camp:
I think on things like special teams you give individuals a chance to try to do what they can do or what they’ve done in the minors or what they’re trying to evolve into. So you don’t see a lot of the same match-ups that you’ll see when we get closer to the start of the season. I think in the penalty kill tonight, I really didn’t want to get scored on for a fifth goal, so you saw Cooke and Adams go out together and then go back out together again much like you’d see in a regular-season game, where your main PK guys go out again. Where, for the most part, I’ve given more that six guys a chance to go do that. So you’ll see more and more of that. You’ll see more lines in combinations that we think we might see in the regular season, and move away from giving guys an opportunity where they might not have a chance to play later in the year. Five-on-five this game was played pretty well. We did a lot of good things. We had control of the game early on, and then the five-minute major kind of put it out of whack. At the end of the game you don’t fell very good because you got a loss, but you have to evaluate the different parts of the game separately and individuals separately, not really so much scoreboard at the end.
On Malkin going hard:
Geno loves to look back and ask for a chance to go out on the ice again. He was ready to go out every chance he got an opportunity. When we needed a play to be made in the middle of that third period he was ready to go out and do it. There are unique players and there are special players for a reason. You like him to be that way. You like him to be chomping at the bit to do what they think they can do for the team. That’s one of the reasons why they’re special.
Alex GoligoskiOn THE power play:
I think we were moving around good. We probably could have generated more shots. As the game went on we kind of got a little more sloppy. It’s a process and you keep working at it.On how he’s feeling, sharpness:
I feel good. It’s good to get the first game against another team, but it’s a long training camp and there’s a ways to go still.
Craig AdamsOn physic play of Friday’s game:
It was good. It was good to get out there and play against someone in a different colored jersey, instead of going after your own guys. That’s never fun. A game like last night (B&G), the intra-squad game, it’s no fun going hitting your teammates. On penalties, physical edge:
Well certainly you want to stay out of the penalty box. We can’t be giving up four shorthanded goals (sic). You’re not going to win too many games like that. I don’t think discipline was a problem for us last year and I don’t anticipate it being a problem for us. That’s the pre-season. That’s the way it goes. At times it’s sloppy, and there’s lots of penalties. Brooks OrpikOn high number of penalties:
I think a lot of the guys, it’s called a little bit different than in college or juniors, the American League (AHL). A lot of younger guys may be not used to the obstruction, how tight they call it. So you see a lot more penalties. It’s tough that way. Then the power play, PK, you got guys that normally don’t play that are playing. You feel like you’re always out there with different guys. It’s a bit of a scramble there in pre-season, but I thought every one on our side played really well.On developing on-ice relationships:
You never know. When Gonchar got hurt there, you can never predict that stuff. You’ve got to be able to adjust to other guys and play with other guys. You can’t just get used to one guy, or two sets of wingers. It takes a little bit of time to figure out with different guys, but that’s what the pre-season’s here for.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 18
Here are some sounds around the locker room from Friday's morning skate and practice session:Dan BylsmaOn first week of camp, pace:
If you ask me what day it was I wouldn’t know because I’m still going by numbers. It’s the 18th today I know that but (not) what day of the week it is. That doesn’t start to happen until you get towards the end of training camp and into the season, where you know you start knowing you’ve got a Friday or Saturday or Sunday or Monday. We’re still going to the schedule. We’re still going by the numbers, still fitting in extra practices. We’re on two different practices today because of the morning skate and then the guys who aren’t playing (in Friday’s game). We’re not that deep into it yet because these (second group) of guys are getting their first real exhibition game tonight. It is starting to slow down, at least a light at the end of the tunnel, because after today we’ll have, for the most part, a day off tomorrow and then we’ll get into some practices and we’ll have two exhibition games. So things change after today.On open defensive spot:
I think there are different things to look at there, and they all are weighed into the picture when you’re looking for a seventh defensemen. Are your top six going to play the majority of the games? That would leave very little game time for the seventh defenseman. That would go into it. Are you
looking for extra toughness on your team? That would go into your decision for the seventh defenseman, if someone had that toughness element. The age of the player goes into whether they’re a candidate for a seventh defenseman, that’s probably not going to play that many games, especially at the start of the season barring an injury. A lot of those factors go into it. But it’s not necessarily nailed down to a tough player, young player, older player or just a puck moving defenseman. Those factors go into the decision, but it’s not like we’re looking for this in that position right now. Deryk Engelland
adds toughness. Ben Lovejoy
adds puck moving and skating ability. Deryk Engalland’s maybe a little older in his career. Ben Lovejoy
’s still in the developing stage of his career. They both are viable candidates, both different, different stages. One’s younger, at least in his development standpoint. If they both showed well in training camp you’d have to make a decision then on what you thought that seventh position was going to look like and what you needed. I use those two guys as an example.On Nate Guenin, other defensive candidates:
