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Penguins Report: 2/7/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Coach Bylsma updates on Crosby and Malkin (1:03 PM).
  • Kunitz and Dupuis have maintenance days, while Letestu had surgery (12:39 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Kuntz, Dupuis, lines and offensive D-men (1:13 PM).
  • PensTV goes speed dating with Staal, Talbot and Martin (2:55 PM).
  • Staal tapes a PSA (1:19 PM).
  • Pens pics (11:26 AM).
  • Pens will be busy in the next couple of days (10:12 AM).
  • “Everybody hurts sometimes. So hold on, hold on, hold on…” (10:12 AM).

2:55 PM:
PensTV talks with Staal, Talbot and Martin...




1:19 PM:
The Pens Jordan Staal took some time after practice to tape a PSA for the American Red Cross Blood Drive (details to come at a later date).

1:13 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On Kunitz and Dupuis playing together:
I’d answer that question, but tomorrow I know they’re not going to be together. They have been together for a long period of time and have been an affective unit for us offensive and responsible for us defensively. Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy have spent lots of time together. They’ve been a steady line. They’re an effective line playing offensively in the offensive zone, grinding teams down, but also reliable defensively. Having those combinations together have been something we’ve done and tried to go with. Tomorrow you may not see that.

On if there’s a fine line on creating chances from the backend:
I think those players, our more offensive players, you just look at the Buffalo game as an example of where by activating, Alex Goligoski had several really good scoring opportunities and really was effective in that second period. The thing that Alex did and we need them to continue to do to be effective, is not to try to do things on their own page or do things themselves – not to try to go one-on-one because they are talented offensive players, but to do it within the structure of our team. That’s what Alex did in that game. We don’t need our defensemen going off and trying to create offense because we may not have the presence of gifted offensive players in our lineup that we had earlier in the year. We need to do it in the concept of our team. That’s probably not going to look a whole lot different than it did before, but when Alex has the opportunity, and Kris (Letang) and Paul (Martin), to jump in the play, that’s what you’ll see when Eric Tangradi passes to Paul Martin in the Buffalo game and he has a chance on a rush play, and same for Alex. We don’t need to burden our defensemen into trying to create a new page of offense for our team.

On the thought process behind jumbling his lines
There would be a couple thought processes. In some cases, it would be to spread the minutes apart and maybe get some of the attributes those players have in different situations with different people. Sometimes it would be because we’re not playing at the level we need to in an effort to try and jumpstart and change combinations to get better results in how we’re playing the game. So all those things go into that. Sometimes it happens within a game and you might not notice it as much. When I start the game with different lines, you tend to notice it a little more, which is going to be the case (Tuesday).

Assist: Michelle Crechiolo

1:03 PM:
Coach Bylsma also talked about Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Bylsma was asked about Crosby's return to Pittsburgh.

"The schedule with Sidney, we thought he would return sometime this week. There wasn't a definite date or definite day. Right now, I haven't had a lot of contact. He's in contact with our trainer just to let him know how he's feeling and so forth. There really isn't a time frame as far as we're concerned at this point, of getting him back into town and any kind of timetable."

Bylsma was also asked if the coaching staff has planned for not having Crosby for the rest of the season.

"That really has not been a topic of conversation or a thought. Certainly, when the doctor told us he had a mild concussion, we were expecting this not to last this long and it was certainly our concern about making sure his health is full when he comes back to play. But really, we haven’t gone down a label of time. We certainly want to make sure we go through the necessary steps, and he gets returned to health and he’s symptom-free and then progressing toward what the doctor recommends with exercise and so forth. But (we haven’t) gone down that road."

Bylsma was then asked about Malkin's situation.

"Given the severity of the injury right now we're taking some time to let his knee calm down a little bit, get doctors' opinions and options for what he has going forward. It's not a lot of urgency at this point in time to rush into a certain decision."

12:39 PM:
Coach Bylsma said that Kunitz and Dupuis were maintenance days and are expected to be on the ice Tuesday and in the lineup against Columbus that evening.

Bylsma added that Mark Letestu had surgery on his left knee over the weekend and is still expected to be out for 6 weeks.

"Players not on the ice today that played last game, Kunitz and Dupuis, were having maintenance days," Bylsma said. "(I) expect them tomorrow to be on the ice in the morning.

"Arron Asham is still out and day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

"Mark Letestu was able to have his surgery this past weekend, successful surgery. He has started his rehab. It's still on the same timetable, 4 to 6 weeks."

11:26 AM:
Practice pics...

Ass't coach Tony Granato (left); Johnson (right)

Goligoski (left); Ass't coach Todd Reirden (right)

Staal (left); goalie coach Gilles Meloche talks to Johnson and Fleury

Talbot and Adams (left)

11:06 AM:
The Pens are on the ice now for practice. Kunitz and Dupuis are absent. We'll get an update on them after from coach Bylsma. Still no Arron Asham either.

10:55 AM:
The Pens are making their way on the ice at CONSOL Energy Center for practice. Pittsburgh will play four games in the next six days, starting Tuesday by hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets.

10:12 AM:
I know everyone in Pittsburgh is still hurting from the Super Bowl result. It was a heartbreaking and tough loss to swallow. The Steelers had a great season. Even if they didn't accomplish the ultimate goal, I'm sure all Steelers fans are proud of their team. 

In light of the mood, I can't think of a better song than REM's "Everybody Hurts." Sometimes a sad song is good for the soul. And the message of the song is that everybody feels pain in their lives, but if you hold on things will get better.

Just think, the Stanley Cup playoffs are right around the corner.

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