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Penguins Report: 11/16/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Crosby out Thursday; Neal & Engelland have maintenance days (12:53 PM).
  • Crosby double-goalie-brohug (11:58 AM).
  • Pens lines (11:33 AM).
  • Tangradi re-assigned (11:30 AM).
  • Jeffrey, Neal & Engelland miss practice (11:20 AM).
  • Fatherly Advice (1:23 PM).
  • Spotlight on Cooke (10:55 AM).
  • Fans fight hunger by giving not eating (11:00 AM).
  • PensTV goes “Cats in the Cradle” with Orpik, Staal & Vitale (2:30 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on his mustache, Tampa Bay & Cooke (1:09 PM).
  • Pens prospects honored (10:45 AM).
  • Pens pics (11:54 AM).
  • “Look at me I am old but I am happy…” (10:30 AM).

2:30 PM:
PensTV talks parenting with Orpik, Staal & Vitale...




1:23 PM:
Fathers heard around the locker room...

Sam Vitale

On the Dads’ Trip:
It’s absolutely amazing. You can’t even begin to describe. It has to be the best organization in the world, it has to be.

On other dads giving him advice:
A couple of the other fathers have been through it before. They said you’ll really get a feel for what the kids go through, what it’s like being an NHL player. I’m not one to miss work. I’m a workaholic, but I wouldn’t miss this for the world.

On seeing his son at work:
It’s amazing. We were talking with the dads here. It seems like yesterday we were in the locker rooms putting skates on these little guys. When you think of the percentages for a kid to make it this far, it’s just short of a miracle. It’s all about hard work ethic. You have to give these kids a lot of credit.

On how proud he is:
To this day it seems surreal. Even watching him during practice. You can’t even imagine how all these kids would make it this far. Who would ever have guessed. It’s just all a matter of work ethic, having a passion for something, a love for something, a desire and saying what one man can do, another man can do. You have to give the kids a lot of credit.

On a childhood story of Joe:
Joey, when he was born had two kidney problems. He had two surgeries. The one thing I think about all the time is after his second surgery my wife and I were in tears and the doctor said, ‘Don’t feel so bad, your son doesn’t know what he’s going through. One thing I’ve found out about kids at this age that have this kind of surgery is they grow up to be tough, strong men.’ I just keep thinking about that. The doctor was right.

Marvin Kunitz

On this year’s Dads Trip:
It’s great. It’s a heck of a lot of fun. We get to see what the boys go through on a regular basis. We meet a lot of other fathers. It’s a fantastic trip. I love to be on it.

On surprises:
The biggest thing is that ownership and management actually does it for us. I think it’s a real tribute to them and the organization. You find out that all the fathers are the same. We all did the same things. We’re still doing it after all these years. It’s a lot of fun.

On what stands out about the trips:
Just the way you eat, it’s non-stop. It’s pretty good so when you go home you have to go on a diet for a while to get back to a normal life.

Dale Martin

On this year’s Dads’ Trip:
There’s a few new faces this year. It’s a great trip. It’s fun to meet the players and dads. It’s a fun time. When Paul was with New Jersey they didn’t do that. This is our second time. It is a lot of fun. We appreciate the Penguins organization doing this. It’s a lot of fun.

On favorite memory:
Winning the two games. Just seeing the ritual the players have to go through, the flights and the meals, bus trips. Paul always says it’s not as glamorous as you think it might be. Doing it a couple days is a lot of fun, but I can see after a while that it can get old.

On advice to the new dads:
Enjoy it. Meet everybody, the players. They’re all coming from different areas. Enjoy the trip because it does go fast and you don’t get an opportunity all the time to do that.

1:09 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On Tampa Bay:
We played them a lot last year. We’re familiar with that team. We went to Game 7. They have some very dangerous forwards: Stamkos, St. Louis, Lecavailer. Their power play is very dangerous and has beaten us in the past. We expect to see that again. We’ve had success playing certain ways against Tampa Bay. We need to make sure we’re playing that way and getting to the offensive zone so that we can do work where we can be good and hopefully exploit Tampa Bay. That’ll be a factor in the game.

On if Johnson will start during the 2-game trip:
Look back to previous Fathers’ Trips for the answer to that. I won’t tell you. That would be astute on your part to think that he’ll play in one of those games. He has a better record against Florida, to go a little bit further.

On if Tampa Bay changed its style after the Philadelphia incident:
I think Tampa Bay achieved in the Philadelphia game what they hoped to achieve. Regardless of the hype and attention, they left that game accomplishing what they hope to, minimizing the offensive ability of a team scoring a lot of goals, minimizing shots on net, minimizing dangerous situations. I’m not sure that game goaded Tampa Bay out of anything. When I read in the papers they accomplished what they set out to accomplish.

