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Penguins Report: 1/3/12

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Injury updates (1:09 PM).
  • No Adams & Dupuis at practice (11:25 AM).
  • Pens lines (12:12 PM).
  • Make Neal an All-Star (10:30 AM).
  • Lemieux skates (1:31 PM).
  • Speaking of 66, watch him score 5 goals, 5 ways (10:15 AM).
  • Children attend practice (11:10 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma on D pairs, Rupp & more (1:58 PM).
  • Pens pics (1:14 PM).
  • “I’ll take some sweet time and burn all the bridges that I’m leaving behind…” (10:05 AM).

1:58 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On Michalek and Martin:
I think at one point in the season we talked about having three guys out there being a shutdown group and I kinda thought we had to do it with three. Now we are getting to three to be able to have good matchups, penalty killing tandem with Brooks (Orpik) and Michalek to start. We’ve had that for a couple games. But to get Paul back in there is big, especially to get Paul and ‘Z’ back together again as a shutdown pair in conjunction with 'Brooksy' to be in those matchup situations, giving our D a different look and feel for games, especially when you are going against the Rangers. There are teams with bigger lineups, better teams in the league. That matchup is something we’ll look forward to on Friday.

On Mike Rupp's performance in the Winter Classic:
Last year he tried to do it in a different manner. This year he took a different route to be a star or a factor in the game. Two goals form him. (Whether he wears) 17 or 71, it's the same thing.

On the rest of the defensemen:
I think you saw Deryk Engelland and Matt Niskanen step into those roles and play against other teams’ top guys. I think that only builds to the confidence for those guys and playing in those situations and when you play the Rangers with three strong lines. Those players have to be counted on to play in those situations against a better team. So to be able to add that to the resume, to get that work in the past 20 games from different guys gives them the confidence to be able to do that going against teams like Chicago or other good team. You may see in the third line, a player like (Marian) Hossa or other good players. That’s going to be the responsibility of the players for that third pairing. And if it happens to be Niskanen and Lovejoy they have that confidence from having gained that the last 20 games or so.

On the children's practice and luncheon:
It’s a big day for them. To see their faces and smiles, knowing that they’re having a dream day for them to come see us practice and have lunch and meet them, it’s great. It's great to see their families. It’s rewarding for us and knowing the effect we have in spending some time with them.

On Pens being role models:
Part of being a Penguin is being involved in the community, being an example when we can. Mario (Lemieux) and dealing with cancer when he was a player, and now carrying that over as an owner. Sometimes it’s a family member or individuals. There are guys that have dealt with it in their family or at least out in the community as a role model. That’s a big part of being a Penguin.

Assist: Brittany Goncar

1:31 PM:
Mario Lemieux, Jay Caufield and a few others skated at CONSOL Energy Center in the afternoon.

1:14 PM:
Pens pics...

Vitale has total concentration on the puck (left); Cooke & Malkin flex the legs (right)

Fleury gets confused on where the goal is behind him (left); The players listen to coach through bruised glass (right)

Johnson works on his accuracy shot

1:09 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma with his daily injury updates...

"Pascal Dupuis, Dustin Jeffrey and Robert Bortuzzo skated before practice. Arron Asham did not skate and is still day-to-day from the injury sustained against New Jersey. No other updates.

"(Dupuis) is day-to-day. I’m hoping he continues to progress. I would put Asham in (that category) as well."

12:12 PM:
The Pens are working on rushes and counter attacks from the D zone. The following lines are being deployed:

MacIntyre-Vitale-(Tony Granato)

11:25 AM:
The Pens are on the ice for practice. Martin & Park are on the ice practicing. Asham & Dupuis (both day-to-day) are not practicing.

Dupuis did skate in warmup gear prior to the practice for a few minutes.

11:10 AM:
The Pens are hosting children and their families from the Make A Wish Foundation, the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh and The Children’s Home for a special practice and luncheon today at CONSOL Energy Center.
The children and their families are special guests at this afternoon's practice. After practice, Pens’ players will attend a luncheon with the children and their families.

10:30 AM:
James Neal is off to the best start of his young and blossoming 4-year NHL career. He leads the Pens with 21 goals while placing second on the team in scoring with 36 points. Neal's 21 goals are the fourth-most in the NHL.

Neal is playing like an All-Star, and he could get rewarded with an appearance in the NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa. He is 1 of 6 Pens to be on the fan balloting (VOTING ENDS JAN. 4 – CLICK HERE TO SEND NEAL TO OTTAWA OR TEXT 'NEAL' TO 81812).

Michelle has more about Neal's monster season.

10:15 AM:
In today's Great Moments in Pens History, Bob Grove takes us back to New Year's Eve in 1988 when Mario Lemieux scored 5 goals in 5 different ways (even strength, power play, shorthanded, penalty shot, empty-net). It's a feat that may never ever be accomplished again.

10:05 AM:
Good morning from CONSOL Energy Center! The Pens will practice in about an hour. The team will have a day off Wednesday and then practice again on Thursday before taking on the NY Rangers Friday in Pittsburgh.


We'll continue our weeklong musical covers for the daily song. Yesterday was a full scale collaboration of "Paranoid Android" by Radiohead. Today, we'll go with an acoustic cover of Bad Religion's "Walk Away."

It's a pretty good variation from the fast-paced and heavy punk original version. Plus, she has a very good voice. Enjoy.

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