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Penguins Report: 12/12/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Crosby comments (12:43 PM).
  • Injury updates on Park, Strait, Michalek, Staal (12:53 PM).
  • Crosby not practicing (11:05 AM).
  • Pens practitioners - some good injury news (11:16 AM).
  • PensTV takes you "In the Room" (9:40 AM).
  • Mike Lange talks Jagr (10:00 AM).
  • Michalek & Strait spit comeback knowledge (2:02 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on concussions, Crosby & more (5:45 PM).
  • Pens Pond (11:00 AM).
  • Plays of the Week (9:50 AM).
  • Pens pics (11:50 AM).
  • “Is this real life…” (9:30 AM).

5:45 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On Crosby’s situation:
It’s frustrating for Sid. He knows his body better than anybody else. He’s not feeling 100 percent. He’ll return to practice and playing when he is feeling 100 percent. That’s where you go.

On being leery of the speed, equipment or anything league related causing concussions:
I don’t really look at the game that way and analyze it from that standpoint. You don’t like having injuries. You don’t like having several players that had and currently having symptoms. I have not looked at it like that. It’s a fast game. It’s physical. It seems to hit home right now with us and our situation. I don’t analyze it from a situation that needs to change or is wrong.

On what the team has learned from treating concussions:
I think that’s the difficulty in dealing with the injury. There aren’t a lot of general comparisons dealing with individual players. Last year we had other players dealing with a concussion. They all seemed to follow different symptoms, patterns, recoveries and lengths of time. It’s tough to say we’ll treat this instance different when it comes to the players. 100-percent health and getting rid of those symptoms is paramount. If anything we’ll continue with that as a way we treat the protocol for a player’s health and coming back to play.

On the Crosby-Krejci elbow:
The situation was right in front of the bench. I did not see the elbow. Right after there was jostling between the two. Krejci gave him a shove away. I didn’t see that hit or situation until after the game. He had some other hits in the game as well. It wasn’t until after the game that we found out he wasn’t feeling 100 percent. We weren’t looking at one particular spot. It was more the course of the game.

2:02 PM:
Sounds from around the locker room...

Zbynek Michalek

On how he’s feeling:
I think it was a good day, a good practice. I felt good out there. It’s been a while to skate with the guys. I’m just happy to feel better and glad to have that practice under my belt. It’s moving in the right direction, I would say. Today was a really big step going back to practice after a while. It was a good day. I felt good on the ice and hopefully the rest of the day and (Tuesday) goes well too, and I can get back in the lineup soon.

On being symptom-free:
It’s going in the right direction, that’s why I skated with the team. Talking with the doctors and the training staff, I felt better and I felt like I was improving. That’s why I was allowed to practice, so I’m real happy about that and hopefully it keeps progressing.

On his timeline for return:
Just day-by-day, see how I feel today and the rest of the day. If I have no symptoms, we can push it even harder. We’ll see how I feel day by day.

On dealing with a concussion:
It’s really frustrating. I’ve never had any problems with my head before. It was my first experience. It’s really frustrating to go through it. You see so many head injuries in the league and now I understand. It’s not easy to go through. I hope I get better and get back in the lineup. It’s part of the game, I guess.

On seeing Crosby dealing with this same type of injury:
Now I understand. Before, like I said, I had never had a concussion before so I didn’t know what somebody goes through. Now that I’ve had it, I understand that it’s frustrating and not an easy injury to go through. For him to have it for so long, it must have been so hard on him. It’s not easy, so hopefully he’s better and even now, he gets better and so does everybody else.

On when he’ll be back in the lineup:
I honestly don’t know the answer. We go day-by-day for now and it was the first practice for me after a long time. I felt good and hopefully we move forward from here. Hopefully get a few practices this week.

Brian Strait

On how his elbow has been:
It feels real great. It’s been a long time since I’ve practiced with the guys, two months or so now, so it feels great to be back out there. It’s coming along. Hopefully I’ll be playing sooner rather than later.

On what the recovery period was like:
It’s tough. It’s the first injury that I’ve had that’s taken a while. It was a learning experience for me and it will continue. Obviously now I’ve got to get back to playing after it. It’s been good though. It’s something that everyone has to deal with. Injuries happen in hockey. I’m just ready. I’m excited to be practicing and hopefully playing games sooner rather than later.