I saw Nate last year when we (WBS) played against the Philadelphia Phantoms. He’s a gritty defensive defenseman, tough to play against, good PK guy. We had to adjust our PK because of him last year in Wilkes-Barre and gave our top lines tough times on the ice. He really was one of the guys who gave us fits when we played him. That’s what kind of game he can show you. He’s got grit and he’s got shot blocking. He’s got PK. There’s lots of his game that I know well. He gave me a lot of frustrations as a coach. They beat us a lot early on last year in Wilkes-Barre. I know him pretty well. And (Chris) Lee has got a different package, a little bit more like Ben Lovejoy
, but he also is a guy who certainly has the ability to show well and he’s going to get to play tonight, looking forward to that and seeing what he can do. It’s not just a two-person show. That’s for sure.On Tim Wallace:
Tim’s someone I know real well. The thing that he really adds to his game is in the last two training camps here in Pittsburgh, he hurt somebody with a body check. That doesn’t happen all that often, especially for a young guy coming up. You might see a Matt Cooke
do that. It’s what he’s known for, and some other players around the league. He can really hit. He’s a real physical presence and he’s working on his game. He’s honed his game and it’s consistency at that physical aspect of his game. But there is an edge there that holds defensemen accountable when they’re going back for pucks. They can be game changers and add to momentum of teams. That fight that he had last season was certainly an eye opener, not only for the fans but for his teammates and the coaching staff here last season. That’s his challenge. Can he be that kind of momentum guy, energy guys, physical guy at the NHL level? I thought he did a very good job here last year when he had 10-plus games here for the Penguins. He’s getting a chance to do it tonight.On competition for roster spots:
I think it’s great. It’s one of the things I’ve always tried to have as a coach, is competition. It drives people. It keeps people sharp. It keeps them attentive. That’s what the games all about. You’re in a competitive environment and you want that for everybody. We have good players competing in a lot of different spots. The challenge for the coaches and the scouts, it’s not like we have five tough guys competing for a spot. We have five different types of players competing for a couple spots. If they all show well, it’s what we need in that particular spot, or what we think we need. That defensive position, there’s a lot of different guys competing for it: speed, and skill, and toughness and defensive defensemen, a little bit of offensive defensemen. Whoever really takes hold of it are the guys who are going to jump to the forefront. I think Tyler Kennedy
has provided some competition within our team. We have a spot open from Max not being there. He’s gone out, from my view, and had an unbelievable camp in terms of work ethic, his tenacity on the puck. Almost every time he’s on the ice you notice him and circle No. 48. He’s offering competition, not just from people outside or younger coming in, but within our team. He’s a guy who's shown that ‘hey I’m a guy who can move up and fight for competition.’Matt CookeOn what he hopes to get out of Friday’s game:
I there’s a bunch of different things, as far as a team, needing to work on our system, not just the guys that are playing but the guys that sit up in the stands watching. It’s easy to pick things out from being up top and watching. For me personally, it’s getting my timing back. It’s extremely tough for me to go out and play and chase down a defenseman, where normally I drive into the boards, he’s my own teammate, so I feel myself letting down a lot in our scrimmages. It’s a good chance for me to take it out there, get my skating legs.On getting more practices than other training camp group before the first game:
Had I played the other night I would have been ready. It’s allowed me to get a little more skating legs underneath me, having a scrimmage last night, but I don’t think it would have mattered.On prospects catching his eye:
There’s probably a couple handfuls of guys that have come in and played well and looked like they belong. It’s unfortunate that there’s not that many openings, but they’re putting their best foot forward and they’re putting in a good mark moving forward with this organization. To be in Wilkes-Barre is not that much of a demotion because they’re going to have a very strong team.On competition at camp:
There’s not that many spots available, the young kids and all that, but they’ve come in and they’ve worked hard and they’ve played well.Mike RuppOn Friday’s game:
We’re looking to get out there and play our game. We’re all trying to build off each day and get better each day in camp and get ready for the season. We’re going to play our style and hopefully have a good one.On meshing with the team:
It’s been great, great group of guys. I think the first thing I noticed was how loose and relaxed the atmosphere is. I think that’s very important. It’s a very welcoming group. It’s a fun group, too.On how much time it takes to get feel with the team:
I think the biggest thing is the on-ice stuff just as far as not thinking, and reacting. There’s a few changes to things I’m not used to and I have to adjust to, so it takes a few days of maybe being a little hesitant on the ice.On gaining the team’s trust:
It’s working hard. You don’t want to be a guy that takes any shortcuts, and I don’t think that’s the kind of player I am. It’s just going out, doing my job and working hard. It’s a good group of guys and it works very well for me.On being drawn to Pittsburgh:
It’s an organization that’s fresh off of it (Stanley Cup). I believe it’s built to be back competing for it for years to come. To get an opportunity to be a part of it and contribute in any way I can is all I needed really. On adjusting to the team:
It takes a few days of adjusting here and there. I think each day I’m starting to getting a little more comfortable with just playing. Now I know and can react more to what the systems are. I came from an organization that’s a little more sitting back. This organization is a little more high octane and going forward, which is a great way to play and this team’s built for that. It’s a little bit of sometimes being a little passive when I need to be aggressive. I think the mentality here’s just to go. I think that each day’s getting better with it.
