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The Official Site of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins Report: 2/24/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Orpik will mss approx. 4 weeks with a broken finger (12:56 PM).
  • Pens bring back Kovy!!! (1:15 PM).
  • GM Shero talks about the Kovalev trade (4:30 PM).
  • Martin, Letestu & Jeffrey could play this weekend (12:10 PM).
  • Full injury updates from coach Bylsma (2:25 PM).
  • Pens’ lines (11:26 AM).
  • Martin practiced; Orpik did not (11:05 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Orpik, Kennedy and team D (2:57 PM).
  • Martin, Letestu, Jeffrey and Staal spit knowledge (2:30 PM).
  • Pens practice pics (11:34 AM).
  • “I know exactly what you’re thinkg, but I swear this time I will not let you down…” (10:45 AM).

4:30 PM:
Pens GM Ray Shero met with the media to discuss his latest mastery.

2:57 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On adding a proven scorer at this time:
That would be an area we would be looking to add in – scoring and our up-front position and our top nine.

On how involved he is in trades to make sure the player fits into the dynamic of the current team:
That is a big part of the discussion we have about players at all times. We have a definition and a clear understanding with certain criteria about the player. It includes their character, where they’d fit in and their work ethic in addition to the skill sets that we are interested in adding to our group. It’s a big part of our discussion and it is always talked about with every player, every situation, every possibility that is out there. It is part of the discussion that we have with our scouts, with our coaches, with Ray (Shero) and Jason Botterill.

On Brooks Orpik being out and if he asks himself ‘This is enough’ (with regards to injuries):
In our demeanor in our room and how we approach the game, how we approached practice today and how we are going to go into the weekend isn’t going to change much. We expect the guys to come in and play in certain situations and play up to how we play the game. If it is penalty kill or power play situations we are missing players in, we expect them to come in and execute according to how we play. According to the work ethic and the standard of which we play and the execution and how we play – it’s not going to change. There are challenges when you play on the road. There are challenges when you play at home. There are challenges when you have different people in the lineup. But there is the same demeanor in our room and the approach from the coaches. We didn’t set the sprinklers off today because Brooks Orpik wasn’t out for practice. We went out and focused on some of the details and implementing them with our new players and getting ready for (Friday)’s game. And we will do the same thing and expect to go into Carolina and Toronto and expect to win two games at the weekend. 

On Tyler Kennedy getting better this year:
TK is a hard-working guy. He is on front line everyday ready to put out everything he has. Some days, particularly last year we were in Anaheim, when he had a groin injury and we were supposed to go out and test it, he went out and went 100 percent and didn’t do himself any good. He is a type of player that we want in the way we play. He is tenacious, he’s got speed, he is an offensive zone presence and he is tenacious back-checking. But sometimes his 100 percent can go in the wrong direction, even though he is going all out. That is TK’s challenge a little bit within our structure within our system. You see his tenaciousness, his work ethic, his speed. But I think recently you’ve seen him go to the net more, go into the blue paint, which is the blue paint of the crease, but there is probably a 10-foot radius from the net, which we are deeming the blue-paint area. He has gone in there a lot more, something we have talked about and urged him to be better at. Right now he is going there with that tenaciousness and that shot and he is getting the results. I love seeing TK celebrate and he is doing a little bit more of it because he is going into that area.

On the importance of Orpik in the defensive unit:
Well there is a grit level and physicality in his game that is apparent. It holds the other team accountable before you start the game.  They know they are going against Brooks Orpik. They know they are going to be dealing with a good defender. Good positionally, but (also) a physical guy. He is a big part of our PK. He is the first guy over the boards in every PK. Those are situations that other players now have to fill. He was a shut-down guy with Kris Letang. So there is going to be that role and that responsibility, minutes against other team’s best players have to be filled either by committee or by another player. Deryk Engelland got a few of those minutes. He can contribute some of that physicality.  Ben Lovejoy was positioned with Kris Letang a little bit last night. That’s a role he has been in, in the AHL for a number of years. A challenge for (Lovejoy), but something he is accustomed to doing and accustomed to his role. Both guys have penalty killed, but with our group that isn’t a big part of what they have brought to the team this year. So they will be cast into those roles a little bit – how we penalty kill, the expectations, those roles they have been in – they now need to step up. That’s what Brooks Orpik brings, but we’re going to have to fill it in with Deryk Engelland. They know they are playing against Deryk Engelland too. You saw that (Wednesday night) with his hit on Marleau. Probably not an opportunity he would have got if Brooks was there. Their 12 (forwards) knew who he was playing against. They did react to it and they had to react to it.

