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Penguins Report: 4/7/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Pens lines at practice (11:03 AM).
  • Prospect Despres named Defensemen of the Year (11:44 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma on the Islanders’ game (1:04 PM).
  • Asham, Orpik and Dupuis spit knowledge (1:06 PM).
  • Pens pics (11:46 AM).
  • “Know me broken by my master…” (10:00 AM).

1:06 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Arron Asham
On if there is a fine line between starting a fight and defending yourselves:
We are definitely going to defend ourselves. But we are not looking to brawl it up. It is an important game for us we are fighting for first in our division and second overall in our conference. We are going to go in there and approach it like any other game.
On the fact that it is such an important game that fighting won't occur:
I think so. Definitely It is pretty important to us, we have the playoffs just around the corner and they are playing for nothing. We are just going to try and take care of ourselves and try to stay out of trouble and get this postseason going.
On the Flyers only being one point ahead with two games left:
Last week's game was a big game, but that's the way it goes. We have got two games left and we are looking to take both. We are hoping to slip by Philly, but if that's not the case we are ready to play anyone. We have to beat anyone to get to where we want to go, so we are not too worried.


Brooks Orpik
On the possibility of a physical match against the Islanders:
After all the build up usually nothing happens. People are disappointed that are expecting a lot. They don't have anything to play for. That being said they have been playing really well. They have had some good wins lately. They are still trying to score goals and they have a lot of young guys who are trying to prove themselves.
On not wanting a physical game and just wanting to play hockey:
We just want a hockey game. We have the playoffs so no-one needs to break a hand or a finger or pop a shoulder out doing something stupid. We have a lot more to lose than they do right now. I am sure both teams will be warned by the league, I don't know if they have already but I'm sure they will be.
On having to defend yourself in physical games:
You should never let your guard down, usually that is when you get hurt. The last time we went into that game we weren't really looking for anything. It was kind of weird how it happened because I think they were beating us by five goals.

Pascal Dupuis
On his line's recent impressive performances:
It is all about puck pursuit, velocity and hard work. All three guys on our line track back and we battle for pucks. I think that is what makes us a good line.
On the Islanders and if he expects anything silly from them:
We are not in the same situation at all right now. We are getting ready for the playoffs, they are not making it.
On the way the Islanders might be thinking:
We are not going in there with the mindset of shaking things up. I think way we need to approach it is that it is another game to get us better and to use it to be successful in the playoffs.
On looking back on how ridiculous that last game against the Islanders was:
I was out of there pretty quick! 25 minutes I think I played. It was pretty funny looking from the locker room and seeing two or three guys sitting on the bench at the end.

Posh: Joe Prince-Wright

1:04 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On if he’s heard from the NHL on the upcoming Islanders game:
I don’t have a ton of experience. It happened one time (last year against Boston) and it was the day of the game. Yes, there is a conversation that happens. But basically when you’re in the situation be mindful of your Ps and Qs. For us, there is a lot of meaning in this game. Our sole intent is going in there and playing our style of hockey, getting two points and putting ourselves in a position to secure home ice with two more points, and give ourselves a chance to catch Philly for the top spot in the division.

On waiting to see the Islanders mindset:
It’s something you have to be aware of as a coach. In every game you plan different scenarios and different things. You’re aware of what could happen in the game. This particular situation we are aware of the players on their roster that will be playing in the game. We’re aware of how fast Grabner is, and their goal scorers Tavares and Okposo and Konopka can win faceoffs.

On the playoff picture clearing up for Sunday’s game:
It may mean there is some meaning in that game. I do like that. I really didn’t give it much thought. We know if we win a game then we’re guaranteed home ice. We know we need Phillly to lose two points for us to have a chance to catch them. We need to get two points in Long Island and move on to Atlanta.

On the fine line of defending one’s self and letting things escalate:
We have no intention of repeating what happened in February, however, what happened in February was largely done to us and we had to react. In terms of that, our focus – and we’ll tell it to our players again – our focus is playing our game and winning the two points and dictating the game, the pace and where it’s played. That’s the physical brand. We have physical players. We also have a team that knows how to play together, knows how to stick together. We’ll be ready to play that game our way. We’ll be ready to get the two points. That’s our focus going in there. We also have players that will stick together. Our focus in playing that game and getting two points and securing home ice.

On if Godard and Engelland will play:
Game-time on the roster.

On if he makes roster decisions based on the opponent’s lineup:
We do not have the luxury of knowing who they’ll play until after warmups and we put our lineup in. That really won’t have a bearing on it.

On starting goalie:
That will also be game-time.

11:46 AM:
Practice pics...

Orpik (right)

Johnson (left); coach Reirden (right)

Letang (left); Comrie (right)

Staal (left); Adams (right)

Talbot (left); Kovalev (right)

11:44 AM:
Great news on the prospect front. 2009 first-round draft pick Simon Despres was named the Defenseman of the Year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

11:03 AM:
The Pens have made their way onto the ice at Southpointe in their color schemed jerseys. Crosby is not with the team. No notable absences. Here is the way the lineup looks:

Neal-Letestu-Kovalev (black)
Kunitz-Staal-Kennedy (white)
Conner-Talbot-Dupuis (green)
Rupp-Adams-Asham (yellow)
Tangradi-Comrie-Godard (blue)

Letang-Orpik (black)
Martin-Michalek (white)
Niskanen-Lovejoy-Engelland (yellow)

10:00 AM:
Good afternoon from Southpointe! The Pens have an 11 a.m. practice today before taking a flight to New York. The team will finish up the regular season with a two-game road trip through Long Island and Atlanta.

Meanwhile, the team still sits just one point behind Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division title, and three ahead of Tampa Bay for the No. 4 seed and definite home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. All three teams will be in action Friday night: Pens at Islanders; Flyers at Sabres; Panthers at Lightning.

On another note, on April 5 we honored the memory and passing of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain - my all-time fave. But eerily on that very same date eight years after Kurt passed, we also lost Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley. Kind of a bad day for rock music in general. In tribute to Staley, here is Alice in Chains performing my favorite song by the group, "Would?" at MTV's Unplugged.

After the passing of Cobain, one band did write a song in his memory. The group was For Squirrels and the song was titled "Mighty K.C." as in Kurt Cobain. In further tragedy, the band suffered a horrible van accident while on tour - killing two members. The song has become a posthumous tribute to Cobain and the lost members of For Squirrels. Above all, it really is a great song.


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