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Hockey Talk with Dan Bylsma

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
With the 2009-10 training camp just around the corner, head coach Dan Bylsma spoke briefly about his thoughts heading into the Penguins first title defense in 17 years.

What message will you send the team heading into your Stanley Cup title defense?

It's not about defending; it's about trying to go out and win another one. You don't want to focus on what you did in the past. You don't want to keep reminding yourself how good you are. Training camp is the same for everybody else. You're trying to build the foundation, lay the habits that lead to competing for a championship. We want to be driven to add to the legacy that's already part of the organization. We're starting to develop that. It's not about being hungry or satisfied. It's about being driven for what we're trying to accomplish. It's about being the best we can be and put ourselves in position to win a Stanley Cup.

What role will new assistant coach Tony Granato fill on the team?

Those are discussions that we are having. (Former assistant coach) Tom Fitzgerald left some roles. We just have to decide what is best suited for our staff and our group of people. It may be different from last year. It may not be.

How do you handle losing Max Talbot for the opening portion of the season?

It's a bit of a downer but part of having a good team is the ability to handle an injury to players that are key parts. Max is an energy guy. He's a glue guy. He adds the nuts and bolts to your team. He's not the most talented guy as Geno talked about last year in the playoffs. Hopefully, he worked on his hands while he's rehabbing his shoulder. That gives younger players in our organization, who otherwise wouldn't have a chance, an opportunity to step up. We have those players, Dustin Jeffrey, Luca Caputi, Eric Tangradi. It gives them a chance to earn a spot in training camp that wouldn't normally be there. It gives them a chance to develop. On a team like ours where we didn't lose to many forwards (in the offseason), that opportunity might not be there. It should provide for some good competition in the early part of the season and a chance for some of our younger players to step up with what we need to do.

With the addition of Jay McKee, is the defense set?

I think we were set on defense last year until (Sergei) Gonchar had an injury. Things happen all the time. We think we added a really good piece with Jay McKee, a guy who has something to prove in terms of where he's at in his career and what he can bring to the table. We lost some defensive defensemen. We're adding that in Jay McKee. We're adding a penalty kill guy. We're also adding Alex Goligoski to our roster which will give our defense a little bit of a different look. Roles and spots to play are open. We're trying to figure out what our defense is going to look like. It will be different from last year. That will be one of the keys developing for us as a team.

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