On if the team’s positive play over the last few weeks have earned them a forward who can score goals:
I am not so sure that our intent was to earn stripes or validation that a move would help us out. I think the way we have worked is significant. I think what we have brought to the game is the way our team’s played, defended and the tenaciousness that we’ve played. The work ethic that we’ve played with has been a factor in virtually every game that we’ve played in. It’s been pretty much a hallmark of playing against our team. I think it may be evident that one or two more goals or a little more scoring touch would help us out at this point in time. Our guys have been going out to play a certain way. We have been taking pride in our work ethic since the start of the year, regardless of who our personnel has been. I think we have defended that way, PK, we have played in the offensive zone that way. We have worked as a five-man unit that way and we are seeing it right now being real factors in games for us. It’s how we are playing the game. If one more goal would get us and make us a better team right now and adding some skill, that might be a possibility over the next few days.

Diamond: Joe Prince-Wright

2:30 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Jordan Staal

On Tyler Kennedy:
TK’s been working hard for a very long time. It’s really starting to pay off these last few games. He’s really stepped up for us big. He’s been a spark for our team for a long time now. TK goes to the net hard, and he found a couple loose pucks last night that he was able to bury.

On the line between thriving in an expanded role and logging too many minutes:
I don’t know what that number is. For me, the more ice time the better. I’m not really too worried about that.

On Martin and Orpik being out and the feeling around the locker room on that:
It’s been crazy, no question. It’s something that you obviously can’t explain, but at the same time, we’ve been hit pretty hard. It’s tough to see those two guys go out when our D corps has been looking pretty solid all year long. Hopefully we can get them back as soon as possible.

On what Orpik being out for a while would mean to the team:
It’s just a matter of other guys stepping into bigger roles and playing bigger minutes. Again, it doesn’t mean that our D corps has to change their game because Brooksie’s out. Every player’s going to play the same way they have been and we’ll deal with whatever happens from there.

Paul Martin

On how he felt today:
I felt good today. I think each day that’s passed has been better. Still I don’t think it’s where we want it to be, but it felt good today.

On if he has any idea on how soon he’ll be ready to go:
Hopefully this weekend, but if not, we don’t play until Wednesday. So that gives us a couple extra days. We want to make sure that I’m ready to go and can do the things I need to do to play. Hopefully Saturday, for sure by Wednesday. I’m hoping. I’m thinking.

On if he wants to get back in ASAP with Orpik out:
It’s a fine line between coming back to want to help the team and making sure you’re ready to go for the stretch run, for getting ready for the playoffs. It’s tough. You want to do one thing, but maybe your body says you shouldn’t. So it’s hard to make that decision. We have a good group of people helping me out.

Mark Letestu

On how he is feeling:
Better, better. I think we are progressing nicely. I don’t think we’re too far away from some games here. It’s happening a little quicker than we thought originally but that is a good thing. (We’re) still being a little cautious with it but games are coming a little quick.

On any weaknesses:
It’s more weakness. It seems like the pain. It is a pretty remarkable surgery. You can’t bend it when you hurt it but then two days after surgery you can walk on it. The pain part is pretty much gone; it’s just getting that quad strength back and getting that explosive jump out of my skating.

On putting in lots of hard work pre-season but not playing the last three weeks:
With a lot of key centermen out it would have been a good opportunity to show that I can play in the top six and be a consistent contributor. It sucks missing out on that opportunity, but I think when I get back here there is still going to be a chance to prove myself and I am looking forward to that.

On playing this weekend:
I would like to think it would be this weekend. I guess it’s just what my leg tells me. I think I’m clear to go as far as that. We tried some contact today so we will see how it feels (Friday) and go from there. It’s my call. The doctor said as far as the strength part and structurally everything is good there. But right now it’s whether I feel good enough to go.

