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Penguins Report: 2/14/12

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Asham hoping to play this weekend (12:54 PM).
  • Asham returns to practice (11:00 AM).
  • Orpik's long path to the Olympics (10:50 AM).
  • Pens go bowling for charity (10:20 AM).
  • Crosby skates post-practice (1:32 PM).
  • Pens lines (11:20 AM).
  • The Adams Family (1:55 PM).
  • Coach on Asham, Boudreau & more (2:11 PM).
  • Fleury & Niskanen spit knowledge (2:03 PM).
  • Grover reminds you of some Pens playoff history (10:10 AM).
  • Pens pics (11:36 AM).
  • “Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind…” (10:00 AM).

2:11 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma:
On Arron Asham playing this weekend:
I think he wanted to play two weeks ago, too. He’s still not all the way there in his recovery yet so we’ll see how he goes. Certainly expect him to be in practice throughout the week.
On Bruce Boudreau taking over in Anaheim and what to expect:
I only watched one game to this point and I don’t see similarities exactly to the way the Capitals were playing when he was a coach there. They play again tonight and we’ll watch that game. His team is playing really well right now. They’ve had the idea going into the break and coming out of the break that they need to make a strong push and still believe that they can make that push to be in the playoffs. We are facing a team who is playing really well. I think it’s deceptive to look at where they are at in the standings because of how they are playing. They are really making a push right now and playing desperate hockey and that’s what we’re expecting.
On taking fighting out of the game:
There are different topics of conversation here of the purpose of fighting in the game and staying or going and talking about stage fighting. I’ve seen conversations about that and those types of situations. I played college hockey where we didn’t have fighting. I played amateur hockey where my dad was going to take me off the rink if I ever got in a fight. That’s what I tell my son when it comes to amateur hockey, but in professional hockey it’s a factor in the game. Immediately when I stepped on the ice as a professional, I think it is a factor in the game. It’s part of our game and that spontaneous part of that game is going to be a part of our game and continue to do so.
On taking the trapezoid out and putting the red line back in:
I don’t have a ton of statistics about where most of the concussion-type hits are coming from. I have heard that it’s not as much the defensemen going back for pucks as they would lead you to believe. I was a big proponent of eliminating the goalie to play the puck. It’s a big factor in the game. It makes it tough.  It makes like a third defenseman. I’m not so sure the trapezoid does work. They’ve gotten around it. Goalies are coming out and playing them before and still playing it behind the net. So I don’t know if the trapezoid has worked that much to limit the goalie’s ability to play the puck. I wouldn’t be against taking it out. I think taking the red line out has increased the speed of the game. I think maybe slowing it down a little bit by putting the red line back in is something to think about. The speed of our game, it’s faster than it’s ever been and it’s played faster then it’s ever been. The execution of the puck is the majority of that than the skaters being faster. It’s how you can execute with the puck, and the red like taken out is a big factor in that regard. The game is faster because the red line is out.
On safety versus fan enjoyment:
I’m not saying we should hold and hook. I think it’s a slower game with the red line in, so I think it would still be exciting hockey if you continue to not allow holding, grappling, hooking and open-hand type of things and have the red line in.
On the speed of the game and how you would have to change your execution:
I’d have to do something different. We’d have to do something different with some of the execution we like to do. I do agree, referencing a coach who said a lot of the people who talk about the game are upstairs in the booth and it looks slow, that it looks under control from up there. At the glass and on the ice it is moving pretty darn fast and when you come down there, I’m fairly safe behind the bench and it’s still moving pretty quickly where I’m at.

Assist: Brittany Goncar

2:03 PM:
Sounds heard around the room...

Marc-Andre Fleury

On the trapezoids:
I don’t think it really matters what I think. They are going to do what they want anyway. For me, I’m not the most skilled guy back there so I don’t mind to have that restrained area so I don’t mess up in the corner. I don’t mind having them actually.

On not being able to play the puck:
A couple times I would like to be out there, but I think it’s better for me to stay closer to the net.

On if you think removing the trapezoids would decrease concussions:
I don’t think you’ll save a lot. That’s personally, I don’t think you’ll save a lot of concussions because of the trapezoids. I think like “Sid,” a lot of guys are getting hit along the boards, in the middle of the ice. I don’t think it’s really related to those corners.

