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Penguins Report: 12/7/11

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • BREAKING: Crosby to sit out next 2 games as precaution (4:07 PM).
  • Engelland and Park are day-to-day (12:42 PM).
  • No Engelland, Park or Michalek at practice (11:00 AM).
  • Fleury has a wardrobe malfunction during practice (11:27 AM).
  • Bylsma on the Flyers, Talbot and Jagr (1:48 PM).
  • Crosby discusses former teammate Talbot and Flyers (1:02 PM).
  • Practice pics (11:33 AM).
  • Dupuis in the spotlight (10:48 AM).
  • "The quiet things that no one ever knows…" (10:30 AM).

4:07 PM:
It's just been announced that Sidney Crosby did not accompany the Penguins on their road trip to Philadelphia today and will sit out the next two games as a precaution.

"Sidney took a hard hit during our game against Boston Monday night and wasn't feeling 100 percent," Penguins General Manager Ray Shero said. "He saw Dr. Micky Collins of UPMC today and took an ImPACT test, which showed no problems. However, we all think it's best that he sits out the next two games as a precaution."

Crosby has 12 points in eight games since returning from a concussion. 
The Penguins play at Philadelphia Thursday and at the New York Islanders Saturday.

1:48 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On how the Flyers have improved since last year:
They were a good team last year, so I’m not sure they’ve improved is what I would say. They may have changed a little bit with their identity and how they play, but they’re a very good rush team. They still have a dynamic team rush-wise. They’ve always had grit, but they’ve added some speed throughout their lineup. They’ve made them very tough to deal with both forechecking and in the offensive zone. They’re maybe not as prolific as they were with the absence of (Mike) Richard and (Jeff) Carter, but I think it’s just tough to deal with the speed and the aggressiveness in how they play and skate, with their speed and being a very tough top-six defenseman. 

On Claude Giroux:
I don’t know if I’ve seen another level or if maybe there are less people to talk about. He’s been really dynamic for them for a couple of years.  He’s been really key to the power play, very dangerous there, very dynamic with his speed and his ability with the puck. I’m not sure if he’s stepped out from his shadow or getting more opportunities, but he’s been a dynamic player and we’ve known that playing against him for years now. I think now you hear people talking about him being a star in the league. Maybe that’s a little bit different from other people’s perceptions. He is dynamic in the league and dangerous with a lot of speed and skill.

On the discussions with Max Talbot going into free agency this summer:
With Max, I think going into those situations you have a sense of where the market is and what the value is and what possibly you can do with it. I think right away with Max you heard a lot of serious interest from other areas, whether it was previous years and deadlines. You knew there was very serious interest and the real possibility that he was going to go at a high price. That was the case with Max. We had conversations with Max and his agent. He got a great contract with a long term. That makes it tough to fit the pieces together when it came down to Max. Sometimes you have that feeling or know that going in.

On the discussions with Jaromir Jagr going into free agency this summer:
With Jagr, we were having meetings at the end of the season talking about the previous year, and I think we read on Twitter or somewhere that there was a comment in a newspaper about Jagr possibly playing in the NHL and with the Penguins. We tried to validate that source and those comments from him right then and there. It was a summer-long discussion. There was interest and we had restrictions and salary cap limitations. We made an offer and it turns out that the source for the information in that article weren’t necessarily true or accurate.

On if Talbot has a bigger role with Philadelphia than he would with Pittsburgh:
I don’t see it that way at all. We were looking at what he could do with our power play and what plays he could make there in our group. The possibility of playing with Crosby or Malkin, I think that’s playing on one of the top lines in the league, so that’s kind of where we had thought about and saw him being a part of our team and that didn’t work out.

On Talbot having the advantage of knowing the tendencies of his old teammates:
Obviously he knows more about more players than we know about just Max. I’ve watched the Flyers play a lot of games this year and leading up to this game. Certainly throughout the year you see Max out there and you see him and expect him to do certain things whether it’s with the penalty kill or with the puck. We can expect those when we see him (Thursday) night and vice versa. I think he’s killed penalties against Evgeni Malkin in practice an awful lot, so I think he’s going to have an understanding of some tendencies and some ideas of what we are trying to do. That certainly will be a factor for him and possibly sharing power-play wise and whatever other situations may arise. It’s going to be some familiarity there on both sides that we expect to see.

On his experience traveling in the West compared to the East:
I only knew the West when I played. I didn’t know the East when I was done. There’s a lot of travel. You can expect a certain amount of longer road trips throughout the year. On the other side of it, there is a big difference, but at the time I didn’t think we had a disadvantage. I didn’t think we were more tired, I didn’t think we suffered from it even though we traveled more than the teams on the East coast in some situations. There’s less travel, there’s less nights away and you don’t have extended road trips for long periods of time twice a year. I can’t remember exactly the alignment situation was when I played in LA, but we expected two 10-12 day road trips a year. Those are baseball-type road trips that East coast teams don’t have.

On if the realignment will affect free agency:
I don’t know how much it plays in free agency. I’ve heard it does. Theoretically we say that it does, but I don’t know if it plays a big role. Although there are players that are going to go from LA to the New York Rangers, I don’t know if it comes down to those decisions in free agency and attracting players. I do know I’d rather travel with Pittsburgh than have to travel with LA and Anaheim, those types of travels. It’s better travel, shorter distances, it’s more nights at home, more practice time at home and less dealing with the time-zone change.

