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Penguins Report: 2011 Students Open Practice

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

6:25 PM:
For all the details on today's Student Open Practice, Justin Criado filed this report. Click here for a full photo gallery.

2:20 PM:
PensTV talks realignment with Adams & Orpik:



2:10 PM:
The team had a competition between White and Black jerseys. Team White lost so they had to take off their skates, put on a pair of shows and jump into the stands to give a personal greeting to the students. Meanwhile, the whole team got into the fun by tossing t-shirts over the glass. Dan Bylsma also answered questions from the kids.

MacIntyre shows off his arm and throws a T-shirt (left); HC Bylsma on the mic (right)

Students reaching for T-shirts (left); Cooke enters the crowd (right)

Players trade skates for shoes (left); Vitale and Cooke hanging with the kids (right)

1:32 PM:
Short coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On the Paille-Malkin collision:
The collision reminded me of what happened to me when I left college hockey. You take off that cage and you lead with your face and it gets the contact. I thought it was a hard hit. I don’t think there was a penalty aspect to the hit as well. Just when you see the replay, it’s a body check that ends up being face-on-face and the cage is leading the way for Paille. It was a hard hit.

On the Bruins being the team to beat in the East:
I think it was real evident to see how they can be 14-0-1 in their last 15 games. They played well, they dictated, they were physical. They got to the offensive zone, were in and around our net. They played well defensively and had good matchups. They got a good team with four lines. Their penalty kill has been as advertised. That’s exactly what we expected and to play them, you can see why they’ve been able to win that many games in a row. If you win 15 games in a row, you’re putting yourself as the best team that’s playing the best hockey in the East right now.

Is a firework: Michelle Crechiolo

1:30 PM:
Practice pics...

TK: "I'd tell you a funny chemistry joke, but all the good ones Argon." Staal laughs (left); Asst coach Tony G: "Guys, what's so funny?" TK: "I'd tell you a funny chemistry joke, but all the good ones Argon." Tony G grins (right)

Staal, Cooke & Kennedy are all alone at the end of the rink #CoolKidsClique (left); Coach Bylsma holds his stick at an 86 degree angle to teach the students physics (right) 

12:55 PM:
Pens coach Bylsma had an update for injured players:
  • Those that did not skate were maintenance days
  • Park is day-to-day with lower-body injury
  • Jeffrey had swelling in his knee and has backed off rehab until swelling goes down
  • Lovejoy, Strait both skating and in 2-4 week range
"Today, several players were given maintenance days for bumps and bruises. In addition to that, Richard Park is also day-to-day with a lower-body injury. That was the situation for practice today.

"Dustin Jeffrey, in his rehab, had some swelling and has backed off the rehab to make sure that he’s got a completely healthy (knee) and gets the swelling out of that knee so he can progress. That’s where he’s at, so his timeline has maybe changed a little bit from what we initially said, which was about 2 weeks.

"Ben Lovejoy and Brian Strait have progressed real well and are on the ice skating. In terms of what they might have left, they probably would be around the same time right now. I would say somewhere in the 2-4 week range. Really kind of seeing how much pain (they can handle) is really a guide to see how much they can go. They’ve healed and they’ve had substantial healing, but they’re still kind of in the pain is your guideline (area). So they’re progressing real well. Tough to put an exact timeline, but it could be the 2-4 week range for both those guys."

11:55 AM:
Pics of Student Practice...

11:26 AM:
Crosby comes out on the bench to interview with Steiggy and Bourquey. The students scream in approval. Sid thanks the kids for their support.

11:19 AM:
Pens are on the ice for practice. A bunch of guys not skating. Getting the day off are Crosby, Dupuis, Neal, Asham, Engelland and Park (nor Michalek).

10:55 AM:
The Big Screen just told 5th graders to scream if they love recess. They obliged.

Meesh is now signing along with the kids to Katy Perry's "Fireworks." I need ear plugs.

10:45 AM:
The stands are starting to fill up with students and the echoes of their screams are consuming the air. Add in some Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift songs blaring from the sound system and you've got the Students Open Practice.

(PS - Meesh is loving this. She just sang some Taylor Swift song to me about Romeo and Juliet. I'm not particulary amused by her enthusiasm).

10:30 AM:
Good morning from CONSOL Energy Center! The Pens will hit the ice for an 11am practice, but they won't be alone. The stands will be filled with approx. 8,000 students from 56 different schools will #OccupyCONSOL for the 4th annual Student Practice.

The streets outside the rink will be surrounded by 152 yellow school buses (as well as 43 vans) for students in grades 1-8 from around the Pittsburgh area. Paul Steigerwald and Phil Bourque will emcee the event along with PensTV's own Katie O'Malley, who will be in the stands amongst the young Pens fans.


To stick with the tradition from last season, we'll start the day with MGMT "Kids." Still appropriate for the today's festivities. Enjoy.

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