Matt Niskanen
On playing with Zbynek Michalek:
There’s been times this year, especially when we’ve had injuries, that the defensive pairings have switched every period or shift by shift. That’s just a minor adjustment. I’ve seen him play a lot, so I know what he likes to do.
On his play this season:
I’ve been very happy with my consistency. I think that’s one thing, as a young defenseman, that’s tough to do in this league. This has been my most consistent season so far in my career. I think just having that confidence back (helps). Coming to camp ready to go from the first moment and being in good shape, I just try to bring a good attitude to the rink every day.
On the system the Penguins play:
We play different here than most places. It’s something I hadn’t seen before. But now that I’m used to it and feel comfortable with it, it’s a fun and great way to play hockey. It’s a fast pace that fits my strengths as a player, so it’s a good move for me.
On Anaheim:
They’ve got some top players up front like (Corey) Perry, (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Bobby) Ryan, some very talented guys. They’re big forwards. They usually play a pretty physical game. They’re gritty. They like to try to grind you down in the offensive zone, kind of the same game plan that we do. But I think the game plan for us is to try and play at a fast pace and wear them down that way.

1:55 PM:
Pens forward Craig Adams took the kids for an afternoon skate at CONSOL Energy Center.

Adams with son, Rhys, and daughter, Francesa

Rhys skating all by himself (left); Francesca talks to Crosby after he finished his ice workout (right)

1:32 PM:
Pens center Crosby gets on the ice with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar for a post-practice on-ice work session.

Several Pens came out to watch Crosby skate, including Letang and head coach Dan Bylsma

12:54 PM:
Pens forward Arron Asham said that he's hopeful to return to the ice this weekend when the team has back-to-back contests in Philadelphia (Saturday) and Buffalo (Sunday).

"Head-wise and confidence-wise I feel good," he said. "It's a matter of getting my legs under me. I'll get a couple of good skates here this week and hopefully be ready for the weekend."

Full story here.

11:36 AM:
Pens pics...

Engelland learns to skate by holding onto the boards (left); Everyone peeks at Fleury's Valentine's locket, which is hidden in his glove for safe keeping (right)

Tony G: "Katy Perry was good, but it's hard to top Springsteen" (left); Sullivan stalks Neal, waiting to pounce (right)

Johnson (left) and Fleury (right) do a "goaltender dance off" before practice. Hilarity ensues

11:20 AM:
Pens lines from practice...


The 7 defensemen rotated.

11:00 AM:
Pens forward Arron Asham is joining his teammates at practice for the first time since suffering from concussion-like symptoms. He had been skating on his own. Asham hasn't played since Jan. 15 at Tampa Bay, missing the team's last 12 games.

10:50 AM:

(Getty Images)

Pens defenseman Brooks Orpik has raised a Stanley Cup and wore an Olympic silver medal in his hockey career. But he wasn't always a hockey guy.

Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik may be named after the most iconic coach in USA Hockey history, but oddly enough, it wasn’t always the sport for him.

... “I think all the way up till age 15, I was kind of in between with baseball and hockey,” he said. “Then you kind of had to make a decision and go one way or the other, and hockey kind of trumped that. I’m still a huge baseball fan, but I think I made the right decision there.”

That’s an understatement.

Full story here.

10:20 AM:

It's a great day for bowling! Well, Monday was anyway. The Pens players all headed to Crafton-Ingram Bowling Lanes for the 4th Annual Pens & Pins. They met some fans, signed some autographs and threw some gutter balls, all for a good cause.

More details here.

10:10 AM:
Pens radio host Bob Grove takes us back into Pens History. Today, Grover discusses the Pens' Game 6 comeback win against Philadelphia in the 2009 Stanley Cup championship run. The Flyers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the game, and it appeared that Game 7 was inevitable. However, the Pens showed why they should never be counted out...

10:00 AM:
Good morning from CONSOL Energy Center! Today the Pens will hit the ice for an 11am practice before hosting Anaheim Wednesday night at 7pm.


Happy Valentine's Day to everyone out in Pens Land. In the spirit of Cupid toil we'll open the day with a very pretty song - though it does have some sad undertones. So it's the perfect love song! Here is The Sundays cover of "Wild Horses."

I can't play The Sundays without playing the original version by the Rolling Stones. So here too are the Stones kicking off V-day for all. Enjoy.

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