The Penguins have released their lineup for Friday's pre-season match-up with the Toronto Maple Leafs at Mellon Arena at 7:30 p.m. (Buy Tickets
Notable players that will participate are NHL scoring champion Evgeni Malkin
, veteran Bill Guerin, defensemen Alex Goligoski, Kris Letang
and Brooks Orpik
and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury
Malkin will center the top line between Kennedy and Caputi, while Fleury - who wanted a heavy workload in camp - will play his third game in four nights (starting against Columbus Tuesday and in the "Black and Gold Game" Thursday).
Below is the full lineup for this evening's game and the line combinations:Forwards
The contest will be the final pre-season game at Mellon Arena before the opening of the regular season and the raising of the Stanley Cup championship banner. Pittsburgh's finish the remainder of its pre-season schedule with four games on the road.
The game will air on the Penguins' flagship station WXDX 105.9 at 7:30 p.m. with Mike Lange and Phil Bourque calling the action. The contest will also be broadcast on 105.9 HD2 and streamed on penguins.com, starting at with a one-hour pre-game show with Steve Mears, Grimm and Bob Grove.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 17
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 16
There are no practices scheduled today as the team travels to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to take part in the intra-squad "Black and Gold Game" at Wachovia Arena. We will be blogging all the action on penguins.com and also we'll be streaming a live feed with play-by-play man Steve Mears calling the action.
Fans can hear the action, starting at 7 p.m., by clicking here
No scrimmages today. Just regular old practice. Here are some sounds from around the locker room.
On how Black and Gold fits into camp:
It’s a good thing to let the coaches see guys battling against each other, and who wants a spot more. Should be good competition tomorrow night. On WBS fans and players:
It means a lot. Wilkes-Barre’s a great town, and they’ve got a lot of great fans. It’s a great organization and they’re going to be excited for us to come there.On going back:
Everyone treated me well there, and it was a great place to live, and a great place to play hockey, and I’m excited to come back.
On Black and Gold Game and camp:
We’re going there to have a little scrimmage, and probably a lot of fans. All these guys pretty much played a little bit in Wilkes-Barre. It’s going to be fun to play over there. On what it means to fans and players:
You grow up as a player, and sometimes you go through something, and it’s always fun to go back where you started.
Mark Eaton:On helping younger guys:
Any game situation, whether it’s inter-squad, or whether it’s against another organization is a good chance for anybody to get better, not just the young guys. Training camp is all about getting to your game as quickly as you can, getting the rust off, and trying to make a good impression. It’s another opportunity tomorrow.
On Black and Gold Game, getting back up to Wilkes-Barre:
I know I’m excited about it. I’m going to leave this afternoon, and get back there tonight, and get to see the Cup again tonight. I’m excited to bring it back to Wilkes-Barre. That’s the roots for me, a lot of great people there, great memories about the team, a great team down there. I’m excited about the next day and a half, sharing the Cup a little bit there, and also the game, getting on the bench, and having the stands be full in the WBS.On seeing old friends:
From the people around the team, to the people in the neighborhood and friends, I wish it was more that a day and a half.On bringing Cup to Wilkes-Barre:
I describe it as a day changer. Whether you’re a hockey fan or not, whether you’re a sports fan or not, there’s something about bringing the Cup, and seeing the Cup, that makes even passer-bys go run and get their camera phone and take a picture. It’s a unique experience. It’s another level, exponentially. To bring it back to Wilkes-Barre, to Jeff Barret (CEO of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins), and the Penguins there, I wish it was longer than 36 hours.On selling it out quickly:
I wasn’t surprised. That’s a typical thing. You’re surprised because it’s an exhibition game, and it’s pre-season, but I’m not surprised, because it’s Wilkes-Barre, and the fans. It’s a great city. I think the NHL players are going to be surprised tomorrow, when they get to that building. I think some of the new kids in our organization are going to be surprised, as well.On Wilkes-Barre’s connection:
Wilkes-Barre fans I thought were unique, but come in here to Pittsburgh and you see the pride that goes throughout the state, it’s not surprising that the people in Wilkes-Barre take a great deal of ownership in what happens in the this organization, what happens here (Pittsburgh). I now look back at the games, where the scores go up on the scoreboard in Wilkes-Barre, and the fans cheering for that. When it goes up that Tyler Kennedy
scores a goal, they take pride and ownership in that.
