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Penguins Report: 10/26/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Sullivan & Malkin maintenance days, expected ready for Thur (12:55 PM).
  • Sullivan, Malkin & Michalek absent (11:22 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma on the schedule and back-to-back games (1:18 PM).
  • Staal featured in Penguins Spotlight (9:45 AM).
  • Pens pics (12:01 PM).
  • Stings to the nostrils (10:00 AM).
  • Guest video pick (9:30 AM).

1:18 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On balancing rest and work with after tough October schedule:
I think right now you see maintenance days for some players because they need the time to rest. You’ll see some days for the whole team to rest, but that time will also allow us to have some type of practices that are different than even what we go through today. That’ll be balanced with some rest days as well. But I think our team knows we need some work and work days. But they’re not going to come right now with tall the playing we have. It’s different than some other years where you may be getting those early in the season. We’re going to have to balance getting days off, but also putting some time in there for workday practices where we’re getting pace and tempo and battle into our game in different areas. Those are areas that we need. Our team needs those. We’ll balance them a couple times next month where we’ll be able to do that.

On if the schedule has been harder than expected:
You look at it and you know you have a lot of games, you know you’re in a situation where you’re not getting the work that you would want to get in. The team won’t be in the spot conditioning-wise and speed-wise. I anticipated that, but what we didn’t anticipate is having to really manage people and their injuries and where they’re at, manage the minutes they’re at, give them the appropriate time off to recover. Those workdays we anticipated won’t come in October. They’ll come in November. Maybe even then more of a management process for those things than anticipated.

On what the team can improve on:
There are a number of areas that if we had time to work on we would paid close attention to. Right now, the main thing is that we’ve worked hard on neutral zone play with the puck and without. We need to get better in that area. We’ve worked on it meeting-wise, video-wise, play with the puck transition-wise, then tracking and sorting out line rushes against. We’re not where we need to be. We need to be better in that regard. That is something we worked on today. There are a few areas of details we can get better at, puck retrieval, offensive zone play. We will get to those in our practices eventually. But those two in particular, the neutral zone play has been an important aspect for us to try to focus on and get better at so that we can be a better defending team.

On home-and-home games:
The back-to-backs and having an opponent in close succession adds a little emotion. Typically they’re rivalry games or divisional games. So you have a built in rivalry with those teams and you get the 120 minutes of ice hockey. That does carry over. Even in that game last night, toward the end of the game with 10 minutes left, it’s 2-0 but we’re playing these guys again in less than 48 hours. You still want to leave a mark on the game and send a message with how you play. You don’t want to let them off the hook or give them anything to build on. I think it’s fun to be a part of. I think it’s great to have that carry-over in a game. You see it in the minor leagues a little bit more. In college you have that with situations where you’re playing back-to-back games. You’re seeing the same faces. There is animosity and history there. We know that. I think it would be great to see more. It would be great to see Pittsburgh-Philly back-to-back. It’d be great to see Pittsburgh-Islanders back-to-back, which we’ll get tomorrow night.

12:55 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma said that Malkin and Sullivan were off the ice for maintenance days and are expected to be back for the team Thursday against NY Islanders. There has been no status change on Crosby, Kennedy, Strait or Michalek.

Bylsma elaborated on Malkin, whom he sees having a few maintenance days in the future.

"With not a lot of rest time in between games, I could see maintenance days until we get some time to have days off and good practice time," Bylsma said. "That's how I see it going. We do have a few times in November where we do have periods of rest and four days in between games. I can see (Malkin) getting better rest then and practice days as well.

"We're more dealing with body soreness (with Malkin) from playing a game and not really having had much skating and conditioning versus anything else."

12:01 PM:
Pictures make the world go round...

MacIntyre & Engelland throw up an impenetrable wall of backs to protect Crosby (left); Neal questions the metaphysical nature of the universe (right)

Adams sprays up some ice to make a DQ Blizzard (left); Dupuis balances a puck on his stuck moments before juggling 5 apples (right)

Kind of a lazy stick check there from HC Bylsma. Can a coach bench himself? (left); Fleury looks like a periwinkle blue chrysanthemum (right)

Vitale just bee bopping around the ice (left); Brent Johnson puts the paddle to the metal (right)

11:22 AM:
The Pens are on the ice for practice. Sullivan, Malkin and Michalek are not on the ice (as well as the IR guys: Kennedy and Strait).

10:00 AM:
Random note: the cleaning crew at CONSOL Energy Center are using some fierce chemicals to get this place spotless. It's quite pungent. It's a formidable scent...stings the nostrils. I'm going to be honest, it smells like pure gasoline. #anchorman

This building will be beautiful on Thursday with these chemicals (60 percent of the time they work every time). Although I may faint before practice starts.

9:45 AM:
Again, we will be airing weekly reoccurring video programs throughout the season. On Wednesdays we will highlight one player in the UPMC Penguins Spotlight. This week's episode focuses on Jordan Staal. (All I ask is that when I say he has 5 goals in the first 10 games, pretend that I say he has 6 goals in the first 11 games. We obviously shot this yesterday morning...busted).

