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Penguins Report: 1/19/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Malkin has undisclosed injury, won’t play Thur at New Jersey (12:49 PM).
  • Pens recall Jeffrey (5:15 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Letestu’s role, practice shootouts and the PP (1:16 PM).
  • Rupp pays the price for losing the practice shootout (12:17 PM).
  • PensTV gets to know Letang, Orpik, Letestu and Fleury a little better (4:24 PM).
  • Quick speak with Staal and Rupp (1:02 PM).
  • Goaltenders are so entertaining sometimes (11:07 AM).
  • Civic Arena memorabilia auction is underway (3:44 PM).
  • Great video that looks at hockey in a whole new way (11:10 AM).
  • Pens pics (11:18 AM).
  • “How could I be the only one who sees your rehearsed insanity…” (10:42 AM).

5:15 PM:
With the injury to Malkin, the Pens have recalled Dustin Jeffrey for his 15th (estimated) stint in Pittsburgh this season.

4:24 PM:
PensTV was busy today, chatting up Letang, Orpik, Letestu and Fleury...





3:44 PM:
The Civic Arena memorabilia auction is underway! Click here for more details. Some of the items include the actual locker used by Mario Lemieux for his street clothes, team benches, box office windows and arena signage. It's some pretty awesome stuff.




1:16 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On having Malkin out:
We’ve had games with just Sid, and we’ve had games with just Geno. And now we’re going to go with just Jordan.

On how that changes the lines:
Well we’re going to be recalling a player to fill the void. It’s going to be power-play minutes and a center position. It’s going to be a bit of a challenge. Mark Letestu is going to have to play a bigger role. Chris Conner and lots of  guys are going to have to play more minutes to fill the void of the 20 minutes and the position that Geno plays for us on the ice.

On Letestu’s bigger role:
Thank goodness we got him locked up for a few years, because he’s going to break out tomorrow and be worth a lot more.

On the shootouts in practice:
We were joking that he was getting the turkey – three times in a row he lost the shootout. It’s not his forte. But again, it’s more than just having some fun. It is having fun, but we try to put some pressure on the shootout when some of the losers get to do certain things – today it was picking up the sticks and gloves. But it’s for our goalies and our shootout guys to work on their moves and see who’s good at it. It also adds a little spice. There were 19 guys having a good time at the end and one or two guys not having a good time at the end. And (Mike Rupp) might have been one of the one or two.

On the shootout helping Conner’s penalty shot Tuesday night:
It pays off in more than one way. Conner has not done a shootout for us yet, but he does get that penalty shot. The guys knew that’s his go-to move. That’s somewhat developed with repetition in practice, and it’s good to see Chris Conner cash in after (the Penguins were) 0-11 in too many years. You figured it would be Conner and not Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.

On the power play against New Jersey:
The second unit is going to be the different looking one. Mark Letestu in Geno’s spot is something that he’s done on the second unit and done a little bit on the top unit. Chris Kunitz will be in front of the net, and Jordan Staal will probably be on the top unit, much like he was in Montreal. So that will look similar, but it’s the next unit that will look quite a bit different with some new faces. Mike Rupp was already there in front of the net last night, and we’re going to have to play someone else there who’s unaccustomed to play in those positions.

On New Jersey:
I think all along we’ve wondered, “Why is New Jersey at the bottom?” It’s not characteristic, and it’s not necessarily the players and personnel that they have. But getting a fresh start with a new coach sometimes can send you on a good run. But the foundation of their game is good defense and good goaltending. And we know from experience that when they’re playing that it can lead into turnovers and offense the other way. When they’re playing well defensively and clogging up the middle of the ice to create turnovers, that’s their opportunity to go on offense and they’ve been doing that well as of late. The guys that are starting to get goals for them are getting them not necessarily because of their skills, but because of that type of defense turning into offense in front of the net. They’re starting to get a good feel of some of their lines and their players. I think it’s more a result of being solid structurally and defensively and taking that and getting it to go the other way.

On if he’s worried Malkin’s injury will linger:
I don’t have a feeling either way.

