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Penguins Report: 3/17/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Crosby skated for third time with no setbacks (11:27 AM).
  • Crosby chat with the media (11:36 AM).
  • Bylsma’s injury updates (11:43 AM).
  • Comrie returns to team practice (10:25 AM).
  • Pens’ lines (10:45 AM).
  • The players do some West Point team building (12:45 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Orpik, Marines and Rangers (12:31 PM).
  • Fleury, Talbot and Jeffrey spit knowledge (12:41 PM).
  • Practice pics (12:39 PM).
  • “Your sorry eyes, they cut through bone. They make it hard to leave you alone…” (9:30 AM).

12:45 PM:
Following practice the players participated in a "team building" session. The team was run through some West Point drills by JB Spizzo.

12:41 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Marc-Andre Fleury
On the New York Rangers:
I think every time we played them it's always been a tough game. They are battling for the playoffs. We are battling to stay where we are. It should be a fun game to play in.
On getting a rest in between games for four days:
I think it is not a bad thing that we have these days off. Our schedule has been a little busy. We can take those days for a couple of guys who have a couple of pains to get ready. Everybody will be fresh and ready to go.
On if it matters what position the Penguins finish in:
The main thing is to win the playoffs. But our goal is to always be on top and we are not too far away from it.  We want to finish first, but once the playoffs start it doesn't really matter. Once it starts you see a lot of upsets and stuff like that. I think it is a challenge for the team to finish first. But I think from previous experience it is important to have home ice at the start and to have the crowd behind you.  

Maxime Talbot
On getting some rest with no game for four days:
I think it's really good for us. Right now we have been playing a lot of hockey, especially in February, 14 games in 28 nights. It’s tough. Right before that big stretch towards the end of the season it is nice to have a little break and get re-focused. We have done well up until this point so we have to try and get better and get ready for the playoffs.
On the New York Rangers:
At this point of the season most teams are pushing for playoffs or home-ice advantage. Every team wants to win whether there in or out. Even teams who are not in the playoffs have something to prove so every game is going to be huge. The Rangers are always a good match up and they are obviously a division rival. Maybe in the playoffs we will get a chance to play them. So it is an important game.

Dustin Jeffrey
On having four days off:
I think it is a positive if you look at practice today and the guys that came back and had a full practice with us. It was a chance for those guys to skate. We had Comrie out there with us and Asham. It is a chance for our team to get healthy before the last push.
On getting guys back:
I think it is awesome. We went through a tough stretch there and we had a lot of injuries. But to see a lot of guys come back on the ice is just going to help us make that push coming into the playoffs.
Dodgy haircut: Joe Prince-Wright

12:39 PM:
Pens pics...

Cooke (left)

Dupuis (right)

Fleury (left)

Comrie (left)

12:31 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On if it’s good to have these days off before they hit the final stretch or if they would have liked to continue building off their two wins:

No, this is a fairly rare thing to happen, four days off at this point in the season. March is usually a real hectic game schedule, and it’s been that way for us. But a chance to get some rest and regroup and to take two days off at this point to give the guys a chance to rejuvenate and to get ready for that push, we are playing a lot of hockey in the next few days coming up. Some big games, so we’ll use these four days wisely.

On what they’re building today as a team:

It’s an extension of kind of what we’ve been building throughout the year with our team and some of the things we’ve built into our team in terms of what we want to see from our guys and work ethic, accountability and leadership. Some of those themes are being talked about today, and bringing JB (Spizzo) in is – you don’t have to be around long to get the fresh dose. Guys are out with him, they’re going to have some fun today, but also having kind of an off-ice experience that will hopefully help out here. This is, I think, the third or fourth year we’ve worked with JB. He’s from West Point. He came in last year with our team and he sends us text messages and messages along the way throughout the year. So a lot of guys are familiar, some of the new guys will be getting their first taste of JB. But he’s been a guy who’s done different exercises, did different team building things. He’s been a part of our team for a couple of years now.

On Kovalev being okay with all of the Marine stuff

(Laughs) We’ll see. AK-27, that’s kind of like Marine talk, isn’t it? So we’ll see. He was out there doing a good job when I came in here.

On what JB’s full name is:

It’s sir, to me and you.

On previewing the Rangers, who are a desperate team:
We’ve definitely been in this situation, it seems like quite a few times in the last four or five games where the team we’re playing has a lot to play for, is almost in a playoff type of mode. I really think the importance of the game is that we want to focus on catching Philly, and the games leading up to those games are really meaningful if that’s the case. So we need to be focused on making each game count until we get to Philly, and it starts with the Rangers game coming up. So that’s going to be our focus in that game, putting our playoff game forward so we can hopefully get as many points as we can before we play Philly.

On if he has an ETA on Brooks Orpik at all:

I don’t. I don’t have my calendar in front of me so I don’t know where he’s at day-wise, but I think we’ve passed three weeks. So four weeks would be next Wednesday. So hopefully sometime next week we’ll see him return to practice. But that depends on making sure he progresses with the injury. But that would be something we’d like to see.

