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Penguins Report: 1/14/11

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Head coach Bylsma said Lovejoy missed practice due to illness (12:40 PM).
  • Pens lines (11:15 AM).
  • Bylsma on the Bruins, who’s stepping up in Sid’s stead and how Crosby's been keeping busy (2:23 PM).
  • Malkin’s more than ready to shoulder the load with Sid out, and he has a plan (3:58 PM).
  • Staal, Michalek and Talbot on Crosby and Saturday’s rematch with Boston (2:01 PM).
  • Malkin and Martin speak! (3:21 PM).
  • Pens pics (11:28 AM).
  • How 'bout that power play? (3:58 PM).
  • Friday morning greeting (10:50 AM).

3:58 PM:
Speaking of Malkin, he's more than ready to shoulder the load with Sidney Crosby's continued absence. What's Geno's recipe for success? You'll have to read Tony Jovenitti's report to find out.

Malkin'a not the only player looking to step up in Crosby's stead. Mark Letestu is also trying to take advantage of more ice time and an expanded role.

Not to mention that the Pens' special teams, especially their power play, have been scorching lately.

3:21 PM:
PensTV got the scoop from Evgeni Malkin and Paul Martin:



2:23 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On if it was hard to forgot the last two games against Boston:
Yes it is hard to forget. We were in a situation with a two-goal lead in the third period. We put ourselves in a situation that allowed Boston to get back in the game and eventually win the game. That is something that happened to us earlier in the year. After a stretch of games it happened again. That has left a mark with our players and us, and it’s something we’re working on – reasons why and to get it out of our game.

On getting to play Boston so shortly after the loss:
I like the fact that we get the opponent that came in our building and took two points from us, especially the way they did it late in the game. We get to go back in there building. We haven’t forgotten the mistakes we made or why that happened. We haven’t forgotten about the opponent either and we get them (Saturday).

On stars trying to do too much with Crosby out:
I don’t sense that we’ve tried to do too much in Sid’s absence. We need to make sure we’re focused on playing our game. It’s that much more important when you have a player out of the lineup that provides a point or more than a point a game and is a big part of your power play. Focusing on our game, what we do as a team and as individuals is really important. That’s why we referenced playoff-type games. It’s tighter checking in the playoffs, and less offensive room. We have to play that type of game. It’s also an opportunity for players to play in different roles and get more minutes, maybe step up to the power play or a higher line. It’s an opportunity for them to do that. We have players we feel can fill that void and step into those roles. It’s opportunities to do that.

On players who’ve stepped up with Crosby out:
We’ve seen Jordan Staal try to find his game and get his conditioning and hands back. The last game he certainly did that. I don’t think he’s where he’s going to be 20 games from now in terms of conditioning and game situations. He stepped up big time last game, a little bit on the power play. We were able to use him in the faceoff circle on the power play because he was winning draws. He stepped up his game. Our defense in general last game stepped up: Goligoski, Letang, but all five guys back there played a strong game. We need that from our team defense from those six guys. They are a big part of our offense as well. they stepped up and we need to continue to do that.

On if the team is holding Crosby back from returning too soon:
Physical activity is not something he’s involved in right now. He’s been around the rink an awful lot talking hockey and thinking about the power play, watching and doing different things to stay motivated and stay involved. It’s kind of interesting watching the player not being involved, but being more active at home watching TV, watching hockey at home and being involved that way.

On if there is any news on Crosby:
Not at this time, no. He’s progressing, getting better. He needs to be symptom free before we go forward.

Shorthanded goal: Sam Kasan

2:01 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Jordan Staal

On getting to his game:
I’m heading in the right direction over the last few games. I’m feeling better and better every game. The other night was just a result of just the way things were headed.

On if Game 2 through 10 are the toughest after coming back from injury:

I don’t know. They’ve all been pretty tough. One game it’s the legs, another game it’s the head. Every game is kind of different and it gets the whole body into it.

On early games affecting players’ routines:
Every player likes his own routine throughout the day on a normal game day. But both teams are in the same situation so it’s nothing you can really complain about. So it’s just another game.

On playing Boston again:
Obviously with the way the game ended last time, we want to have a better effort and finish the full 60 minutes instead of the lapse we had. We have to be ready for another tough game.

On if he is now keeping Sidney Crosby positive, like Crosby did when he was injured:
It’s tough to see a player out, especially a guy like Sid. But he’s just like any other player – he wants to get in there really bad. He’s been hanging around a bit. He hasn’t been on the road, so we haven’t seen him much. But he’s doing his best and the players are trying to keep him positive.

On getting their first win without Crosby on Wednesday night:

You can’t really replace Sid. It’s very difficult. But we had a full team effort. We need everyone in the lineup every night when he’s out. Hopefully we can keep that up.

Zbynek Michalek

On if the team is excited to face Boston again so soon:
Yeah, I think we owe this team. They beat us twice, twice in a comeback win when we had a chance to close it out in the third period and we didn’t. So we definitely owe them here. Hopefully we have a good game and beat them in their own building. That’s the best way to redeem ourselves.

On what’s been behind the Bruins’ ability to rally late:
They have great goaltending this year in Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask. Both of them are playing well. They are a good team, a talented team. They’re a well-coached team that plays well, and they can score a lot of goals at any time. So we’ve got to make sure we play good defensively. They don’t give up many goals either, so it’s obviously going to be a tough game against them.

On the key to Saturday’s game:
Just play good defensively and play our style of game. Just build on the last game in Montreal – I think we finally played our game from the start of the game. So we’ve just got to keep it going and hopefully keep the confidence building.

Maxime Talbot

On Boston always playing them tough:
The first two games of the season (against them) at home were not what we wanted them to be. We played some alright hockey at times, but obviously the two endings were pretty bad. That’s something we want to get back at them, and play our game in their building.

On keeping Crosby’s spirits up:
He’s obviously frustrated that he can’t play. But he’s always around, he’s kept a good spirit. He’s still our leader out here. And he’s around the guys. Sometimes when guys get hurt, they just hide themselves and just want to be alone. But Sid has been great. We all know that it’s for strength for him. It’s tough playing without him. But we got a big win last game, and we want to keep playing good hockey.

On how they keep playing good hockey without Crosby:
Do the same thing. It’s tough when the best player in the world can’t perform with your team, and he’s a leader. So it’s different, but as a team we really responded well last game. We played a solid 60 minutes, everybody’s roles get changed a little bit and we take pride in playing well. It worked out last game, so we’ve got to keep it up next game too.

Assist: Tony Jovenitti

12:40 PM:
According to Bylsma, Lovejoy missed practice due to illness. "He was ill yesterday and is still sick today."

11:37 AM:
The stands are pretty packed here at Southpointe to watch the Pens skate. Pens fans are truly the best!

11:28 AM:
Pictorial evidence of the Pens practice:

They started practice with a neutral zone scrimmage. The guys were having a blast with it.



11:15 AM:
No changes to the Pens lines. Here's what they're running:


11:05 AM:
Ben Lovejoy is not on the ice for today's skate. We'll provide an update on his status from head coach Dan Bylsma when we get one.

10:50 AM:
Good morning all! We're currently posted up at the Iceoplex at Southpointe for the Penguins' 11 am practice. They're scheduled to ship out to Boston immediately after, as Pittsburgh will get a rematch with the Bruins on Saturday at TD Garden after Monday's 4-2 loss at CONSOL Energy Center.

There'll be a lot more players in attendance today, as head coach Dan Bylsma made yesterday's skate here at Southpointe optional after the team's big win on Wednesday.
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