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Penguins Report: 10/12/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Optional skate with 14 in attendance (12:20 PM).
  • Pens home opener video (12:16 PM).
  • A look at Tuesday’s fan opener (12:44 PM).
  • Pens-Caps patching things up (12:55 PM).
  • Bylsma on faceoffs, role players and minutes (1:54 PM).
  • Kennedy & Lovejoy give us verbal architecture (2:09).
  • Pics in blue (2:22 PM).
  • “You can’t catch me fallin’, fallin’, fallin’…” (11:25 AM).

2:22 PM:
Pictures that keep on keepin' on...

Neal and MacIntyre warm up with some yoga (left); Johnson with some shiny new toys (right)

Crosby & Tom Fitzgerad cross swords (left); Lovejoy with a 2-foot put (right)

Fitzgerald is from Boston. How do you like them apples? (left); Speaking of Boston, Harvard grad Adams listens to a lecture from coach Bylsma on the evolution of the market economy in the southern colonies (right)

Neal passes the buck (left); Crosby in helmet blanco - that's Spanish for white helmet (right)

2:09 PM:
Sounds heard around the optional locker room...

Tyler Kennedy

On the team’s 3-0-1 start:
It’s great. I think everyone is clicking right now. It’s good to see. Everyone is scoring and everyone is helping out, so it’s good.

On his line’s play:
We’ve played together a little bit last year. I just try to shoot the puck. It’s got to go a couple inches to the left. It’ll work. I just have to keep shooting.

On working on his shot at practice:
I think you can get better and better. Sometimes it’s hard on my hands and calluses. Your hands get tough so that’s good.

On the Lokomotiv patch:
Malkin is great for doing stuff like that. Everyone in here is very supportive. It’s good to see.

Ben Lovejoy

On the Capitals:
We know a lot about their team, their individuals. We haven’t seen them play this year. I’m sure we’ll find out about that tomorrow morning.

On picking up their play against the Caps:
They’re a team that relies on their speed. We’re a team that loves to play with speed. Both systems are set up to play with speed. It should be a fast game.

On if the Caps games are fun:
So fun, these are the games you look forward to. You look forward to playing the Flyers, Rangers, Capitals. They’re our rivals. We have a history with them, especially recently. Everybody brings their A game. Everyone will be buzzing around.

On the KHL patch:
It’s a sad, scary thing that happened this summer. It just shows you the amount of commradrie in the hockey community. Many of us don’t know any of the players that were on the plane and many of us do. Either way you feel for the families, friends and teammates and former teammates. I think it’s an important thing for us to do.

1:54 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On the optional skate:
We’ve played a ton of hockey. We have battled through it. We have a little bit of fatigue and a bug, a couple guys are worn down. We told some guys to stay off and had an optional day. We don’t have an update for tomorrow’s game.

On role players:
I think last night’s game was a great game for them to shine and have their work come through, whether it’s penalty kill or having an effect in the offensive zone. In this case we got a little bit of everything and some goals form those guys. It’s a tough game. The road trip, getting back at 6:30 a.m. and having the day off, it wasn’t the prettiest game, but there was a lot of battle in our game. Guys who needed to chipped in. We got big contributions from our penalty killers. Joe Vitale’s speed was a factor in the game. He made a great play. Richard Park got more minutes in this game. Not only did he contribute with a goal, but some great penalty killing work. It’s a big factor in the game. You need that from your team. We get a big goal in the end from James Neal. James Neal goes to the net and gets us a cushion when we needed a cushion and put that game away. It was a good hard fought win. We had some role player step up in the situation.

