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Penguins Report: 2/17/12

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Asham removed from IR (4:11 PM).
  • Asham still hopeful to play Saturday (12:55 PM).
  • Pens lines (11:09 AM).
  • Crosby speaks (1:26 PM).
  • Only Kennedy missing from practice (10:58 AM).
  • Crosby joins teammates for skate (10:51 AM).
  • Tony G talks America & Cammi (3:52 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma talks USA Hockey (3:47 PM).
  • Fans wear their jerseys (11:53 AM).
  • Pens staff wear their jerseys (3:45 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Crosby, 4-point games & more (1:34 PM).
  • Lemieux is back in the saddle, well was back in the saddle (10:45 AM).
  • Pens pics (11:42 AM).
  • “Do you believe in miracles? YES!!!...” (10:30 AM).

4:11 PM:
Arron Asham has been removed from Injured Reserve. Looks like he's close to playing, possibly Saturday. Even if not, it's a positive sign in his recovery.

3:52 PM:
Assistant coach Tony Granato also had a lot to say about American hockey, as well as his sister Cammi (who happens to be Meesh's idol).

3:47 PM:
Other than wearing jerseys, the weekend is a celebration of USA Hockey. Here is Dan Bylsma talking about the growth of American hockey and the pride that comes with representing your country.

3:45 PM:
As noted earlier, today is "Wear Your Jersey Day" for Hockey Weekend Across America. While Meesh & the team were out at Southpointe, the staff back at CONSOL Energy Center were busy celebrating the day. Check it out below.

1:34 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On the type of drills done today because Sidney Crosby was practicing:
We were aware of the drills we were doing going in when he decided to stay on the ice after 20 minutes or so with us. None of the drills were close to getting into contact, so he was able to stay out very similar to that way in Montreal when there wasn’t ice time available at different times. Regardless of the fact that it’s not a change in status it’s still good to see him out there and see him with the team.

On noticing any changes Crosby’s feelings:
No, we can’t really tell the difference when he is skating. Some days when he is skating at different levels of how hard he is going and how hard the practice is. If you watch him some days it’s not as difficult. He’s not going as hard. Certainly, you see a lot of skill and speed when you see him skate. You saw that today.

On the new lines today:
Not having the matchup on the road plays into that a little bit as well. Having another physical presence on each line is something you saw we had today. One of the things that was evident against Anaheim, we had some good shifts and zone time. We didn’t a lot get around the net and we didn’t get inside there, penetrate. Against teams like that, bigger defensive teams that crowd the house, you have to get on the inside. Playing on the outside is not going to get you much. A little bigger presence on some of those lines.

On the four-point game tomorrow:
It is division-wise for sure. When we have three games remaining with the Rangers and Philadelphia as well. We play them now and a couple of times at the end of the year as well. As a player I always called them eight-point games. Four-point game for them and four points for us. That adds up to eight. Even winning in overtime gives the other team a point. We’re looking to catch these guys and we are looking to catch the Rangers. We have to win all, if not pretty close to all the head-to-head games. We are coming down the stretch. We are entering those four-point games.  

On stopping Claude Giroux:
I don’t know exactly If they are going to be back. I expect (Jaromir) Jagr to be back. I don’t know about (Danny) Briere. Drew (Callander). Watched last night’s game, so I watched that one, but sometimes you are just watching highlights. They strike a little fear into you with skill and how they can play and how he can play. He had five assists last night in that game. He’s at times, not unlike our topline and what they are doing on the ice with their power play with (Scott) Hartnell is extremely dangerous. You think you know what they are going to do, but they continue to do it and continue to have success doing it.  We are looking to try and nullify that anyway we can in our next game. We’ll see about the other guys and their lines because we know the dangers that they have. Play Jagr and Briere has obviously come back and played good since he’s come back. We’ll see if he’s going to be in the lineup tomorrow as well.

On Max Talbot and his career highs:
Not really surprised. Max is playing, the goals and the points have been there and have not been there. They haven’t really changed the way Max has played. He’s playing the same way. He’s gotten some goals. He’s got a lot early on. He’s gotten some recently, but he’s a catalyst type player, energy, a great penalty killer and he’s been all those things and tenacious. He’s gotten some points, career highs, this year. He’s been a factor that way, but I don’t think his game has changed at all. I think it’s very similar to what we know Max can be.

Assist: Brittany Goncar

1:26 PM:

Sidney Crosby

On how he feels:
I feel good. Nothing has really changed. I just skated with the team today because there wasn’t any ice besides that. It was good. It wasn’t contact.

On if he’s making progress:
I feel like I’m getting better, which is good. I’m still not symptom free. It’s pretty clear cut. There is no grey area. Either you’re symptom free and can move on to contact or you’re not. I feel like I’m progressing, but not ready to take a hit yet.