On getting back to game action:
There was a little bit of rust there. You wanted to make sure you were doing the systems right, and things that they’re implementing into our game right now, make sure we get the puck. You want to make strong, quality plays. It took us a little while to start doing that last night, but that’s just knocking off some rust.On being shut down the first two periods against Columbus:
Their goalie played good in the first two periods. Then they made a goalie change. It’s one of those things, that we executed a little bit better in the third, making passes out of our D-zone, into the neutral zone, and get in there on the forecheck like we like to play, and create turnovers and put pucks in the net. A lot of our goals came within the ten yards right around that net.On how he’s feeling about camp so far:
You’re still trying to get everything back. You want to hit your stride right when the season starts. You want to make sure that you’re going at your full pace, and try to get your linemates on the same page. Right now you’re just trying to knock off that rust, but you’re still going out there. You’re working hard, and trying to do all the little things that make your game better.
On Tuesday night’s game:
I thought it went pretty good. It’s the first game, and you’re still figuring out timing and execution and things like that. I think the main thing, with those games, is if you go in with the right mindset and you’re focused, you’re going to improve from just playing, just making sure your focus is there and, with that, you’re going to get good habits.On pace of camp:
You push yourself. That’s part of focusing, moving your feet, supporting the puck, winning your battles, those kinds of things. When the season starts you can just turn that on. That has to be a way of reacting, so that’s what I try to do. If you push yourself in the pre-season, and get yourself at the right level that you need to be, then there really shouldn't be that much of an adjustment come regular season.On playing with Tangradi Tuesday:
He kept his game pretty simple, and supported the puck, and won his battles. He’s strong down low. If you go support him, and he wins his battles, then we’re going to get possession of the puck. That’s basically what we try to do all night.On Black and Gold Game, going to Wilkes-Barre:
It should be fun. I played my first pre-season game there. It’s a good memory. I remember my first camp. We were there for four or five days. I’m sure their fans will really enjoy that. It’s pretty neat that we’re able to go down there. I think everyone will have fun with it. It’ll be a competitive game. It should be good.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 15
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma spoke to the media today about Eric Tangradi
, Marc-Andre Fleury
and his own coaching staff. Dan BylsmaOn Tangradi:
Tangradi’s a big body, a skilled guy. You can make comparisons to other power-forwards in Penguins' history. That’s the kind of player we hope he can be, that he has been for his teams. Tonight’s a chance for him to get a feel for what it would be like to play with Sidney Crosby
, for him to be able to go in and bang bodies, and be good in the corners and at the net. He gets a chance to do that with one of the best players in the world. It’s tougher for him maybe to show that if he was playing on a fourth line. On player evaluation:
It’s tough having a great feel at the end of the day for 52 players. Certainly that’s why there’s more ice here at training camp sometimes. We sit down after practices and review how our players did, and where we think they’re at, conditioning-wise, execution-wise. I think we get a pretty good feel for the players, but it has been difficult at times to pinpoint where a particular person is at. It’s tough, and it’s challenging to keep an eye on everyone, but there are certainly people that you are targeting as well.On the coaching staff:
After every day we talk about the players, and talk about making sure we get to talk to certain players about different things. Some players are new to the organization. Some players are doing really well and you want to recognize that. On Fleury:
I haven’t seen a ton of change in Marc-Andre Fleury
over the years. He’s got the same smile. He’s got the same work ethic. He’s got that energy, that focus in practice. He does continue to have that same kind of energy, focus and passion. It comes out in his smile. It comes out in his competitive nature on the ice. 3:49 PM:
Penguins.com caught up with Matt Cooke
in the Penguins locker room:Matt CookeOn clicking with Staal, Dupuis:
The only really change is Dupuis filling in for TK (Kennedy). Staal and I killed penalties last year together, and had a lot of chemistry. It’s a pretty easy transition. Pascal’s a great skater, just like TK is. His speed compliments the way we like to play the game.On switching from Kennedy to Dupuis:
He’s a left-handed shot, so I think that we’ll have to protect that a little bit, just knowing that the game’s a little bit harder playing on your off-wing. He’s been there, and played there before. He feels very comfortable. So it shouldn’t be much of a transition. I think we already have (adjusted). If your willing to communicate, and willing to take constructive criticism from each other, which at the end of the day we’re all here for the same reason and that’s to win hockey games. If you can do that without getting after each other, then I think you’re going to be successful as a line. I think that was our strength last year with Staal and TK. We communicated well and never took it personally.On constructive criticism:
In certain situations, something happens and you see it differently on the ice. Rather than hold it inside and not talk about, talk about it. That way you’re all on the same page. I think that helps you grow as a line and helps you build chemistry. It helps you have success.