On faceoff success:
I think the time of the faceoff is more important than anything. Last year we were 39 percent on PK faceoffs. That’s a tough sled. Our power play was not much better, 41 percent. We were almost 50 percent as a team, but in those situations we weren’t very good. Malkin has been very good on the faceoff on the power play. We scored a couple goals as a result. When he wasn’t there in Edmonton our faceoff percentage went way down on the power play and as a result we didn’t have a lot of success in the 4-on-3 and 5-on-4 late in the game. Last night we win more faceoffs and didn’t get the result, but had quite a bit of success on the power play. It was a factor in the first period. We won a couple of those to start off with. Those have been key. Park last night won 62 percent of his faceoffs, a lot of those were PK and allowed us to start with the puck and get clears. Timing has been the biggest thing for our team this year. Winning those special teams, those big defensive zone draws, starting with the puck and dictating from there.

On right-handed faceoffs:
Joe and Richard are better faceoff guys historically. You don’t always just take them on their strong side. In the game we monitor that. We’re trying to put out the guy who is the hottest hand at that particular time if it works for the situation. At the beginning of the game last night I think we lost one out of the first 10 or 11 draws. I asked Tony on the bench and he said “We only have one loss. It doesn’t matter. Put anyone out there. We’re winning them.” That’s been a factor. It helps in those key situations.

On splitting ice time with Orpik out:
You have to be acutely aware of the situation with the minutes that your distributing and the situations that your team is in. When you’re up two goals or up 4-1, you have to dictate the minutes in a different way. Last night, getting the goal from James Neal allows you to distribute the minutes a little more carefully given the fact that we’re playing a lot of hockey. These guys can’t play 30 minutes a night especially at this point in the season. We’re not in top shape as a team and as a group yet. And now we’re playing a lot of games. Which is why today this early in the season you see a situation like you would in the playoffs where you have to give guys time off the ice. Situation, game score, opponent dictate that, you hope to try to give guys small amounts of minutes and responsibilities if the game dictates it.

12:55 PM:
A reminder to fans:

Two of the NHL’s biggest rivals will team up for a great cause when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals face off Thursday at 7 p.m. at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins and Capitals will work together to raise money for the families of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the KHL team that perished in a plane crash Sept. 7 in Russia. Pens and Caps players will wear jerseys with commemorative Lokomotiv patches at Thursday’s game, then autograph the game-worn and game-issued jerseys afterward and auction them off at All proceeds will benefit the Lokomotiv players’ children and families.

The auction will begin at puck drop on Thursday and run through Oct. 27 at

Wives and girlfriends of Penguins players also will be selling remembrance bracelets before and during Thursday’s game to benefit the Lokomotiv families. The Capitals organization sold the bracelets at their home opener on Oct. 8.

(Full details here).

12:44 PM:
Speaking of opening night, PensTV newcomer, the beautiful Beth Vietmeier, chatted with some excited fans before the game. Check out the 30-year-old men wearing face paint like Sting at the 35-second mark. I thought it was a bad attempt at the Insane Clown Posse, or the escalator interview at 1:16.

12:20 PM:
The Pens have started their optional morning skate. 14 guys took the option. They are (in no particular order) forwards Steve MacIntyre, Dustin Jeffrey, Sidney Crosby, Arron Asham, James Neal, Mark Letestu, Joe Vitale, Craig Adams, Richard Park and Tyler Kennedy; defensemen Deryk Engelland, Ben Lovejoy and Matt Niskanen; and goalie Brent Johnson.

12:16 PM:
Here is a look at Tuesday night's game opening video (which was cut by the masterful Steve Finerty). I know he logged a lot of hours on the project and it really shows, an awesome piece. Enjoy.

12:05 PM:
The Pens are making their way onto the ice for an optional practice. They are rocking their dark blue uniforms.

11:25 AM:
Happy Wednesday! We’re stationed in our usual practice spot at CONSOL Energy Center, where the Pens have a noon practice.

Pittsburgh improved to 2-0-1 Tuesday night with a 4-2 victory over Florida in the home opener. The PK unit was perfect again, going 5-for-5, and Richard Park chipped in a shorthanded goal – something he’s done before.


We’ll open the day with a song by the French band Phoenix. The Versailles natives have been around for about a decade, but over the past two years really starting to take off in America. They’re kind of an upbeat, melodic indie group that will get your head bobbing and foot tapping. Today we’ll feature “Run Run Run.”  


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