On if he’s pushing himself more:
When you’re practicing with the team it’s different than when you’re by yourself. You don’t get as much rest. Sometimes it can be tougher because there isn’t as much instruction. It’s good to get both and get out there with guys moving around, that motion. Also from an exertion point, I’ve tested that pretty well. I’m pretty happy with the way it’s gone.

On his symptoms:
Everyone’s level is different. I’m progressing. That’s fair to say. The headaches are a little more tolerable than they were before. Since they are I’ve been able to skate. If that wasn’t the case then I wouldn’t be skating right now. That’s a good thing.

On if he’s had balance issues:
No, it’s been good. Today was good. I practiced with a bunch of guys moving around. That’s been better.

On if practicing with the team was better today than in Montreal:
When you only do it once every couple of weeks it’s hard to get a gage on it. I’m happy that it went well today. You’ve got to recover and do it day after day. It’s nice to get out there, but I’ll be happier when I’m there to stay.

On when he experiences the symptoms:
Daily, that’s the tough part about it. You have days where you feel you’re getting better and the symptoms aren't quite as bad. Other days they’re a little worse. Everyone has different symptoms. That’s the tough thing about getting a gage on it. It doesn’t always seem consistent. It doesn’t get consistently worse or better. It’s a roller coaster. They’re not fun, but I feel like I’m getting better. Anyone going through it, that’s all you want is progress.

On if he’d tell the team to make a trade with his cap salary:
I’m trying to get back. I’m hoping to get back as soon as possible. I’m not going to pretend I know when that is. I won’t say I’ll be ready in a month, or two weeks or a week. I wouldn’t be going through all of this if I didn’t want to play as soon as possible. That’s really all I’m worried about. I can’t give you an answer on that. I’m trying to get back as soon as I can. That’ll be a decision that’s up to management. 

12:55 PM:
Pens forward Asham said he is still hopeful to get in the lineup this weekend. Here is the rest of what Asham had to say.

Arron Asham

On if he will play Saturday:
I felt good yesterday when I skated and felt great today. Hopefully, it’s a go tomorrow and I get in the lineup.

On possibly playing Philadelphia in the playoffs:
It’s still a little ways away. We’re not thinking of the playoffs right now. We’re just thinking of getting into the playoffs and we’ll go from there. We have good games against these guys.

On playing Philadelphia:
It’s always nice going back. I still have a lot of friends there and around the city. It’s always good to go back and play in front of them.

Defenseman Niskanen talked about facing his former friend and newly acquired Flyer Nicklas Grossman.

Matt Niskanen

On what Nicklas Grossman brings:
He’s got good size. He’s 6-foot-4 and is a heavy body. He plays physical and is good on the penalty kill. He’s not very risk-taking offensively, but he’s a solid, solid player.
On his steadiness:
He does a lot of subtle things that can help a team win. He’s a real physical player, but he’s almost one of those guys where if you don’t notice him much, he had a really good game. He’s very valuable to a team.

On bringing a physicality like Chris Pronger:
He’s hard to play against. He takes up a lot of room out there and plays guys hard. He’s physical on them. In front of the net, it’s hard to get body position for rebounds against him. In that respect, I think there’s some similarities there.

11:53 AM:
Fans at Southpointe were rockin' their jerseys on "Wear Your Jersey Day."

11:42 AM:
Pens pics...

Adams is in the lead, but Crosby is gaining on him (left); Crosby takes the lead in the race! Do you believe in miracles? Yes!! (right)

Pens in a line (left); Lovejoy shoots the puck Dartmouth style (right)

Sullivan: Do these pads make me look fat? (left); More Pens in a line (right)

Superstars Scott Adams & Danny Kroll head to the bench for practice (left); Tony Granato clears the ice for practice #HumanZamboni (right)

11:09 AM:
Pens lines from practice. Asham joins the third line as the team did some shuffling.

(O'Reilly-Crosby-Tony Granato)

10:58 AM:
With the exception of Tyler Kennedy, all of the Pens are on the ice for practice at Southpointe. That includes Crosby & Asham.

10:51 AM:
Pens Crosby steps on the ice with his teammates. However, he is only skating with the team because the ice was being used by youth hockey players this morning. There is no change in Crosby's status.

10:45 AM:
It's time to peek into the vault. In today's installment, we check out a music video about Mario Lemieux's comeback with a little tune from Aerosmith.

10:30 AM:
Good morning from Southpointe! The Pens have an 11am practice and I hope most of you aren't reading this because you're here to see the boys practice.

On another note, this weekend we are celebrating Hockey Weekend Across America. Today we hope everyone will wear their hockey jersey!


Since this is Hockey Weekend Across America I've decided to open the day with the greatest moment in USA Hockey history. I'm talking of course about the Miracle on Ice - the 1980 Olympic gold medal which was highlighted by a 4-3 win over the powerful Soviet Union.

Here is the final minute of play, punctuated by Al Michael's famous call "Do you believe in miracles? YES!!!"

And here is a longer piece that was aired on ESPN's SportsCentury. Enjoy. USA! USA! USA!

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