Nick Johnson really stood out during Tuesday's scrimmage. The young forward converted two power-play goals as Team B defeated Team A, 3-0.
On his first goal, Johnson collected a Tyler Kennedy
rebound in front of the net and pushed the puck past goalie John Curry. Johnson's second goal was the result of some great passing. Kennedy pushed the puck to Guerin along the goal line. Guerin slid a cross-crease pass to Johnson, who buried the rubber.
"It feels good and it helps to play with those two guys," Johnson said. "The second, I just turned on it and shot it. It made me feel good. There's not much else you can say about it. On the first, Kennedy saw an open shot and hit my tip-stick. Then I just turned on it into a half-open net."
"He's a great, young player," Kennedy said. "He showed it by putting the puck in the net. It's a big confidence boost to get two goals in the (scrimmage)."
The Penguins completed their second scrimmage of training camp. Today's battle featured a showdown between Team B and Team C.
Below were the lineups for the two squads:Team BForwards
The Penguins have released their lineup for tonight's pre-season showdown with the Columbus Blue Jackets at Mellon Arena at 7:30 p.m.
Notable players are captain Sidney Crosby
, prospect Eric Tangradi
, center Jordan Staal
, defenseman Sergei Gonchar, 2009 first-round pick Simon Despres
and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury
Below is the full lineup for this evening's game and the line combinations:Forwards
Here are some more photos from Day 2 of training camp practices courtesy of Erik Heasley.
Aaron Boogaard rests in the Penguins players' lounge in between practices
Defenseman Brooks Orpik
and assistant coach Mike Yeo listen to the upcoming practice drill
Head coach Dan Bylsma goes over the Penguins system at practice
The Penguins fresh start to the season contains a blank canvas of NHL standings
New Penguins fill in PA announcer Ryan Mill takes in practice
Head coach Dan Bylsma spoke with the media. Here is what coach Bylsma had to say.Dan BylsmaOn early pre-season game:
I don’t think I’ve ever had it this quick. Typically, you might have three days of scrimmages and then get into an exhibition game. But I actually like seeing other jerseys than having to practice and scrimmage against our own teammates. For the veterans, I think scrimmaging against your own teammates is done at about 80 percent. They don’t want to hurt each other. They don’t want to battle. Getting a game this quick is getting the game situations that you need to get up to speed, and you get it right away. When I saw the change, I thought it actually was a good idea.On concerns of having such an early game:
We saw yesterday, one day in, two of our players going at each other pretty hard on a three-on-three, defensive zone coverage drill. Day 1 they’re going hard at each other. If you let that go on for five days then they start to get mad at each other, it starts to heat up a little bit. So Day 3 I’m comfortable with being able to see another jersey and go in the corners with another jersey. You’ll get a more game-like situation than you would if you scrimmaged against each other for four or five days.On how long big names will play:
We only have six games, so you’ll see a pretty decent lineup. Half and half would be what happens for the first couple game, generally speaking.On Bayda
You can’t deny the contract-situation that we’re in, from an organizational standpoint. We want to play an up-tempo, aggressive game and we need players that can play that way in our organization. We think Ryan can add in that way. He (has) speed and he's tenacious. You saw in the scrimmage today, him driving to the net and getting on pucks. He’s a smart player, made good reads, and he’s two days into our organization. That would translate in a guy who can play that type of game. He’s here. We know what he’s done in the past in the NHL. He’s got a chance to try to earn a spot in our organization. I like what I saw from him today, and in the first few days.On seventh defensive spot:
There’s lots of competition there. We went out and got a guy like Nate Guenin because we think he can compete for that spot. Deryk Engelland
offers a different aspect to the team, other than those two guys (Lovejoy and Guenin). So there are different aspects that we could be looking for, where you’re at in your career, how old you are, what your development process is will all go into that decision. Each one of those players is in a different spot in that regard. If one player shows very well, and we have to consider him for that role, it might be for different reasons than the other guys. It’s not just looking for an older, veteran guy that can play a certain way. I think there’s quite a bit of competition.On who/what he liked in scrimmage:
There were a lot of things that I liked. One of the things I liked the best is the way we went back for pucks. Our defensemen went back for pucks. We made good plays and got out of there. One of the most important ways about playing D-zone coverage is not to have to play, and going back for pucks is a huge part of that. We haven’t gotten to that part of our system yet, and a lot of our players know it, know how to do it, have read off of each other in that scrimmage and did a great job of that. As a result, the forecheck wasn’t very good for either team. We were up in the stands and really enjoyed that aspect of it, because it means your going north in the other direction fast and you get into the offensive zone, which is a huge part of the way we want to play.