Shorthanded goal: Tony Jovenitti

1:02 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Jordan Staal

On how nice it is to be collecting points:
It’s good. It’s just nice to be back and contribute. I’ve just been fortunate enough to get some numbers up for the team and win some games.

On how he felt after Tuesday’s game, logging 22:40 minutes and matching up with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen:
I think our line did a pretty good job against that line. They still created too many chances, but we still thought we held them back enough. I did play a lot of minutes, but obviously I like getting out there as much as I can and I’m feeling pretty good about the way my game is headed.

On if he feels 100 percent yet:
I don’t know. I don’t feel that great every game, but I feel like I’m there in every play and I’m ready for every shift. So if anything, I’m pretty darn close.

On the keys to Thursday’s game against New Jersey:
(Martin) Brodeur’s obviously a great goaltender, we’ve got to watch out for him. They have a lot of sharp shooters with (Ilya) Kovalchuk and a few of their other players. They had a rough start, but they’re starting to make a push and they’re starting to play better. They always give us a great show every time when we play them, so we’ve got to give it our best shot.

Mike Rupp

On going back to New Jersey:
There’s excitement (going back). You always want to have a good game against them and beat them since they’re a division rival. They may be struggling a bit now, but they’re still a team that can give you troubles. I’m excited to go in there and play every time we go.

On playing against your former team:
The first few times it's awkward a little bit. But over time, you get used to it, and it just becomes a normal hockey game. It means a lot to me beating them, so hopefully we come out with a win tomorrow.

Give-and-go: Michelle Crechiolo, Tony Jovenitti

12:49 PM:
Pens head coach Dan Bylsma said that Evgeni Malkin has an undisclosed injury and will not be in the lineup Thursday at New Jersey.

"Geno has an undisclosed injury," Bylsma said. "He will not be going on the trip with us for (Thursday's) game. He's getting evaluated today.

"He's not feeling well and getting evaluated."

12:17 PM:
Pens forward Mike Rupp was on the losing end of the post-practice shootout Wednesday afternoon, and as a result, had to collect all his teammates' sticks and gloves and return them to the proper place in the locker room.

Of course, once the shootout was over the Pens players threw their gloves and sticks into the air and on the ice in celebration. Poor Rupp had to skate around and collect all the belongings.

11:18 AM:
Pics that love saucer-pass drills...

Kennedy (left); Godard (right) continues to work on his own before practice

Coach Bylsma (lef); Dupuis (right)

Michalek (left); Adams (right)

Fleury and Johnson (left); Assistant coach Todd Reirden and Conner (right)

11:10 AM:
An interesting video piece here from the New York Times - "All the news that's fit to print," and a different way to see the game.

11:07 AM:
The Pens are on the ice for their 11 a.m. practice at CONSOL Energy Center. Evgeni Malkin is not at practice. We'll see if we can get an update from coach Bylsma on his absence.

The team opened practice with some short-range passing drills. The players had to turn the puck from backhand to forehand before the pass. The players then stood three feet apart with a stick between them and worked on saucer passes. Now they're handling the puck while circling those sticks on the ice. It's all about the fundamentals.

The best part of the drills is watching goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Brent Johnson try to make saucer passes to each other and circle the stick on the ice. Magically awkward.

10:42 AM:
Today we're going to start with arguably the best band over the past 15 years, the Foo Fighters. The band was formed out of the rubble of Nirvana when drummer Dave Grohl and guitarist Pat Smear helped mold the group.

No one really knew what to expect from Grohl, who was stepping out of the shadows of the kit to assume the role of guitarist and lead vocalist. But Grohl and Foo Fighters' music did not remain static, evolving their sound over the years. The group moved past the 90s grunge sound and found their own niche, as demonstrated by their staying power.

The Foo Fighters' first album was self-titled and released in 1995. With the exception of one guitar track, Grohl wrote and recorded every single song on the recording. The song that got me hooked on them was "I'll Stick Around."

BONUS VIDEO: Here's a little something for Pens goalie Brent Johnson, as Grohl does a cover, a liberal cover, of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven."

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