1:02 PM:
The Pens will face bitter rival Philly and former teammate Max Talbot for the first time on Thursday, and obviously that storyline was what the guys were talking about in the room before heading across the state. Sam Kasan will have a detailed piece soon, but for now here's Sidney Crosby discussing it...

On facing Talbot for the first time:
It’s always weird when you play against former teammates. But the rivalry with that team I’m sure will kind of be more of the focus than playing against a former teammate. I’m sure Max has gotten past that. He’s on the Flyers now and he’s an opponent, so that’s the way things are. We’ll compete hard against one another.

On what he expects out of Talbot:
I expect him to be hard to play against. I think that’s his job on their team. That’s what he did here. He tried to provide energy and be hard to play against. So I would expect him to do the same things. I don’t expect him to be dirty or cheap or anything like that, but I expect him to play hard. I’m sure he expects the same out of all of us. I mean, we’re all playing to win. We definitely had some good times here and keep in touch, but on the ice you still got to play the same way. I think everyone kind of respects that and understands it.

On if he’s talked to Talbot recently:
Probably last week or two weeks ago. We just kind of kept in touch throughout the summer too. We haven’t really even talked about the game or anything like that. We just keep in touch like normal.

On if he’ll give Talbot a hard time during warmups:
No, I don’t think anyone is usually joking around on the red line in Philadelphia. I don’t expect it to be that way. I’m not usually in the mood to be joking around on the red line in Philly, so I don’t expect it to be that way.

On playing well against the Flyers:
I think we always know it’s going to be a tough game and both teams bring out the best in each other. I think you just try to prepare for their best game. Sometimes it works out that you end up being a little bit more focused or more ready for those ones. I don’t think that’s by anything other than you’re just trying to prepare and make sure you’re ready for those ones.

On talking to Talbot and/or Jaromir Jagr during free agency:
Obviously (I was) talking to Max just for finding out kind of where he was at. At a certain point, it’s really none of my business. He’s a free agent and he’s got decisions to make, so by no means do you want to interfere or get in the way of that. I think he knew everything he is to know about this team and what it’s like here and all that stuff. But at the end of the day, he’s got to do what’s best for him. I think everyone understands that, especially me. I didn’t have to sell anything to Max. I don’t think it’s anything like that. He’s got to do what’s best for him in that situation. He was really happy with what he got and the team that he went to and things like that. That’s the opportunity you get as a free agent. But Jagr, no, I didn’t talk to Jagr. There was no communication there.

On if his knee feels sore:
I feel good.

12:42 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma gave updates on the statuses of Engelland and Park after practice:

"Injury-wise, both Deryk Engelland and Richard Park are day-to-day. I think they'll both be going on the trip with us."

11:33 AM:
More practice pics...

Bylsma is everywhere...taking faceoffs...blocking shots...

Lineys Dupuis and Crosby battle it out (left); Sullivan, Kunitz and TK stretching it out (right)

Johnny protecting his post vs. Sully (left); Where's 'Flower' ?! (right)

Coach really is everywhere. He's in most of today's photos. Haha

11:27 AM:
A funny little incident that just happened: something happened with Fleury's workout shirt, so he had to take off the entire top half of his equipment to switch it out. Naturally, all the guys were chirping him as they waited for him to get back in goal...especially as he struggled to get his jersey back on over his chest protector (luckily Gilles Meloche was there to lend a hand). Flower, of course, handled the situation with his usual trademark grin. He's the best.

After practice, Fleury explained why he decided to switch his shirts in the middle of practice. It's such a classic quote that I'm going to let it speak for itself...

11:14 AM:
Pens haven't done line rushes yet so it looks like we won't have those combos for you today, unfortunately.

11:00 AM:
Practice is starting right on time. No Engelland, Park or Michalek.

Crosby, Dupuis, Neal and Asham are all on the ice after taking maintenance days Tuesday.

10:48 AM:
It's Wednesday, so you know what that means...time for the UPMC Penguins Spotlight! This week, we highlight Pascal Dupuis...or, as we call him...

No, but really though. He's been having a fantastic season so far. Watch below to find out more:

10:30 AM:
Hello and good morning everyone! We're at our usual perch in CONSOL Energy Center, where the Pens are scheduled to take the ice for an 11 a.m. practice. Afterwards, the guys are embarking on a two-game road swing to play a pair of division rivals. They'll begin by making a foray into enemy territory to play hated cross-state rival Philly on Thursday for the first of six meetings between the teams. They'll then head to New York to battle the Rangers on Saturday.

Quite a few guys had maintenance days for Tuesday's practice (Crosby, Dupuis, Neal, Asham, Engelland and Park...Michalek was missing as well), so make sure you stay tuned to the blog for updates on who skates today.

It's so much quieter in here than it was yesterday, as Tuesday marked the fourth annual School Open Practice. The Pens welcomed approximately 8,000 students in grades 1-8 from 56 local schools to pack the stands hoping it would promote physical well-being, teamwork and the value of an education. You can get the full story, pics and video here.

It was an absolute blast to have the kids here and the atmosphere (and song selection -- Justin Bieber, anyone?) was awesome. But in honor of having the peace and quiet restored, I'm going to play Brand New's "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows."

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