Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins Report: 3/16/12

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Asham & Johnson don't practice (2:50 PM).
  • Pens' lines (2:55 PM).
  • Crosby adds off-day assist in comeback (1:45 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Asham, the PP & more (4:57 PM).
  • Crosby, Malkin & Letang spit knowledge (4:28 PM).
  • Unlocking the Vault (2:08 PM).
  • Pens pics (3:06 PM).
  • “Clouds covered love's barb-wired snare…” (1:30 PM).

4:57 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On working so much on the PP at practice:
We usually practice power plays on game days. With two games in the afternoon we won’t get a chance to do that the next two days. It’s a new look and different feel so we’re trying to get as many practices as we can with power play.

On Asham missing practice:
He’s just ill.

On keeping the puck away from Martin Brodeur:
His touches against our team are significantly higher than other goaltenders. He comes out of the net a lot and plays the puck a lot. That’s always something we have to look at going into a game against their team. If we can keep those down with puck management and execution it will lead to us to playing more of how we need to play and where we need to play.

On Letang’s return:
I don’t think it’s talked about as much or is as big of a focus (as Crosby). There aren’t as many media people coming to the game if it’s just Kris Letang coming back. The last time we played in Madison Square Garden, not Thursday but the previous time, Kris came back in that game as well. Immediately you feel his presence on the ice with the way he skates and defends and goes back for pucks. He’s a very, very good player in his own right. He’s a top defenseman in the league. You feel him on the ice for our team. He logs a lot of minutes.

On what Crosby and Letang did in Thursday’s game:
Kris was a plus-5. Two or three times (Marc-Andre Fleury) made saves when we had a breakdown. Kris had a 3-on-1 against him. He also had a 2-on-1 against him. Fleury made a big save and (Carl) Hagelin missed the net on the other one. Getting him back and having 25 minutes of hockey, on the power play, on the penalty kill, it’s a significant guy getting back into our lineup. I think Paul Martin and Letang is a tough pair to play against, in addition to Orpik and Michalek as a pair.

On pairing Letang and Martin:
They played the last three or four games before they got hurt and were together. It was going well, defending well. Their skating attribute is the best way they defend. It’s not as physical as Orpik and Michalek. Maybe they're not as defensive minded as that pair, but with their skating ability, stick positioning and positioning, they’re a really good defending pair.

On Crosby’s minutes going forward:
It’s a lot of hockey with three (games) in four (days) to get tossed back into. He had a skate problem at the end of the first period with 3:45 left to go. He probably would have gotten another shift. I still would want to try to minimize situations where we’d normally put him out. At the end of the second period we had a 4-on-4 and he was our best at that time on draws. I felt like I had to put him out there for that 30 seconds to defend and win that draw. I didn’t want to give him that 30 seconds, but I put him out there in that case with 30 seconds left in the period. I wanted him in that defensive position on the draw. It’s tough not to put him out there every time when you want to lean on him. I’m still going to try and keep his minutes not at full go yet.

--Sam Kasan

4:28 PM:
Sounds heard around the visitors locker room...

Sidney Crosby

On working on the power play:
It’s for everyone. You want to make sure you’re going over all the details. The more time we can do it, the better. Obviously we’re playing a lot of games so if we can get it in practice it’s good to get it in.

On having trouble against the Devils:
I’m sure a lot of teams have said the same thing, it’s the way they play. They’re pretty stingy. They’re committed to playing that way and they stick with it. It’s just a matter of getting those second opportunities and finding ways to put it in. There’s no special thing you have to do. You just have to do the little things and find pucks around the net. (Martin) Brodeur has played well against us. It’s a big reason why. We still have to find ways to put the puck in.

On getting in a practice before back-to-back games;
It’s good. The games are getting more and more important as the season goes. That’s what we’re going to see. We’ll be facing big games and we have to keep moving forward. You put that one behind us and look to (Saturday).

