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Penguins Report: 3/14/11

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • BREAKING NEWS: Sidney Crosby skated this morning. Get the full details in's exclusive interview piece (10:07 AM).
  • The full transcript of Sid's Q and A with the media (12:26 PM) and the video itself (12:56 PM).
  • Watch PensTV's video of Sid skating (10:20 AM).
  • Injury updates from coach Bylsma (12:49 PM).
  • Niskanen will not travel with the team for Tuesday's game; Pens will call up a player this afternoon (12:40 PM).
  • Asham practiced and will not play Tuesday, but is hopeful for Sunday (12:20 PM).
  • Eric Tangradi is back on the ice as well (9:42 AM).
  • Bylsma discusses Sid, what to expect from Ottawa and the power play (1:45 PM).
  • Asham discusses how he’s feeling while Staal and Fleury discuss Sid (1:41 PM).
  • The Pens and CONSOL are finalists for the prestigious Sports Business Awards (3:44 PM).
  • Michalek, Neal and Martin chat with PensTV (3:39 PM).
  • The Penguins and CONSOL are hosting high school hockey playoffs (4:23 PM).
  • Pens pics (11:55 AM).
  • "Just another manic Monday..." (4:34 PM).

4:34 PM:
With all of the craziness that occurred today, I figured it'd only be fitting to end the blog with a song. How appropriate is my selection?

4:23 PM:
Also, don't forget that the Penguins and CONSOL Energy Center are hosting the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League playoffs this week! Semifinals will be here tonight and Tuesday - the Class A game will be at 5 p.m. both days, the Class AA game will be at 7 p.m. both days and the Class AAA game will be at 9 p.m. both days. The championships will then be held here Sunday, March 20 following the Pens-Rangers game.

Visit the Penguins Cup Central page by clicking here. We'll be covering all of the semifinal and championship matches on our site.

3:44 PM:
Great news for the organization: the Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily announced today that the Penguins are a finalist for Professional Sports Team of the Year and CONSOL Energy Center is a finalist as Sports Facility of the Year!

3:39 PM:
PensTV went speed dating around the Pens locker room...




1:45 PM:
The rest of coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On the status of Matt Niskanen:
Matt is still not well enough to travel. And with the flu bug that he does have, he was evaluated this morning and we sent him right back home. He will be joining us hopefully after the Ottawa game.

On when the Penguins evaluate their future, if it’s with an eye towards Crosby potentially coming back for the playoffs:
In terms of planning towards the future and April, I have not thought about making a plan with Sidney Crosby. Not saying that I’ve thought about ruling him out, but that’s not the approach right now that we’ve taken. We’re playing with the guys in the room and that’s what we anticipate going forward, planning-wise. Now, he’s obviously symptom free and skating, so whatever time table, whenever that happens, we’re going to be glad to welcome him back if that’s the case.

On a preview of Ottawa and what the Penguins will do defensively with Niskanen out:
Well, we’re going to have to call up a player, which we will do this afternoon. It’s going to be an interesting game. We’re going to see a lot of people and a lot of different looks from their team that we didn’t see early on in the year with them. They’ve got (Craig) Anderson in net, who’s been playing extremely well for them and been a backbone to some of the success that they’ve had in recent games. They’re not a lot different from (Sunday) night. There’s going to be a young crew and they’re going to be working hard. They have a lot to play for and a lot to prove as a young group right now. But it’s going to be much different than what we saw earlier in the season. The preparation for the game is going to be very similar to the Edmonton game. We’re going to have to reacquaint our team with what they do. We have talked to Alex (Kovalev) about their team and some of the things they do, so that’s been a help and we’ll use that (Tuesday).

On if the player that is called up will be inserted right into the lineup Tuesday:
They for sure will be, yes.

On if the power play goal Sunday night is significant:
We had a couple of opportunities earlier in the game. Tyler Kennedy had a real good one at the side of the net there. We had another play at the net where we didn’t score. To get the one goal, I think it is a boost for the power play. I know in a 4-1 game, the fifth goal might not be a big one, but to get the power play goal, it felt like we got something we needed to get for our power play guys. We’re still trying to figure out the adjustments of where guys are going to be. I like a lot of what we’ve seen. We need to start getting some results and hopefully, that goal, the Chris Kunitz goal from James Neal, low play against that penalty kill that was pressuring, that was a good play. Something we’d talked about, and hopefully something we can build on and see some success in that area.

On if they would call up Brian Strait again or if they are still deciding:
We haven’t made that call yet.

On how he helps Kovalev prepare for an emotional trip back home to Ottawa:
He’s got more experience at this than I do, this particular going back to this situation. But we’ll chat and have a few words about it. But I think he’s going to want to prove something, that’s for sure. And I’m pretty confident he’ll get the start of the game.

No. 10 seed in the Southeast Region but always at the top of her game come March: Michelle Crechiolo

1:41 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Arron Asham

On how he’s feeling:
It feels good. It feels really good. It’s been five, six weeks, so it’s been a long time and we’re in a good battle right now for first place, so it’s going to be good to hopefully get in here and get into the lineup.

On if he will play Tuesday in Ottawa:
No, I won’t be ready for tomorrow. I’m hoping for Sunday. So we’ll see how things go, but I feel good out there. Everything’s going well.