Buzzer beater: Michelle Crechiolo

11:43 AM:
Coach Bylsma said that Mark Letestu is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Bylsma also gave a plethora of status updates on the rest of the injured Pens:

"(Arron) Asham again in practice today with the full team. (Mike) Comrie was out there with us, it was his first practice. They’re both working on their conditioning and timing and getting back with the group, but they're out there with us.

"Nick Johnson and Eric Tangradi continue to progress off the ice, skating with Brooks Orpik. But they’re probably a ways away in their progression to getting back with the team.

"(Evgeni) Malkin, obviously continuing his rehab.

"And Crosby, to follow up what Sid addressed today, just progressing slowly, following instructions from the doctors and he’s in contact with them about how he’s feeling and his progression. If he skates, or if he doesn’t skate, or what he does off the ice, is based on the doctors’ protocol and following that program. It doesn’t mean necessarily that he’s having a good day or a bad day. But he is progressing back, there is no timetable for his return. And as far as us, he’s really not on the radar whether we’re discussing whether he is going to return to play or not. It is really not on the radar yet. So there’s no timetable, and good to see him on the ice and good to see him progressing. But he’s following that protocol closely.

Bylsma was then asked if Dustin Jeffrey would be the logical guy to step into the center position between James Neal and Alex Kovalev. His response:

"Yes. That would be the original thought. As the game wound down there in Ottawa, (Jeffrey) did step into that spot and play between those two guys. One of the goals they got was with him at center. So yes."

11:36 AM:
Crosby's chat with the media...

On skating three of the last four days:
I haven’t really done anything different. All three days have been pretty much the same. Right now we’re just progressively moving slowly and trying to get back into the swing of things. It feels good just have gear on.

On what he’s done:
Just trying to start real slow. I don’t want symptoms and I don’t want to rush anything. It’s not something you can rush. I know it’s going to take time. From the way I feel out there and not doing anything for two and a half months, you feel it. It’s nice to get out there. I don’t really have a plan for skating everyday or anything like that. I’m kind of just going with the progression and what they’re telling me.

On if he’s worried he’ll get symptoms after a skate:
You don’t want to think about it. That’s the worst thing you can do. That day I just tried to keep it as normal as possible and not think about it. If you get through one day of that, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods or anything. I try not to put too much pressure on that one day. On top of that I started pretty slow. It was nice to get through it, a small victory. It’s just a matter of getting through each day, progressing and hopefully not having symptoms.

On when he’ll skate longer and make the workout more intense:
That’s not really up to me. I give doctors feedback and they tell me what I should expect and their plan and how I should feel. There’s a lot of communicating to be honest. Everybody’s different. The important thing is that they know how you feel and as long as they know that they’ll guide you in the right direction. We’ve been able to work pretty effectively with that.

On if he’s had any setbacks:
No, it’s been good.

11:27 AM:

Sidney Crosby confirmed with the media that he skated today for the third time in the past four days with no setbacks. Crosby had the same workload today (15 minutes on the ice with some stick-handling and puck work).

10:45 AM:
Comrie is indeed practicing with the team for the first time since his hip surgery. Matt Niskanen is also back with the team. Mark Letestu is not on the ice for the Pens. Here are the lines from practice:



10:25 AM:
Mike Comrie is on the ice with the regular practice team right now. It looks like he'll be practicing with his teammates for the first time since having hip surgery - another great sign on the injury front.

9:30 AM:
The Pens had the day off Wednesday, but are back on the ice for practice Thursday at Southpointe for a 10:30 a.m. session. The Pens have an unusually long break between games, as they aren't back in action until Sunday at 12:30 p.m. against NY Rangers on NBC.

Today we're going to start the day with a special request from my adorable friend Laura. She has been asking me to play Beck for quite some time now. Beck is one of the most experimental musicians to date. His sound has covered pretty much every genre of music from acoustic stripped down to dance machine revved up, grunge rock to hip hop.

Beck broke on the scene in the mid-90s with "Loser." He followed that with other hits like "Where it's at," "Devil's Haircut," and "New Pollution." I admit I've never been a fan of his more "dance" sound. Plus, I don't think these songs truly showed the musical mastery and potential that Beck has as a songwriter and producer.

However, Beck's album Sea Change may be one of the most extraordinary compilations of songs put together on one record. The entire album was inspired by Beck's breakup with his fiancé after discovering that she had been cheating on him. There is no better way to get over a woman than by turning her into art.

Sea Change is the best album I've ever heard to fully capture the heartbreak and torture of the end of a relationship. For Sea Change, Beck discarded his old upbeat tech sound and odd, meaningless lyrics for something much, much more real. He went with real instruments to produce his sound - dominated by the acoustic guitar - and all the lyrics were sincere and dealt with the end of relationship. Beck's melancholy bleeds through the entire record. Anyone that's ever dealt with heartbreak, isolation and loneliness (meaning everyone) will understand the power of Sea Change.

So we'll start the day with two tracks from the record. Below is "Lost Cause."

And here is Beck performing "I Guess I'm Doing Fine" on my favorite television show growing up, Conan O'Brien. Enjoy.

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