On his ice time:
I felt pretty good at 16 (minutes). It was probably the perfect tempo. With all the adrenaline and things like that and the games that follow can sometimes be tougher. We’ll stick around there and see how things go. Sometimes it’s out of your control. We’ll see how the game goes, but I thought that was a pretty good number and I felt good with that.

Evgeni Malkin

On Crosby playing the point on the power play:
It doesn’t matter. We know how to play. It’s not just Sid at the point. We move the puck and skate. We try to move and change positions. It doesn’t work 100 percent every game, but we try to work on it in practice. We didn’t score against the Rangers, but we’ll see for (Saturday).

On the team being healthy:
It’s been a long time. I hope it’s a long time that we’ll play together.

On the Devils:
It’s a good, tough team. They are good in the defensive zone. They have a great goalie. I think it’s a good game. We’ll play in the afternoon. Guys will be fresh and should be great hockey for the fans.

Kris Letang

On how he feels:
I feel pretty good. I try to get as much as I can in practice. It’s a different look on the power play so it’s fun to have another day of practice. It was a good practice and there’s a lot to take from it.

On the power play:
You can’t be disappointed when you have Crosby, Malkin, (James) Neal and (Chris) Kunitz on the power play. It’s a fun look. That’s a lot of talent. It’s just a question of putting all of those things together. If we create chances we’ll be rewarded.

On if they’ll make too many passes on the PP:
There is always a danger for that. You want to keep it simple in the beginning. Make sure you put the puck on net and create chances. At the same time, when you have players that can make those passes then you want them to do it.

On the Devils:
We have to focus on our game plan and focus on ourselves, make sure we come ready to play. The rest will be taken care of, it’s just a question of being ready and doing the work.

--Sam Kasan

3:06 PM:
The Pens are practicing on the Devils' practice rink at Prudential center. It's about a 300-foot (roughly) walk from the visitors locker room to the ice. The team walks along a long, long red carpet to get there.

--Sam Kasan

2:55 PM:
Pens' line rushes...

(Jeffrey, Park)

--Sam Kasan

2:50 PM:
Practice is underway. Forward Arron Asham and goalie Brent Johnson are the only missing skaters. Crosby and Letang are on the ice.

--Sam Kasan

2:08 PM:
It's Friday, so let's open up the Pens Vault and see what we find. This video, made in 2002, highlights some of the most dramatic moments in the franchise's first 35 years of existence.

--Sam Kasan

1:45 PM:
There was a scoring change from the Pens-Rangers contest. An assist has been added to Sidney Crosby on Pascal Dupuis' third-period goal. Crosby tipped Kris Letang's slap shot on net. Dupuis located the rebound and scored. The scoring is now goal by Dupuis with assists to Crosby and Letang. So that means Crosby had two assists in his comeback game.

Crosby's so good he doesn't even have to play games to get points (that's a joke obviously...kind of).

--Sam Kasan

1:30 PM:
Good afternoon from New Jersey! The Pens will hit the ice for a roughly 2 p.m. practice at Prudential Center. They will finish up a three-game road trip this weekend against the Devils (Saturday, 1 p.m.) and Philadelphia Flyers (Sunday, 12:30 p.m.).

But the big story is the return of Sidney Crosby after a 40-game absence. With the captain back in the lineup, the Pens inched closer to the Rangers in the Atlantic Division/Eastern Conference standings with a 5-2 win at Madison Square Garden Thursday night.

PensTV was on the scene to document Crosby's return. PensTV producer Mark Cottington did a great job in piecing all of this together, including pulling an all-nighter so that it was ready for fans in the morning. So click below to see Crosby's return. Don't let Mark's hard work go to waste.


After watching the Pens Insider on Crosby's return I can't get the Black Keys "Gold on the Ceiling" song out of my head. The video has some similarities with the Pens Insider video. They both open with beauty shots of New York City and has behind-the-scenes footage.

Anyways, enjoy.  

--Sam Kasan
View More