Sounds from around the locker room: A daily round up of quotes by Penguins players, coaches and staff. Brent JohnsonOn scrimmage game:
It was good to see some actual body-ing with the puck and everything, and guys playing good defense, instead of the three-on-three. On experience of training camp:
It’s been great. I wanted to get in here a couple weeks early, which I did, get settled and meet the guys was the most important thing. Everyone’s been so welcoming and made me feel right at home. It’s been great. On Penguins defense:
Excellent, I’ve just gotten a few guys. Eaton and Letang, the guys can move the puck and they seem to work off each other and work off the goalie. It’s going to take a little bit of time to know all the plays. Once we get them down, I think we should have no problem.Ruslan FedotenkoOn veteran presence of team:
It’s their (the young guys) fourth or fifth year in the league. You still can learn. I’m sure they’ve never been in this situation, after winning the Cup and coming back next year. After winning the Cup I’m sure they will see a little different situation, adversity. We have a strong team, and we have a good group of guys who can help each other out. On mindset:
To elevate our game, elevate my game, as much as we can. I feel like we played well last year in the playoffs. We set the bar high. We won the Cup and now we just need to defend it. I feel like it’s a different season, different things. It doesn’t matter what happened last year. You need to prove yourself again and show the people, the team, the league we won for a reason, because we’re a good team.On training camp:
It’s a high tempo, a lot of skating, there and back. I think it’s pretty good. I think we knew what to expect and so far, so good.Craig AdamsOn last year’s transition into Pittsburgh:
Looking back, at the time I came here the team had turned things around and had won some games in a row. There was a pretty good feeling in the room. Usually that makes guys in a better mood. As the team plays better, it’s easier for you to come into that team and play in those games. If the team's on a losing streak or struggling, then it’s tough to look good, and there’s not a great feeling around the dressing room. On tone of team:
It’s a fun locker room. It’s a good group of guys. A good mix of older guys, younger guys, loud guys, quiet guys, every team is different. Hockey players are mostly good guys ready to go. On reasons for coming back to Pittsburgh:
The biggest thing for me, and probably for any player, is you want to be comfortable with your role on the team. I certainly was excited about the way Dan (Bylsma) used me in the playoffs. That would be great, to go forward in that type of role. That’s the expectation I have of myself. You can go into the locker room and have 19 best friends, but if you’re not playing, and not happy with the way you’re being used, then it’s not a lot of fun. On camaraderie:
When you go through something like that with guys, you have a certain trust and familiarity with them, a bond you could say. It certainly is a nice thing to have, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to win games. I’ve been there before where we didn’t make the playoffs the next year, and it was the same group of guys. It’s nice to look across and be able to trust the guy and know how he’s going to react in a tough Sergei GoncharOn early pre-season game:
It’s one of those things that you probably cannot really control. It’s happened because of the G-20. Mentally you’re right in it, maybe your body, your timing and everything as a team is not going to be what it would be at the end of the year. On game mentality:
I’m sure when the game starts that mentally you’re right in it.On his game:
So far, so good. I had some time off, and that helped me to recover. I’ve been skating. I’ve done all my exercises.Brooks OrpikOn the competitive attitude of team:
Guys battle hard. Who knows what could happen, but at the end of the day everyone here’s got a good head about it. It’s just part of the game. On the defense with Goligoski McKee:
I think it’ll be great. Alex played great for us last year in the 40 or so games, and then he stepped right in the playoffs when Gonchar went down in Washington, looked really comfortable there, too. I think he’ll be fine. McKee’s a veteran in this league. He’ll bring some stability to the team, and I think he’ll make it a lot easier on Alex, too.On being with team for a while, where it goes from here:
It’s up to us, really. I’ve seen the very bottom of the barrel, and I’ve seen the top last year. I don’t think that’s something that we’re worried about, especially with the competitive nature of all the guys in here, and the desire for the guys here to win. I don’t foresee any problems. On coaching staff coming in last season:
We got a late start with Dan there, late in the season, around the trade deadline. It really only took us a handful of games to really get comfortable. We had a system, and it carried right into the playoffs. With a whole training camp and a whole season here, it’ll probably be even better.On early pre-season game:
It’s tough. Everyone comes to camp in such good shape nowadays. It’s really not an excuse. It’s the same fore everybody. It’s like one of those things where you complain about bad ice and both teams have to play on it. It’s a quick turnaround for a lot of guys, you get a scrimmage in here and a couple good practices. Most of the guys here have been skating for at least a week together. It only looks like a couple days. We’ve been skating here for about 10 days already. On getting going so early in camp:
I think you can look at it both ways. You get a game right away and then the coaches can’t really kill you as much on the ice at the practices. At the same time, if you get a couple scrimmages, you’re timing’s a little bit better going into the games. It’s an even playing field for both teams, So it’s just something you have to deal with.Jay McKeeOn getting acclimated with teammates:
With defensive partners, sometimes guys click right away, and sometimes it takes an adjustment period. I’ve felt pretty comfortable throughout my whole career with new partners. It’s nice to get some skating time in, some exhibition games in. After you play for long enough, guys that you get paired up with have the kind of attributes than guys you have played with in the past. I think it’s a pretty easy transition. I’m looking forward to it.On his experience and Goligoski’s inexperience:
Every player has his role. We have to go our there and do that to the best of our abilities, and make our teammates around us better, and, in turn, our teammates are going to do that with me. It’ll be a little bit of an adjustment, getting used to the guys, and the way they play, and the goaltending, but as professionals we’re built to do that, and I’m doing my best of it.
Here some photos of the Penguins scrimmage, courtesy of Tom Mast.
The Penguins finished their scrimmage with Team B prevailing, 3-0, although there were a few disputes over some of the goals.
One in particular was a goal that Pascal Dupuis
pushed into the net even though it appeared that goaltender Brent Johnson
had the puck covered.
"None got by me. That one was after the whistle," Johnson joked. "It was definitely after the whistle. Everyone knows it in the dressing room."
Despite the disputed call, Johnson still enjoyed getting on the ice and seeing some competitive action with his new teammates.
"It was good to see some action where there are actually body-ing with the puck and guys playing really good defense instead of the three-on-three," he said.
Sounds from around the locker room: A daily round up of quotes by Penguins players, coaches and staff. Tyler KennedyOn playing with Malkin:
It’s great. It puts a little more pressure on you, but it’s good. He’s a great player, and hopefully helps me out, and I become a better player.On possibility being on the second line:
I’m just taking it day by day. I’m not asking questions. I’m just going out there and playing the game. If I’m on their line I’m on their line, if I’m not I’m not. On bringing more challenges:
Just bear down on my shots, and making the simple plays, and try to get open for Geno. I know he likes to dangle. So I can’t be right beside him all the time. I have to look for the open spot.Ruslan FedotenkoOn success of the second line last season:
Everybody’s clicking. Everybody’s on the same page. I knew what Geno was going to do, and I knew what Max was going to do, just kind of read and react and play the best. That’s when you're scoring the goals. When you're on the same page with all five players, that’s when you have success.On development of success:
I would say probably in the playoffs we were more consistent. Even in the regular season we had certain games that were unbelievable, and then next game we tried to do too much ourselves, instead of using all five players. I think in the playoffs our overall consistency was much better. On offensive goals/numbers:
I feel like I could be a 25, 30 goal-scorer, and I know I can be. It just seems like every year I have a little injury here, a little injury there. So I’m kind of up and down. Hopefully I can get this year.On Geno getting better:
I think consistency. I mean, he’s an unbelievable player. If he can elevate his game, to every game, perform like that, you can’t ask for anything better than that. I feel like in the playoffs he did great. He didn’t get discouraged or anything like that, because in the playoffs it’s tough for everybody to play with more passion. When he needed to be patient; he was patient during the playoffs. If he can learn to be the same way during the regular season that would be great. He’s in a whole different group I feel like. I played with a lot of great players, Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, Keith Primeau in his prime. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been playing with great players. But I feel like he’s unique and I think he’s in his own group.On helping linemates gain confidence:
Help them out to understand. He cannot do everything by himself (Malkin). I think that’s really important. The great talented young players, they sometimes make that mistake. They try to do too much themselves, instead of helping the other players on their line, on their team do better. That’s why the great teams are winning. It’s not the individual players it’s how they roll as a team. Jordan Staal:On playing with Pascal Dupuis:
It’s nice for me and Cooke, because we’re not the fastest guys out there. It definitely helps getting the puck moving north as fast as we can. I think that’s part of our game. A big part of our game is north and south hockey. On the speed element of Bylsma's practice:
It’s a lot more skating. It’s something that you need to get used to. The more aggressive you play, the more skating. It benefited us.Pascal Dupuis:On playing on Staal's line:
When I came here with Hossa, Sid was hurt, and we played with Staal, and actually did pretty good. I’m kind of excited. I think Staal’s pretty fast. I think Matt’s pretty fast, too, pretty good on the forecheck, too. Maybe I can help with my speed, to get some pucks, and forecheck on my side, too. I think we’re going to generate stuff by forechecking hard and using our speed.On offensive production:
I’ve got to play my game. Whatever I can bring to the table, I’ll bring it. Sidney Crosby:On the tempo of practice:
It was quick. We’ve got not even four full lines, so there’s not a lot of lines. You’re not standing around at all. You’re going, and that’s what you want as a player. You want to have that tempo there, and you want your timing to come as quick as you can. When you’re going like that, that’s the way we need to play. Our intensity has to be like that in practices.Jay McKeeOn joining the team/defending title:
I’m looking forward to it. It’s a great team, great atmosphere. Management, from top to bottom, is first class. It’s a great spot to be. On what he brings to the team:
Some experience, this will be my 13th year playing. I’m not a guy who’s going to go out there and score a lot of goals. I just get my job done by working hard and doing what I can to keep the puck out of my net, using my body on other players, and blocking as many shots as I can. I’ve taken a lot of pride in my defensive play over the years. On penalty kill:
It’s one of the things I take the most pride in. That’s one of the toughest parts of the game, going out there and killing penalties against other team's top players. When my team is high in the ranking for that it gives you a great satisfaction, being a part of that. I think special teams, in this league, are a huge part of the game. They can win games for you, and we want to do more of that here.
Here are a few more picks from the Penguins locker room and from the team's practice.
There was an intense battle during practice in front of the net between Sidney Crosby
and Alex Goligoski. The two fought hard for position in the slot. After the whistle though, both players went about their business.
"That's camp, you have to get ready," Crosby said. "It's a short camp. It's a quick transition from camp to the regular season so you have to make sure that your battle level is there.
"(Goligoski) wants to show everything he's got and he's battling. For me, it's my fifth year but I need to make sure I'm ready for the season too. I don't think anybody out here is going through the motions. We're preparing ourselves. Battling and being intense is all a part of that. The more guys we have like that, the better it will make everyone."
Goligoski took it as a "welcome back" to a new season.
"It's good to be back," Goligoski said. "The season started, the summer is over. It's just being competitive and it's good to feel a stick in your back or shoulder, it's something you don't feel in the summer. It helps you work on your balance."
"(Goligoski) woke up this morning knowing he was going to be paired against Sid in some of the drills so this wasn't the first training camp that they've gotten into a battle down low," Bylsma said. "It's human nature, a competitive nature and both Sid and him have it. It was great to see."
The Penguins just announced that long-time PA announcer John Barbero is currently recovering from a medical condition. We'd like to wish him the best during his recovery.
Ryan Mill, a Cranberry native, will fill in during Barbero's absence. Mill will make his debut Tuesday night, when the Penguins open their pre-season schedule against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Mellon Arena (7:30 p.m.).
(Read more here
The Penguins released the list of their three training camp teams.TEAM A
Here are some shots of the amazing crowd that came to Mellon Arena to watch the practice. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday's practices will also be open to the public and will take place at Mellon Arena (for more details click here
At Mellon Arena for the first official on-ice practice for the team. The first group of players have taken the ice. In an interesting development, Evgeni Malkin
and Ruslan Fedotenko skated with Tyler Kennedy
. (Read more here
Max Talbot played with Malkin and Fedotenko during the postseason but is sidelined with a shoulder injury. Kennedy normally works with Jordan Staal
and Matt Cooke