Dustin Jeffrey

On his injury:
Everything is doing fine.  I skated on it last week and I pushed it pretty hard after practice today and it felt good enough.

On playing this weekend:
I have to speak to the trainers and stuff, but I feel like this weekend is a real possibility.

On being out:
It is tough watching. When you get this close you want to push it, you want to get back in the lineup and help out. It is tough. It’s almost like training camp. There is an A and B squad. There are 10-11 guys that are out right now. It is tough obviously, but we are starting to get guys healthy now. That’s a positive.

Cushty: Joe Prince-Wright & Michelle Crechiolo

2:25 PM:
Here are the rest of the official injury updates from Bylsma.

"Paul Martin is day to day at this point in time. Today was his first contact back on the ice.

Dustin Jeffrey and Mark Letestu are progressing back to play and again today they had some contact, which was an up in their physicality level and we will see how they react for tomorrow and going forward.

"Arron Asham, Eric Tangradi and Nick Johnson still with concussions and no change.

"(Evgeni Malkin) is progressing. No change on Sidney Crosby."

1:15 PM:
The Pens have acquired forward Alex Kovalev from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. Get the details in the Pens' media release.

12:56 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma was able to come back and give an update on Orpik's status. Orpik will be out approximately four weeks with a broken finger.

On Brooks Orpik:
The update on Brooks Orpik is that he has a broken finger and will be approximately four weeks (for a) time frame.

On if he knows if Orpik will need surgery:
I do not. It’s not displaced. So I think we’re talking 4-6 weeks, but you’re looking at a layman right now. That’s what I have in front of me, broken finger, four weeks.

12:39 PM:
Pens coach Dan Bylsma had no update on Orpik at this time. Orpik will not be with the team during its weekend road trip to Carolina and Toronto.

12:10 PM:
Paul Martin, Mark Letestu and Dustin Jeffrey are very, very close to returning - possibly this weekend.

Martin said that he is hoping to play this Saturday in Toronto, but if not he anticipates playing next Wednesday in Toronto.

"Hopefully, this weekend, but if not, we don’t play until Wednesday," Martin said. "So that gives us a couple extra days. We want to make sure that I’m ready to go and can do the things I need to do to play. Hopefully Saturday, for sure by Wednesday. I’m hoping. I’m thinking."

Letestu is also hoping to return during the weekend trip to Carolina (Friday) and Toronto (Saturday).

"I would like to think it would be this weekend," he said. "I guess it’s just what my leg tells me. I think I’m clear to go as far as that. We tried some contact today so we will see how it feels tomorrow and go from there. It’s my call. The doctor said as far as the strength part and structurally everything is good there. But right now it’s whether I feel good enough to go."

Jeffrey is also close to coming back.

"I have to speak to the trainers and stuff," he said, "but I feel like this weekend is a real possibility."

11:34 AM:
Pens practice pics...

Kunitz (left); Comrie (right)

Jeffrey (left); Engelland (right)

Wallace, Sterling and Lovejoy (left); Coach Bylsma (right)

Sterling (left); Niskanen (right)

Neal (left); Vitale (right)

11:26 AM:
We had some technical issues with the site. I apologize for the late entry. To get you up to speed, here are a few quick notes from practice.

Kunitz and Comrie skated before practice.

The Pens used the following line combos:

11:05 AM:
The Pens are on the ice for practice. Brooks Orpik, who was injured in Wednesday's game against San Jose, is not skating. However, Paul Martin is with his teammates. Martin has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury.

10:45 AM:
The Pens will practice at 11 a.m. at CONSOL Energy Center before taking a flight to Carolina. The Pens will embark on their longest road trip of the season with a five-game swing through Carolina, Toronto (twice), New Jersey and Boston. The first stop is a showdown with the Hurricanes at RBC Center Friday at 7 p.m.

Let’s kick off the day with Stabbing Westward’s “What Do I Have to Do?” The video takes place in a desert. It is shot through a distorted circular lens with various sharp color tones – most notably a blinding shade of green. The sky is a deep blue. The subdued color of the desert is in sharp contrast to the powerful tones of the green and blue, thus giving those objects more prominence to the eye.

“What Do I Have to Do?” is a plead by the singer to his lover for direction to win back her love. But the final lyric ends with a twist. See if you can catch it.

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