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Penguins Report: 2/9/12

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Kennedy, Staal & Asham injury updates (1:14 PM).
  • Pens lines (12:19 PM).
  • Staal leaves practice (12:25 PM).
  • Pens practice players (11:15 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Despres, road trip & more (1:39 PM).
  • Martin, Neal & Kunitz spit knowledge (3:52 PM).
  • Go behind the scenes & in the video room with Jim Britt (10:40 AM).
  • Grove expresses his opinions on Pens-Habs (10:30 AM).
  • Despres & Staal (12:10 PM).
  • Pens pics (11:50 AM).
  • “When I look at the television I wanna see me stare right back at me…” (10:20 AM).

3:52 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Paul Martin

On team messages during the road trip:
Not really, I think we know how we’ve been playing lately, how good we can be when we are doing the things that make us successful. It was just kind of a push of saying even if maybe (if we’d been up) we can still put together a good run down the stretch and make sure we are playing our best hockey come playoffs.

On getting Jordan Staal back to regain team momentum:
Even going into last year, we haven’t had a full lineup for many games. It will be nice to get everyone healthy. I’m not trying to make excuses, obviously we have to win with the guys we have in there, but it will be nice to see some guys that have been out get back in there.

On Staal’s bad luck with the stick to the face:
It’s tough. It’s just the nature of the game. For “Staalsy” he’s a great guy, a good teammate, you love to see him out there and he wants to be out there more than anyone. It’s tough to see and hopefully this past one isn’t one that will be serious and he’ll be right back out there.

On coming home:
On the road it’s more up to the guys in the room to make sure you’re winning games. When you are at home it’s up to the guys, but the fans give a little extra support and the energy when you need it.

On valuing a practice day like today:
It’s not often you get a couple days between games so it’s nice to take advantage, get some rest, work on some things. It’s a good time to work on (a game) so you have to take advantage of it.

James Neal

On being home;
It’s always fun to be home. It’s fun to play in front of the home fans and we have some good games coming up. We can’t get comfortable. We have to come in and do our job at home. 

On the early Sat. late Sun. game combo:
It is a little different, but we still prepare the same way.  A good nights rest both nights and come prepared.

On overtime wearing you out:
Of course it’s going to wear on you a little more. We’ve got some good days off here that we can take advantage of. We had a good practice today so we’re ready to get going again. Another good one tomorrow.

On the fluctuation in performance of previous back-to-backs:

That’s just not being prepared to play. Coming out and seeing what’s going to happen instead of making stuff happen. That’s all on us, our preparation. We just didn’t do anything we really wanted to do in that game.

On getting ready for a shootout:
I just try to look at the goalie. See his tendencies. I have a few moves that I obviously like to do, but it’s good to see what he’s going to do. I just didn’t do what I wanted to do. (Carey) Price is a good goalie and moves out of it very well. I thought I made enough moves for him to bite on and he stayed there with me. 

Chris Kuntiz

On this weekend’s outcome:
Yeah, I think it’s a little bitter. Just a bad game that we played in Jersey, I mean I’m happy the way we came back. We’ve given up some goals that aren’t characteristic for our team. To be able to come back and go to overtime was a positive, but I think we still have to be able to beat some of the team in our division. We are probably going to have to face them in the playoffs.

On the details Coach Dan Bylsma is looking for:
Individual. Everything from chipping pucks to passes. Just doing your own job. That’s what makes our team successful and to play to the system and the details of being in the right area, don’t be swinging, stop in D-zone, make sure you’re in the right places breaking the puck out. It makes it easy for the guy beside you if everyone’s in the right position. Stick to your details and those games that we have played well is when we have played at a better unit and a better detailed game.

On the chain reaction if someone doesn’t get their details:
It seems like that some times. One guy’s not in place, someone wants to make up for that not being there, getting out of sync almost. Guys are kind of spread out in the neutral zone sometimes. If we don’t go fast and quick our team seems to lose that checking ability that really gets us in on teams and creates our offense.

On the standard refocusing messages:
That’s one of our focuses of the year. Always the details, the system, everybody being able to bring what you can, contribute every night. Sometimes it gets to a point where you want to do too much or you see somebody slip up. You want to make up for that, you just have to keep your focus. 

On the extra time:
It’s nice to get the one-on-one battles. You get some skating, but also units stuff for maybe Cal (O’Reilly), the new guy, who needs to learn the six-on-five or some special teams set plays that we need to do. It was workday, but it’s nice to get some stuff done.