On his timeline:
It was frustrating. I would feel good one day and the next day feel totally different. It was kind of a pattern like that. I’d feel good for one day, then feel bad for two. But now it’s been 10 or 11 days of feeling good. It’s just a matter of getting in shape and getting ready for the game.

On the difficulty of setbacks:
It’s definitely tough on you. When it first happened, I didn’t think much of it. I’ve never had a concussion before, so it was hard for it to sink in. I would get up and feel fine for most of the day. Then for four hours you’d have a terrible headache. I’ve never felt that before, but thank God it’s over.  It wasn’t fun.

On when he was sure he was symptom free:
It seemed like it was every week. I’d feel fine one day and I would think I was over the hump. Then the next three days would be terrible. Then, it just went away. I went one day, and I went two days, and the next thing you know I wasn’t even thinking about it anymore and I was feeling normal. I was training and I felt fine.

On his conditioning:
I could definitely play (Tuesday), but I don’t think I’d be too effective out there trying to play my style. So I’m going to give it a few days of getting in shape, working on some things in practice and be ready for Sunday. I’m hoping, if I can get in the lineup.

Jordan Staal

On seeing Sidney Crosby skating:
It was very nice to see. It was very uplifting for the group to know that he’s on a step forward.

On how long it took him to feel in shape after his injury:
It takes some time. I was able to work out during and stuff like that. Sid’s going to have a tough stretch ahead of him, but he’s got the mind to do it, and he’ll find a way to get himself in the right shape to be back.

On if a month is enough time to get back into shape:
I wouldn’t really know. Obviously, with a concussion, you can’t do much and it’s very difficult. You don’t get the heart rate up much, so it will be tough to get back into shape. I’m not sure how it’s going to work, but I’m sure Sid will do just fine.

Marc-Andre Fleury

On seeing Sidney Crosby back on the ice:
I think everyone is really happy. I’m really happy for him especially. I know he’s a guy who loves hockey, so it must have been hard to be out of the game for so long. It was nice to see him this morning with a smile, and it seems like he had some fun.

On when he found out Crosby was getting close to being back on the ice:
Never, really. I didn’t want to bother him with it, every day asking him ‘how’s your head.’ We would just talk about something else. The main thing is for him to be healthy to come back. We don’t want him to feel pressured. I think he has to make sure he’s healthy and ready to go.

On not bugging players about injuries:
Usually, if you break something, like Brooks Orpik broke his finger, we know he’s going to be out maybe a month. That’s easier, but when you have a concussion, there’s no set date. There’s no time frame, so we leave him alone with that to get healthy.

No. 1 seed in the Southeast Region: Tony Jovenitti

12:56 PM:
Here's the video of Crosby's Q and A with the media:

12:49 PM:
Bylsma also gave a plethora of injury updates.

"Arron Asham returned to practice today. It was his first time with the team and he will not be traveling with us tomorrow, given the fact that it’s one day. But he will return to practice with us next week.

"Comrie, Orpik and Tangradi all skated off the ice today. And Nick Johnson will be joining them tomorrow. It will be his first time on the ice, it is a progression for him.

"Kris Letang went to a scheduled appointment to be evaluated by a doctor just as a precautionary (action) from the hit he received last night.

"And I think you know Sidney Crosby skated today. He has been symptom free for some time now. He has been exercising off the ice, and this was the next step in his progression, getting on the ice. In no way, shape or form is there any time table at this point in time. This is just the next step for him, to get on the ice and to be able to exercise."

12:40 PM:
Per Bylsma, Matt Niskanen is still not well enough to travel with the flu bug that he has that saw him miss Sunday's game. He will be joining the team hopefully after the Ottawa game.

"We are going to have to call up a player (from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton), which we will do this afternoon," Bylsma said when asked how the team would play defensively with Niskanen out for Tuesday's game.

12:26 PM:
We transcribed Crosby's entire Q and A with the media. Click here to read it!

12:20 PM:
Asham said he will not be playing Tuesday vs. Ottawa, but is hopeful to play Sunday vs. New York Rangers.

"No, I won’t be ready for (Tuesday). I’m hoping for Sunday," he said. "So we’ll see how things go, but I feel good out there. Everything’s going well."

11:55 AM:
Pens pics...

Neal (left); road roomies Neal and Conner (right)

Engelland (left)

Neal and Dupuis (left); can you spot Asham? (right)

11:41 AM:
Sorry for the late updates from practice everyone. We just returned from Sidney Crosby's chat with the media in the Pens locker room. The full transcript is on its way at the 12:26 PM entry, or you can click here to read it.

Arron Asham is partaking in practice with the team this morning. Matt Niskanen, who missed Sunday's game with the flu, is not on the ice. We'll get updates from coach Bylsma on their respective statuses after practice.

10:20 AM:
PensTV was all over Sid's skate. They caught him on camera! Watch it here:

10:07 AM:
More absolutely phenomenal news on the injury front, as Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was on the ice in full equipment this morning. Get the full details here, as sat down for an exclusive interview with him.

Crosby heading off the ice after his workout

9:42 AM:
Great news on the injury front for the Pens as forward Eric Tangradi is back on the ice. Tangradi, who has been out of the lineup with a concussion suffered Feb. 11 at NY Islanders, is skating with Brooks Orpik and Mike Comrie right now.

Tangradi getting ready to do some drills with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar

Comrie (left); Orpik (right)
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