On his mustache:
In Pittsburgh people are more apt to like a mustache. I don’t feel comfortable looking at myself in the mirror. (My wife) thinks a lot like I think. She’s not sure she likes what she sees either.

On the players’ mustaches:
It’s interesting the different styles, going one end with Sidney Crosby trying to get significant growth and Matt Cooke looks like a totally different person. Steve Sullivan will creep up on Lanny McDonald by the end of the month. It is interesting to see the different quality. I’m not sure where mine lies.

On Cooke’s transformation:
I hear about this transformation about him being a different player. As far as the skill set that he brings to our team, a lot hasn’t changed. He’s a very good penalty killer. He’s solid defensively. He can make plays. He was that for our team before. He’s a guy we use on the power play as a net-front (presence). I think the focus that he brings, the mindset has changed. He learned a different look at the game. That’s carried over into focusing on areas you can still be physical and get hits and where you cannot. That’s a change for Matt Cooke. That’s evident in his play. I think everyday for Matt is a test in that regard. People watch everyday to see that. His focus is on being a good player for our team, being a part of a good PK. It’s accented by his three goals in a short period of time and being among the goal leaders for about a week. He’s still making plays. He has made adjustments in his game. That focus will continue to be there. He’s a big part of our team and having success. He’s also changed his mindset. That does show up.

12:53 PM:
Pens coach Bylsma said that Sidney Crosby will not play Thursday night in Tampa Bay, and that Neal and Engelland were not on the ice for maintenance days.

11:58 AM:
Pens Crosby hugs it out with Fleury and Johnson. The double-hug bromance continues. #Bros4Life

11:54 AM:
Pens pics...

The dads watching practice. Look into those fathers' eyes

In spirit of the Dads' Trip Crosby and Fleury practice like toddlers on their knees. As you can see, Crosby was one intense youth (left); Adams takes a snack break while asst athletic trainer Scott Adams looks on #AdamsAdamsWatch (right)

Orpik hanging on for dear life as his body is sucked into the ice abyss. Don't go into the light!!! (left); Geno: "Where do you go when you die?" Orpik: "Up there" pointing to the rafters.

11:33 AM:
Pens lines from morning skate...


The 5 D-men are rotating.

11:30 AM:
Pens just announced that they've re-assigned Tangradi to WBS. So that's why he's not on the ice.

11:20 AM:
Pens are on the ice for practice. Dustin Jeffrey, Eric Tangradi, James Neal & Deryk Engelland are not on the ice. We'll get an update from coach after on their status.

11:00 AM:
Last night the Pens defeated Colorado 6-3 on the ice. But off the ice Pens fans helped defeat hunger in the Score Against Hunger Food Drive (how cheesy is that intro?)

Click here for more details. Or watch Beth Vietmeier's field report below.

10:55 AM:
It's Wednesday, so it is time to spotlight a player. This week it is the always clutch penalty shot scorer (1-for-1 in his career) Matt Cooke.

10:45 AM:
There are many Pens playing well right now, but it isn't just the guys on the big club that are having success on the ice. Three Pens' draft picks have been named Player of the Week in their respective leagues: Scott Wilson, Nick D'Agostino & Josh Archibald.

Wilson (2011 Draft, 7th round, 209th overall) of UMass Lowell was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week for the second straight week. D'Agostino (2008, 7th round, 210th overall) of Cornell was ECAC Player of the Week. Josh Archibald (2011, 6th round, 174th overall) of Nebraska-Omaha was named WCHA Rookie of the Week.
For full details click here

10:30 AM:
Good morning from CONSOL Energy Center! Today the Pens will have an 11am practice before flying for a 2-game trip to Florida against the Lightning (Thursday) and Panthers (Saturday). But the trip is a lot more significant than an average road trip because the team will be accompanied by their fathers for the sixth annual "Dads' Trip."

For those who don't know, every year since general manager Ray Shero arrived in Pittsburgh in 2006-07 the Pens players and hockey operations staff bring their fathers with them on a 2-game road trip. The Pens are 7-3 all-time in Dads' Trip games, and have won the last 4 straight contests.

There are 4 All-Star dads who have made every Dads' Trip since its inception - Henry Staal, Troy Crosby, Andre Fleury and Rick Orpik. Henry Staal is a Dads' Trip Hall of Famer because he's also been a part of trips with his other sons Eric and Marc Staal.

Here is a recap of last season's Dads' Trip.


With today marking the start of the Dads' Trip, it seems appropriate to kick off the blog with "Father and Son" by Yusef Islam (or Cat Stevens as he was once called). Enjoy.

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