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Penguins Report: 2/15/11

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Bylsma provides injury updates on Jeffrey, Letestu, Tangradi, Kunitz and Asham (12:49 PM)
  • Pens' lines (11:08 AM)
  • Bylsma on Lemieux's statement, the team's confidence and how the Pens can get their mojo back (3:15 PM)
  • Granato discusses his return to Colorado (3:07 PM)
  • Orpik, Talbot, Adams and Sterling provide enlightenment (3:13 PM)
  • Pictorial evidence of the Pens at work (11:35 AM)
  • Happy two-year anniversary Coach Dan (10:45 AM)
  • WBS' Thiessen is a brick wall between the pipes (5:06 PM)

5:06 PM:
Marc-Andre Fleury isn't the only goalie in a Penguins uniform who has been performing well. WBS' Brad Thiessen was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Feb. 13. He's been playing outstanding between the pipes for WBS with their seven top scorers all on recall to Pittsburgh. Congrats to Brad!

3:15 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On Mario Lemieux’s statement:
We all had emotional responses to the league and the ruling. That was a strong statement, but it was sentiments that we all felt like. We all talk about circumstances of protecting players, blind shots on unsuspecting players. Those are sentiments that we echo.

On the Islanders game:
Many emotions go on in a game. That’s not a moment that I’m going to give back two years from now that I’ll remember as a positive.

On if there is wavering confidence:
We’re aware of it. It’s more dealing with the questions that keep getting ask from outside the room and the microphones that are put in front of us. We have been and continue to be focused on what we need to continue to do to stay focused in this room with this group of guys and how we need to play. We keep getting reminded of the injures, and those things. Keeping focused game-to-game, and making sure as a group that we’re ready to reset and get back to what we need to do. Within our team we know and believe that if we take care of things and play as a group, we give ourselves a chance to have success, and that’s where our focus is.

On if the Penguins having a lot of fighting majors is hypocritical:
I don’t give it credence. I don’t think Colton Orr and Deryk Engelland getting into a second fight has anything to do with what we’re talking about, or what we made reference to, in the Islanders game. Those are straight-up fights. We’re talking about headshots on unsuspecting players is a different thing than talking about a fight with two willing combatants. As far as having Matt Cooke on our team, we know what Matt brings. He’s a physical presence. He adds an edge to our team. He plays a big part in the offensive zone. Given Rule 48, some players have changed the way they approach the game. Matt is one of those guys. When Matt delivers a blow, we fully expect the league to take a look at all hits. They did and they delivered a suspension. We accept that. We’re talking about making reference to unsuspecting players and headshots. That’s something different than a fight. We think the league should look at everyone and deal with it accordingly. When it’s unsuspecting, when it’s a headshot, when it’s a player that’s down and injured I think it’s different aspect.

On if the team changes its style with the injuries:
It’s going to look differently. The feel of the game is going to be a little bit different. To be honest with you, it’s more like a playoff game. It’s more tight-checking mentality, like you’d see in the playoffs. For our team, we’re in playoff type of mode, playoff type of hockey, managing the puck and how we want to play. The guys coming up understand that.

On if the guys that are new aren’t making the mistakes, it’s the older guys:
That is a concern. Yes, that’s an accurate statement.

On how the defense gets its mojo back:
The difficult part is Max Talbot, Pascal Dupuis, Jordan Staal – very good players that add to our team – they cannot replace Sidney Crosby. They have to be Max Talbot, Pascal Dupuis and Jordan Staal. I don’t think we’ve deviated or gone on our own page, as much as we’ve tried to assume too much of what we see from Sidney Crosby. They need to make sure they’re playing their role, their part and how they play, and do it to the best of their ability. That’s where our focus is. It’s good intentions and maybe they’re trying to step up their game a little more. It’s really more making sure they bring their foundation, what they bring to the team and bring it to the best of their ability. That’s what we need to get back the mojo.

On if the NHL has to do something to prevent games like the Islanders:
I think that’s a reference that Mario was making, yes.

Penalty shot goal:
Sam Kasan

3:13 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Brooks Orpik

On the Islanders game:
It was a circus. It wasn’t fun to be a part of and I am glad it’s other with and hope it doesn’t happen again.

On the head shots during the game:
I think the fighting was a result of the head shots. I don’t think fighting has ever been a problem in the league. Just head shot are, and ever since last year they have been trying to crack down on them.

On trying to eliminate head shots:
I think there are always going to be head shots whether or not they are intentional or not. Guys are getting bigger and faster and stronger. Sometimes it's just inevitable because guys are in difficult spots and positions on the ice and guys are going really fast. I think you are always going to see it; it's just deciphering whether it’s intentional or not.

Maxime Talbot

On Lemieux’s statement:
Mario is a straight-up guy. You could tell that he has our back on that.