This yellow-haired girl: Brittany Goncar

1:39 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On Despres:
There is so much that is difficult about playing that position and at a high level where you’re up with a lot of minutes against other team’s good players. When Simon was sent down in the beginning of the season, he’s still a good player in our eyes. The number of games he’s played and situation he’s played in, minutes he’s played, all show what kind of player he can be and is. He is going to play against other team’s teams good players, play a lot of minutes in NHL games. He showed that in the time he was here. Is he capable of showing he can do that? Absolutely. If he was in the game on Saturday or April 16, he’ll show he can play in those situations. Not just in a callup role, but as a guy that can play defensively, offensively, on the power play and against other team’s good players.

On the team’s 4-game road trip:
We gave up one goal against Toronto and Boston. We gave up four, easy ones early on against the Devils. We gave up two against Montreal. In a lot of aspects, defending, we haven’t given up a lot. I like the way we play. We haven’t scored a lot in that time period. The special teams in those games hasn’t been a real factor in terms of number of power plays and penalty kills. We got a couple power-play goals in Jersey. We haven’t scored a lot of goals to win those games, even though we haven’t given up a lot in that short time period. We haven’t had the success we like to see. We have to be better in that area. We haven’t totally been dominant and gotten to our game with the 40-plus shot nights we need to get to, to score enough goals to win. We’re not where we need to be to have success.

On a long homestretch:
I’m looking at the next nine games in this month. It’s big for our team ending February and after the trade deadline into March. That 18 points is really big for us. The majority of those are at home. We have to be a tough team to play against at home. It’s important to situate ourselves with points and wins heading towards March and towards the playoffs.

On who would be called up if they need healthy players this weekend:
We’re still evaluating that process. We saw McDonald and Williams. Eric Tangradi is a guy we’ve seen play a number of games here as of recently. He hasn’t played the last three in Wilkes-Barre due to a minor injury. We would have to evaluate that. We haven’t made that decision as to who it would be if we need one or two call ups. 

1:14 PM:
Pens coach Bylsma said Tyler Kennedy has a high-ankle sprain and is looking like 4-6 weeks for recovery. He added that Staal just needed stitches after taking a stick to the face in practice and will "be fine." Coach Bylsma also noted that Asham skated for the first time in a step towards recovery.

"Tyler Kennedy was diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain, 4-6 weeks. After a week we'll have a better idea of what the timeframe looks like exactly, as it calms down over the next week or so and as he rehabs. Right now we're looking at 4-6 weeks.

"(Staal) got a stick (to the mouth area). He got some stitches. He'll be fine.

"First time (on the ice for Asham). This is another level of exercise for him as he's worked and has been progressing. It's a step in the right direction. It's just a minor one, getting back on the ice."

12:25 PM:
Pens Staal got hit in the face and leaves the ice. I'm not sure if it was a stick or puck. Staal was walking down the runway with a towel on his face. Hopefully, he's OK.

Update: PensTV's Mike Davenport caught it on camera. It was an errant stick that caught him up high.

12:19 PM:
Pens lines from practice...



Note: Dupuis, Cooke & Jeffrey were rotating through their two line combos.

12:10 PM:
Despres & Staal have taken an extra step in their injury progressions by joining team practice Monday. Both players are all giggles as they pursue this puck.

11:50 AM:
Pens pics...

Martin smiles in the face of danger (left); Vitale shows the masses how a Northeastern grad stretches the stick above his head - which is pretty much how everyone does it (right)

Dupuis goes MacTavish for warmups at practice (left); Players wait in line for pizza (right)

Don't look now, but Staal's beard and hair are untrammeled (left); Jeffrey's face says it all (right)

Spectators enjoy a thrilling scene as Cooke adjusts his helmet (left); Kunitz: So does the bankruptcy mean there will be no more Twinkies? (right)

Here are some shots of Crosby & Asham from pre-practice work with strength & conditioning coach Mike Kadar.

Crosby dekes the cones

Asham rocks the white

11:15 AM:
Pens practice underway with all the usual suspects in attendance. Only Crosby, Asham & Kennedy are missing.

11:02 AM:
The Pens are slowing trickling onto the ice for practice.

10:40 AM:
ROOT SPORTS gave some love to Pens video coordinator Jim Britt on their telecast Sunday. We've stolen their work for our Pens Insider. Here's a look at what the Pens video guy does for the team.

10:30 AM:
Let's rewind the radio for the Radio Rewind. Bob Grove gives his thoughts on Malkin's faceoffs & PK Subban's antics from Tuesday's game in Montreal.

10:20 AM:
Good morning from CONSOL Energy Center! The Pens will hit the ice for an 11 a.m. practice after having a day off Wednesday. They'll practice again on Friday before having back-to-back games Saturday (Winnipeg) and Sunday (Tampa Bay).


Let's open the day with arguably the best pop song of the early 90s in my humble opinion - the Counting Crows "Mr. Jones" (right up there with "Hey Jealousy" by the Gin Blossoms). This song just makes me happy and I can't deny my urge to belt it out, much to the dismay of those around me. So, I apologize in advance to Meesh.

Anyways, enjoy.

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