On what has to be done before playing again:
I’m not sure. We haven’t discussed it. Right now, it just about getting healthy and getting as close to 100 percent as I can to go out there and do my job. I don’t know what the next steps are going to be, but I’m excited either way just to get back to playing hockey.

On the next steps:
I’ve been skating for about three weeks now, I’m not sure what it’s been, but now it’s just about getting my timing back, battling a little in practice, making sure everything goes well. It’s been a long time now and it’s just great to play hockey again. I’ve got to get cleared still. I’m going to see a doctor I think Tuesday. We’ll go from there.

On if he feels like he is ready:
I feel like I’m close, but it’s one of those things where ever couple of days you’re going to have to re-evaluate and see where it’s at. Like I said, I’m just excited to be back. I’m back practicing at least and that’s good. That means I’ll be back sooner rather than later.

12:53 PM:
Pens coach Bylsma updated a few injuries from today...
  • Park has a fracture in his foot & is out 4-6 weeks
  • Strait practiced, but no timetable on his return
  • Michalek cleared practice for first time
  • Staal has lower-body injury & is day-to-day

12:43 PM:
Here are some quick comments from Crosby after he missed practice...

"Not (feeling) bad. I'm not happy about watching. But I have to make sure with these sort of things that I'm careful and making sure I'm 100 percent before coming back. No timetable.

"I did my ImPACT test and it went pretty good. That was a good sign. It's much different than previously going through that stuff. That was encouraging. I skated following day after with exertion. I just didn't feel right. After talking with everyone I figured it was better to be cautious and not take any chances. That's where I'm at right now.

"The ImPACT isn't everything. You have to listen to your body on these things too. That was encouraging. My ImPACT was much, much worse after I did it in January. This is something I have to be careful with.

"Yes (I've had symptoms the last couple days). If I didn't I would be practicing.

"I've been doing light exertion stuff and seeing how that goes. It's that whole (recovery) routine again, but hopefully not as long. When I wasn't doing something for 6, 7 months that process was a little longer. Hopefully, that's not the case here."

11:50 AM:
Pens pics...

Orpik (left); Malkin (right)


Dupuis, Fleury, Kunitz (left); Michalek, MacIntyre, Strait (right)

Picture captions fin.

11:16 AM:
The Pens are on the ice for practice. Forwards Jordan Staal & Richard Park & defenseman Robert Bortuzzo & Kris Letang are not on the ice (as well as Crosby). On a positive note: defensemen Zbynek Michalek & Brian Strait are practicing.

11:05 AM:
FYI - as I just tweeted from my handle (@PensInsideScoop), Sidney Crosby will not be practicing today. He will address the media shortly.

11:00 AM:
Not sure if you heard, but the Pens built an outdoor rink in the South Side that you and your family (if you live in the area that is) can skate on. Here is a TV spot on the rink. Mike Lange provides the narrative.

10:00 AM:
Last Thursday Pittsburgh played Philadelphia and faced former Pen Jaromir Jagr for the first time since he returned to the NHL this summer. Hall of Fame broadcaster talked to PensTV about his thoughts on Jagr's career in Pittsburgh (1990-01).

Some great personal stuff from Lange about his relationship with Jagr (you'll have to watch for the interesting details):

9:50 AM:
Before we turn the page on the upcoming week, let's take a final look at the Plays of the Week from last week.

9:40 AM:
The Pens have introduced a new video series called "In the Room." Since HBO's 24/7 series was such a huge hit with Pens fans, PensTV has put together its own version with exclusive behind-the-scenes sights, sounds and action documenting the 2011-12 season. 

"In the Room" offers a peek behind the curtain at training camp, practice sessions, life on the road, community events and personal experiences of Pens players. Should be a fun ride.

Below is Episode 1: Part 2. Click here for Episode 1: Part 1.

9:30 AM:
Good morning from CONSOL Energy Center! Today the Pens will hit the ice at roughly 11am for practice. They'll be preparing for a Stanley Cup re-rematch with Detroit as the Red Wings venture to Pittsburgh for a Tuesday night showdown. A fierce rivalry developed between these two squads following Cup series in 2008 and '09.


Since Detroit will be in town we'll open the day with "Motown Never Sounded So Good" by Less Than Jake. Although the song doesn't seem to have any lyrical attatchment to the city or the title, it's still a fun and catchy tune by the ska/pop punk band. Enjoy. 

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