9:30 AM:
Good morning from CONSOL Energy Center! Today the Pens will hit the ice at 11 am for practice. The team is coming off a 3-0 victory Tuesday over the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was the key for the Pens, stopping 33 shots to record a shutout. The teams will meet again Thursday in Pittsburgh to close out a back-to-back affair.


Well, normally this is where I start the day with a song. However, today we have a special guest appearance.

Some of you may already know Tony of the former popular Penguins blog “The Confluence” at Kukla's Corner (and current contributor to ThePensBlog). Tony and I share a deep passion and appreciation of both Penguins hockey and music. Except he and I have very different tastes in music.

Last year, Tony was kind enough to interview me for a piece that ran on The Confluence. My confession of disliking the band Van Halen nearly ended our friendship ha! (I'm still not a fan, but don't tell Tony shhhhhh). To make amends I offered to let him pick a week’s worth of music that showed some “love for the oldtimers.” Well, he accepted, but then opted out of the week in exchange for a one-day manifesto.

As a man of my word, I agreed. So without further ado, here is Tony. Take it away bud...

"What’s up Pens fans, Tony here, formerly of The Confluence, now of the Pensblog gang of misfits.  After reading my buddy Sam’s descriptions of all those quote/unquote “bands,” I asked him to allow me to give yinz a write-up of how the big boys do it.  Sam graciously accepted, so here goes.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, The Mighty Van Halen.

How do I describe Van Halen?  Well, first of all, let’s be very specific who I’m referring to.  I’m talking about “classic” Van Halen, the original lineup led by David Lee Roth.  I am definitely NOT talking about the watered-down, ballad-infested version with Sammy Hagar.

Perhaps the greatest compliments that a band can get are those that are made by their peers.  Well, those are not difficult to find when describing just how great Van Halen was in those days.  Henry Rollins described a Van Halen show as “a ‘10’.  It was a stellar production.”  Def Leppard bassist Rick Savage said, “To me, Van Halen is the most influential American rock band ever.”  Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee reflected, “I remember standing on my chair at the Long Beach Arena seeing Van Halen just ripping it!  They were the coolest thing I had ever seen!”  I could give you dozens more.

You see, when Van Halen came to town back then, you knew it wasn’t just going to be a great concert; it was going to be the event of the year.  I first saw Van Halen at the San Diego Sports Arena on May 20th, 1984, and to this day, after attending probably 50 concerts of every major rock band in the world, there is no band that has come close since.  From the time Van Halen started headlining tours with their Van Halen II tour in 1979, they sold out not only every show, but every tour until Roth’s departure from the band in 1985.

They had a rare combination of musicianship and showmanship that most bands simply couldn’t match.  A lot of bands had good musicians back then, and others put on a good show, but there weren’t many that were outstanding at both of them.  Roth was the consummate frontman; he’s never been the greatest singer, but it’s never mattered.  His unique mixture of whipping the crowd into a nightly frenzy and black-belt athleticism, such as regularly doing flying splits off the drum riser, was rare.  Even today, he’s strutting around stage as a 56-year-old with six-pack abs.  He was the perfect complement to the guy with the wildly striped guitar.

Edward Van Halen revolutionized the guitar, there’s no better way to put it.  Guitarist Lita Ford recently called Edward “the Les Paul of today’s world.”  His conquering of the hammer-on/pull-off or “tapping” technique has since been imitated from thousands of guitarists, but never quite duplicated.  Renowned guitarist Steve Vai said of Edward “it is only the most elite of elite musicians whose unconventional approach becomes convention.”  Perhaps it was his unorthodox learning method of the instrument; you see Van Halen never learned to read music, even to this day.  His revolutionary virtuoso solo “Eruption” on Van Halen’s first album in 1978 is still to this day perhaps the greatest guitar solo of all time.  Of course, after hearing it hundreds of time in the 33 years since the album came out, it may not have the same punch as it used to.  But back then, NO ONE had ever heard anything like what was emanating from Eddie’s guitar on that album.  Not from Jimi Hendrix, not from Jimmy Page, and not from Van Halen’s idol, Eric Clapton.

It started right away, as soon as they released “Van Halen” in January 1978, arguably the greatest debut album in rock history.  They toured that year with legendary rock group Black Sabbath, and more than held their own.  In fact, Ozzy Osbourne has stated several times over the years that the Van Halen youngsters “blew us off the stage every night” on that tour.

Take a bit of my advice, and download the first six Van Halen albums on your iPod, you will not be disappointed.  Or if you’d just like to hear a snippet, download their first album “Van Halen.” Also, since Roth and the Van Halen boys have reunited and went on a sellout tour in 2007-2008, they’ve now completed their first studio album together since 1984, and will start a new tour in the next several months.  Do yourself a favor, if you want to see a great rock show, go see Van Halen.

Over the years at the Civic/Mellon Arena and now at the CONSOL Energy Center, you regularly hear the studio version of one of Van Halen’s best songs, “Unchained” from their 1981 “Fair Warning” album.  The studio version is outstanding in its own right, but seeing it performed live was incredible.  On a few tours since its inception, “Unchained” has opened the show to a thunderous reception from the sellout crowd.  Here’s a live version of “Unchained” from Oakland in 1981.  And please, don’t just take my word for it, open Youtube, watch the video and read the YouTube comments."

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