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Penguins Report: 1/9/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Malkin, Orpik and Conner miss practice with an illness. Status unknown for Monday vs. Boston (12:14 PM).
  • Cooke-Staal-Kennedy line may reunite (12:54 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Staal, life without Crosby and the Minnesota loss (12:55 PM).
  • Fleury, Martin and Goligoski dispense knowledge (12:38 PM).
  • Pens pics (11:32 AM).
  • “Light on my sight as my ego becomes a funky child with some words on my tongue…” (10:46 AM).

12:55 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On Jordan Staal’s comeback from injury:
I think the first game is probably the easiest one to play, you get back in and you have a lot of adrenaline. Probably games here through seven are dealing with a little bit of timing and frustration. His brain is going at 100 percent but his faceoffs and his hands and around the net aren’t quite where he would want them to be. But positioning-wise, he has been great on the penalty kills and been smart on the penalty kill. His brain has been there and we are seeing him do well on those areas of the game, but it’s going to take a few games probably still to get that conditioning back. He’d like the results, but he’s not quite where he is going to be 10 games from now.

On the line combinations at Sunday’s practice:
The lines were not in any shape or order. The one line that you could possibly see again, Cooke-Staal-Kennedy.

On preparing for Boston:
A couple of the drills were specifically tailored for what we’ll see tomorrow in the neutral zone from Boston, so a little bit of preparation today. Get that into our game, get that into our minds, get ready for what we’ll see tomorrow.

On how the team changes without Crosby:
We don’t try to change a lot. The lines are somewhat reconfigured. We have kept Jordan with Malkin to this point anticipating that will be the case when Crosby returns to the team. The power play is a little bit of an adjustment. We haven’t looked as sharp there. Guys are in different spots. It looks like we’re disjointed there. That needs to be addressed and worked out. Maybe some of it is a little bit more of a simple approach and execution from our team when we get out there.

On if the team needs to play more blue collar without Crosby:
You’re talking about getting offense a certain way and playing a certain way. I don’t think it’s a big change for our team. We play that way with Sid in the lineup too. The importance of playing that way should be a little higher. It should be a playoff importance, we have to grind it out and force teams to break by the way we play and getting there. In the Montreal game we did in two of the periods, (but then) got away from it a little bit. Last night (against Minnesota), we didn’t have that ability execution-wise and mentality-wise to have that grind-out type of game against a team that was playing pretty well.

On any concerns from the 4-0 loss to Minnesota:
Coaches never wash their hands of a game, or at least this coach doesn’t wash his hands of a game and say that was not us or a figment of our imagination. We addressed it. It wasn’t good. It wasn’t good for a number of reasons. I’d like to say that out of 82, that was one of those games that happened, but we have to bring a little different mentality, execution level and focus to our game. We’ll start with Boston Monday.

Assist: Prince Wright

12:54 PM:
With three players out of the lineup, the Pens shuffled different players in their line combinations. But Bylsma hinted that one particular line - which was a staple over the past two seasons - could make a return against Boston Monday.

"The lines were not in any shape or order," Bylsma said. "The one line that you could possibly see again, Cooke-Staal-Kennedy."

12:38 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Marc-Andre Fleury

On going head-to-head with Tim Thomas:
I don’t have to score on him. He doesn’t shoot on me either. I have to worry about their players, their offensive guys and let the other players worry about him.

On Thomas’ style:
It’s nice to see guys doing something different. He’s pretty spectacular doing it. It’s fun to watch.

On Thomas’ comeback
It’s good to see other guys go through stuff like that and come out on top. This year he’s playing very good hockey. It shows that if you keep working hard at what you do, you can be successful.

Paul Martin

On how the team will bounce back from Saturday’s loss:
You hate to lose one like that. Anytime you lose the two points, it’s tough. But you do have to take the positives from it if you can find some, and sometimes it takes a wake-up call like that to get back on track. So hopefully that’s the case.

On the Penguins’ 7-4 loss to the Bruins in November being a turning point for the team:
I think right now, we just want to concentrate on playing the way we were that was making us successful. I think the way that’s the last streak started. We just said ‘Hey, if we’re going to win, we need to play this way.’ We started to play that way and that’s kind of how the streak started. Hopefully, we can use that as incentive to go back to the way that we were playing.

Alex Goligoski

On how the team will bounce back from Saturday’s loss:
Just forget about it. It was pretty terrible all around. Our heads weren’t into it, and we didn’t get into it from the beginning. It was just a bad game. It’s over and done with. We don’t want to do that again. We’re just looking forward to getting back out and playing a game again.

On the team’s mindset entering Monday’s game:
Same as always. Guys want to play again. Everyone was (angry) after last game. Everyone’s anxious to get out and get another shot.

On playing Boston:
Every time we play Boston, we always have good games with them. It seems it’s always down to the wire. They’re going to be real focused. They kind of got beat up by Minnesota like we did, so it’ll be a good game.

Assist: Michelle Crechiolo

12:14 PM:
According to coach Bylsma, the three absent players - Malkin, Orpik, Conner - were out due to an illness. Bylsma wasn't sure if they'll be available for the game.

"They're sick right now," Bylsma said. "We'll see (Monday). They're sick right now. We'll see where they're at (Monday).

"Chris Conner came in this morning and we immediately sent him home. I don't know when he started getting sick. We got a text about Brooks last night after the game. I don't know if it started yesterday, but three guys went down today."

11:32 AM:
Pens practice emulsions

Head coach Dan Bylsma giving instructions

Kris Letang and Paul Martin

Alex Goligoski (left); Mark Letestu (right)

Marc-Andre Fleury (left); Ben Lovejoy and Letestu (right)

11:08 AM:
The Pens practice is underway. Forwards Chris Conner and Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Brooks Orpik are not on the ice for practice. We'll try to get any updates on their status from head coach Dan Bylsma.

10:46 AM:
I'm at CONSOL Energy Center and gearing up for the 11 a.m. practice. The players should be hitting the ice soon. Goalie Brent Johnson is ridin' solo right now. But he's entertaining himself by banking pucks off the boards from the goal line and trying to score on the net in the opposite end. 

Time for a little Sunday morning music blitz. The Omaha, Nebraskan band 311 was around for a few years before hitting commercial success. Their big break came with the realease of "Down" in 1995. They have other songs that are much more well known - "Amber," "Love Song" - but "Down" will always be the song I remember most by them. Plus, the video has a sumo wrestler and a floating head. That's just good marketing.

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