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Penguins Report: 12/9/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Injury updates from coach Bylsma (12:28 PM).
  • 6 Pens missing from practice (11:20 AM).
  • Bylsma on defensive depth, their team meeting and Thursday's game (1:05 PM).
  • The old 29'er and Billy G. ready to step in (1:09 PM).
  • Pens pics from practice (11:40 AM).
  • The Vault Keeper gives us Vince Lascheid (11:55 AM).
  • "On an island in the sun, we'll be playing and having fun…" (10:45 AM)

1:09 PM:
With the injury to Bortuzzo being the latest hit to an already depleted D corps, the Pens are being forced to dip quite deep into their organizational depth chart at that position.

It seems like sooner or later, they may run out of options... so Bylsma is preparing for the worst.

He's got radio color analyst and two-time Stanley Cup champion Phil Bourque ready to step in and help shoulder the load, as Bylsma said today that the old 29'er told him "he could play nine minutes."

Pens' player development coach Billy Guerin is also in the running for a spot in the lineup, but he'd better step up his game as Coach wasn't too pleased with Billy G's outing:

As @NateK29 said on Twitter (Michelle and my Twitter handle is @PensInsideScoop): "Billy G and the old 29'er. What a D pair."

1:05 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On what he thought of the hit on Bortuzzo:
It’s from the blind side. It’s after he shot the puck. I don’t really have a good angle on it to tell you if it’s anything other than those things. It doesn’t appear that he hit him with his elbow; at least from the angle I can see. I don’t see anything there. He certainly gets dinged on the play.

On which defensemen they would recall if it came to that:
Phil Bourque is a possibility at this point in time. He’s told me he could play nine minutes. (Laughs) Carl Sneep and Philip Samuelsson are possibilities. They’ve been logging a lot of minutes down there and have progressed really nicely. They’re playing some good hockey for them. They both would be possibilities.

On seeing the organization’s defensive depth tested:
You always look at your depth in the offseason. You look at depth charts and where players fit in. When you go down the list and you have 6-7 in Pittsburgh and 6-8 in Wilkes-Barre, you don’t think you’re necessarily going to get to test the bottom, the 15th guy. But we’re getting close to there now.

On Despres’ performance:
I thought Simon has played really well. I think you see a guy who can defend. He’s got a very good stick in defending. He’s physical. I think you see a guy who’s confident and making plays. At times, he does maybe a little too much with the puck. But I thought he’s played very well and been very confident in those different situations, whether it’s defending against elite players in big games or whether it’s playing with the puck under pressure. I think he’s been very good. He is getting a crash course and it’s not going to stop.

On having Bill Guerin on the ice for practice:
He’s also one of the guys who’s put his name in the hat for spot duties. I thought his practice was no better than a 3, so we’ll talk with the coaches.

On their early morning team meeting:
There were certain areas of the game and details we didn’t have and didn’t do (Thursday) and that we need to be better at. They’re a huge part of what we need to have in our game to have success. In addition to that, we talked about some intangibles that are part of what we need to have and have lacked, and lacked last night.

On their strong first shift and ensuing dropoff:
I think there was more than one good shift. I thought we were pretty decent for the first four or five minutes. I think after the shot by (Danny) Briere that goes off Bortuzzo and goes off (Brooks) Orpik and unfortunately found a way into the net, at that point in time there was a considerable drop in our play. We didn’t have a lot of rebound or push back in our play. The resiliency wasn’t there in our mentality and in our execution. They dictated for the rest of the period. They had a huge advantage in scoring chances after that, as well as possession of the puck and offensive zone play.

On a golden sea: Michelle Crechiolo

12:28 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma said rookie defenseman Robert Bortuzzo has concussion-like symptoms and will be reevaluated back in Pittsburgh when they return home.

Bortuzzo left Friday's game in the third period and did not return.

Bylsma had a few more injury updates:
  • Richard Park is questionable but is day-to-day
  • Deryk Engelland is also day-to-day. They'll see how he is in the morning
  • If he is not able to go Saturday vs. NY Islanders, they’ll have to call someone up from WBS
  • The rest of the missing Pens were maintenance days

Then when asked if he had heard anything new about Sidney Crosby, Bylsma responded "No. I’ve gotten no update yet."

11:55 AM:
It's Friday, it's Friday. So it's time to open the Pens Vault. And this week the Vault Keeper gives us legendary organist Vince Lascheid.

11:40 AM:
Pens pics...

Dupuis gets a tire repair from asst equip manager Danny "The Banker" Kroll

Adams and Malkin discuss Putin's loosening grip on power (left); Kennedy and Kunitz discuss the Jersey Shore (right)

MacIntyre the turncoat, trading a white jersey for black (left); Teaching time! (right)

Special guest in the building - Billy G!!!!

11:20 AM:
The Pens are huddled up and going over the drills with head coach Bylsma. Six players from the 23-man roster are not on the ice: Crosby (obviously), Staal, Cooke, Asham, Park and Bortuzzo. (Park skated for a bit before practice but then went back to the locker room. Engelland is on the ice and practicing with his teammates).

11:05 AM:
The players are starting to come out for practice. The first two players to hit the ice were Richard Park and Deryk Engelland, both of whom are day-to-day with lower-body injuries.

10:45 AM:
Good morning from Nassau Coliseum! Today the Pens will hit the ice for a mid-morning practice. The team arrived in Long Island last night after taking a 3-hour bus ride from Philadelphia. Last week was a train, this week a bus. I'm hoping next week we get mopeds.

Funny story: I was riding the "second bus" to New York which had some Pens staff and media (Mike Lange, Phil Bourque, Dan Potash, etc.) on it. We hit the road listening to the Steelers-Browns game on the radio and on the way we made a quick stop at Wawa for some snacks and drinks.

Then we hit some travel problems. A car was broke down on the highway, forcing the bus to crawl through a portion of New York and delaying our arrival. We were further delayed when the bus driver had difficulty finding the hotel. On the way we spotted the "first bus" coming back from the hotel and our driver stopped him to ask for directions.

Then we saw the hotel, but couldn't find the road that led to it. We must have made 3 or 4 loops around the hotel, so close yet so elusive. We finally located the road, but the bus was blazing past it. The driver slammed on the breaks and backed it up. Good thing it was well past 2am and there was no traffic on the 4-lane highway.

But there is a happy ending. We made it safely and just before 2:30am. 


Since we are on Long Island, I'm going to open the day with Weezer "Island in the Sun." Enjoy.

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