The equipment truck is loaded after practice (left); Players wait for the bus to take them to the hotel (right)
Below Sidney Crosby
, as did all the players and coaches, to sign autographs for fans
Pens optional pics (you can choose to view or not)...
Meloche chats with Johnson (left); Bortuzzo sucks on some H2O (right)
Malkin and Orpik watch practice safely protected by glass. Best part was Geno chirping all the guys on the ice (left); Coach Bylsma directed the drills (right)
Johnson & MacIntyre up look for the scoreboard. Silly guys, it's behind you (left); Park's perfect plush pass - say that 6 times fast (right)
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...On Letang and Michalek:
They’ll be visiting the doctors. We’ll maybe have a little more information (Saturday) about those after the business with the doctor.On if there is news yet about either one having a concussion:
No.On the NHL not reviewing the John Carlson hit on Matt Cooke:
I know they look at them. I know they looked at this one. I don’t think they deemed it as worth going further into. I know they looked at it.On if Cooke is okay:
Cooke is fine. On if his reputation played into the decision:
In no way, shape or form do I think his reputation plays into the decision at all. I think he’s on the receiving end of this. I don’t think there’s any kind of spite factor or anything. Not at all.On if there’s still a gray area with head hits that needs to be eliminated:
I think it’s extremely hard to determine what those are in the course of a game. I think you see that throughout the game, whether it’s on a forecheck, whether it’s in the offensive zone or you’re playing defense against a guy and there’s jostling and reverse hits. I think there is a difference when there’s a hit and elbows come out where the head is targeted. I think there is not so much of a gray area when we see that happen on the ice.On the composure of his two rookie defensemen:
They’re playing in a tough spot. It’s a tough building; it’s a big game. I think there’s a little bit of an intimidation and an awe factor when you look over and you see great players on the other side with highlight skill. I mean, those guys see (Alex) Ovechkin play a lot on TV and see the skill. So I think in that setting, in that context, they went out and played a very confident game. They looked aggressive. They defended well. You have to give them a lot of credit for their composure in that setting, given those circumstances. I thought both of the guys played really well, were aggressive and were authoritative in the way they played with and without the puck.On why today’s practice was made optional:
So you wouldn’t question why so many guys were on the ice. (Laughs) No, we just have some bumps and bruises for some players that were probably going to get maintenance days. So we basically had a handful of maintenance days and went optional for the rest of the group. They’ll be on the ice (Saturday).Just a dream: Michelle Crechiolo
The only Pens skating in the optional practice are Park, Vitale, MacIntyre, Bortuzzo, Despres and Johnson.
The Pens are having an optional practice today. But the Canes are still on the ice, so not sure exactly what time that will start.
Some pics of 'Canes practice...
Eric Staal (left);
Jeff Skinner (right)
New 'Canes head coach Kirk Muller (left)
It's Friday, so time to explore the Pens Vault. In this week's edition we have a tribute video to former Pen Ron Francis. A fitting choice by the Vault Keeper since he is the director of hockey operations for the Hurricanes.
As I said, the Pens are practicing at Center Ice. Here are some pics of the official practice facility of the Hurricanes.
ROOT SPORT's Dan Potash and I set up shop right next to that machine bubble hockey machine. And every minute it starts playing music. Startling at first, but now just awkwardly funny.
Center Ice is getting into the Xmas spirit with a tree (left); The door to the 'Canes locker rooms and offices (right)
Vitale (left) and Park (right) sign some autographs before practice.
Good afternoon from North Carolina! The Pens have a 1pm practice at Center Ice, the official practice facility of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Since we are playing the Hurricanes, we'll open the day with "Like a Hurricane" by Neil Young. It's a classic rock 'n roll song in every sense of the genre. And it's simply awesome. Plus not only is Young a music legend, his father is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Double trouble.