On if cheap shots can be eliminated:
It’s going to be a process. It’s a fast game out there. Having (Lemeiux), a guy who is respected by everyone, come out like that is a big step.

On if the Islanders game wasn’t about fighting, but intent to injure:
There was a statement. There is nothing else to say.

On how to fix the team’s defense:
We made a couple mistakes that were costly. At the end of the Rangers game was better. These are mistakes that we’ll have to fix and play better.

Craig Adams

On not facing Forsberg:
That’s tough. I don’t know what the situation is, but it’s neat for him to come back and play. He’s such a great player. We don’t have to worry about him tomorrow, that’s nice. At the same time it would have been nice to see him come back.

On what the league wants to do with fighting:
I don’t know what the league wants to do. I don’t think anyone in here thinks we should get rid of fighting in the NHL. It’s the cheap shots that can lead to serious injuries. That’s the scary part o the game.

On how to get back to the strong defensive play:
We need to kill penalties. We need better defensive zone coverage, eliminate odd-man rushes against. Part of that is when you’re playing well offensively, you’re playing in the other team’s end. It’s a bit of everything. We just haven’t played well enough in the last two games. I can’t put the finger on one thing.

Brett Sterling

On the Penguins’ current injury situation:
We have a lot of guys out. But we called up a bunch of players, so we have to step up and fill in for those injured guys.

On the Islanders game:
Everybody knows what happened in the game. We are past it now. It is over and we are looking forward to Colorado on Wednesday. We are taking it one game at a time, but we are not looking back at what happened over the last couple of days. We are going to step forward and try and get this team on the right track.

On the Rangers game:
The game didn’t go well. We took too many penalties. We didn’t give ourselves to many chances to win and that’s what we are here for. So we are moving on from that and onto Colorado.

On dealing well with all the adversity:
I think it speaks to the depth of the Penguins organization, (to) look at the standings and where they are and what they have done so far with the amount of injuries they have had.

Give-and-go: Sam Kasan and Joe Prince-Wright

3:07 PM:
Assistant coach Tony Granato, now in his second season with the Pens, has a long history with the Colorado Avalanche organization.

He joined the franchise in June 2002 as an assistant coach and went on to spend the next eight years with the Avs, serving two stints as head coach from 2002-04 and 2008-09.

Wednesday marks his first time back in Colorado since joining the Pittsburgh organization.

We'll call this Coachspeak Round II with Tony Granato...

On returning to Colorado:
I’m excited. A little bit nervous. I was there a long time. I have a lot of great memories. Still have a lot of great friends in the organization. It’ll be fun to see them. You have to remember it’s an important game for both teams. The purpose of going there is to get two points. That’s the way you have to go into it.

On the Avalanche being dangerous after a tough loss:
They’re going to want to rebound. They’re going through a tough time injury-wise, similar to what our team is going through. It doesn’t matter who you play at this point in the NHL, everybody at this point of the year everyone has to find ways to dig down and play their best game. That’s what you have to expect. We expect that form them tomorrow.

12:49 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma started his media scrum with a plethora of updates on the Pens' injured players.

"(Arron) Asham, still with an upper-body, is day-to-day.

Chris Kunitz (is rehabbing) and getting better. (It's) still a lower-body injury and he's day-to-day.

Dustin Jeffrey was fitted for a brace and will likely be back on the ice skating later this week or the weekend.

Mark Letestu skated lightly today on his own without any gear, so he's returned to the ice.

(Eric) Tangradi still has concussion-like symptoms and is resting today."

11:35 AM:
Pictorial evidence of the Pens at work:

Dan the Man (left); TK circling the net (right)

Double dose of Staalsy

Double dose of Sterling


11:08 AM:
Here's the lines the Pens are running this morning:


And all seven defensemen are present and accounted for.

10:51 AM:
The Pens are starting to trickle onto the ice. They're wearing their color-coded jerseys, which is awesome, because it makes it that much faster for us to get the line combinations.

10:45 AM:
We're currently posted up at the Iceoplex at Southpointe, waiting for the Penguins to take the ice for practice. The team will be heading to Denver immediately after their skate to prepare for their third road tilt in a stretch where Pittsburgh plays nine of 11 games in opponent's arenas, as they take on Colorado Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center.

It's a historic day in Penguins history, as today marks Dan Bylsma's two-year anniversary as head coach. I figured there's no better way to start the blog than with a few pictures of Coach at some of his finest moments.

Rocking a fedora at the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic...

Working the red carpet at the grand opening of CONSOL Energy Center...

And last but not least, posing with Billy Guerin, Penguins co-owner and Hall-of-Famer Mario Lemieux and, of course, that little silver chalice known as the Stanley Cup.

All photos courtesy of Getty Images
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