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Penguins Report: Crosby Wants More Intensity from Penguins

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins are still bruised from their 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Though there are a number of factors that the loss can be attributed to, Sidney Crosby had a unique perspective on the issue.


“We didn’t hate Philly enough on Saturday,” Crosby said. “They had more intensity. They wanted it more. They deserved to win. You shouldn’t say that after a game. It shouldn’t happen. We have to make sure that we bounce back.”

The Flyers ran to a 5-1 lead in the game and rung up four power-play goals to pull ahead of Pittsburgh and into second place of the Atlantic Division standings.

“We didn’t match their intensity,” Crosby said. “You have to have that intensity. You have to have that willingness to go out there and compete on every shift because they certainly did. If you don’t match that, especially on the road, you’re going to be in trouble."

We didn’t hate Philly enough on Saturday. They had more intensity. They wanted it more. They deserved to win. - Sidney Crosby
Some media have suggested the Penguins rested on the laurels of their 9-2 win over the New York Islanders two nights prior. Crosby believes that is not the case.

“They just came out with more intensity," Crosby said. "That’s the bottom line. I don’t think it had anything to do with the game before. We don't hate them enough right now. They outworked us early and we had it tough getting back into it.”

Fatigue may have also played into the outcome. The Flyers’ game was the fourth game in less than six days for Pittsburgh. It was also the seventh game in less than 11 days.

“I think the schedule may have had something to do with it,” Crosby said. “However many games we played over the course of three weeks, it might have been just something that mentally and physically we were drained.

"We need to get up for a game such as that. It might have been a little bit more difficult. We have to learn from it. We have to have that intensity, that willingness. Unfortunately, there were a few different reasons why we didn’t but we can’t let that happen.”


> The Penguins held an optional practice on Monday afternoon at Southpointe. Ten players participated in the practice: forwards Eric Godard, Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Pascal Dupuis, Tim Wallace, defensemen Kris Letang, Ryan Whitney and Alex Goligoski and goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Dany Sabourin.

“I think it’s good to have (practice) optional today,” Sabourin said. “The guys that needed some rest took it.”
     
 

 
     

“Practice is very important,” Crosby said. “We haven’t had a lot of opportunities that last two or three weeks to practice.”

The Penguins game-heavy schedule forced the coaching staff to limit their practices to keep the players well rested for games. Pittsburgh will likely hold full practices on Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for its showdown with the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday.

“Practice is going to be good for us to get back on track with our system and all of that kind of stuff,” Sabourin said. “We had so many games. That was a tough schedule the last two weeks.”

“We played so many games in such a short period of time,” Dupuis said. “It’ll be good to get a couple practices here and rest the body too. It takes a beating when you play that many games in such a short period of time. Maybe being home and practicing will help us.”


> The Penguins are close to getting two former first-round picks back in the lineup. Fleury (first overall in 2003) and Whitney (fifth overall in 2002) are on the cusp of seeing game action for Pittsburgh.

Fleury could be back in the net for the Penguins on Thursday in Atlanta.

“We have to talk with the coaches,” Fleury said about starting in goal against the Thrashers. “We’ll see what they decide to do.”

Whitney, who has been out all year after offseason foot surgery, ruled out Thursday for a return though he is eyeing some of the following games.

I’d like to be in before Christmas. I know we have a game against Tampa (Dec. 23) right before Christmas. Possibly that, but I really don’t know. - Ryan Whitney
“Not against Atlanta, but I’m hoping soon there after,” Whitney said. “I’d like to be in before Christmas. That was the goal the whole time. I didn’t really say. I know we have a game against Tampa (Dec. 23) right before Christmas. Possibly that, but I really don’t know. It’s tough to say right now.”

Either way, the possibility of getting two key contributors back is good sign. The Penguins have been decimated by injuries, especially on the blue line. As many as seven regulars have been sidelined.

Fleury was deemed healthy enough to backup Sabourin on Saturday against Philadelphia and was ready to play if called upon. He’s been practicing for the past two weeks and will have to work off some the rust of missing a month to an undisclosed injury Fleury suffered on Nov. 15.

“Sometimes I felt a little slow,” Fleury said. “Catching pucks, I got mad a couple times. I think stamina is one of the big things to get back but timing is a little different. That’s where you need the games, to be at the right spot at the right time to catch those pucks.

“It’s coming back slowly. With a couple practices it should feel better. We have practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning. That should be fine. I’ll try my best for sure. I can’t wait to get back. It’s been a while. I’m pretty excited to come back and try to make some saves.”


> Sabourin and Fleury had a new look at practice. The duo wore new pads, blockers and gloves.

“We got the new gear for the third jersey, the vintage (gear),” Sabourin said. “We’re going to use those against Toronto on Saturday (Dec. 20).”

We got the new gear for the third jersey, the vintage (gear). We’re going to use those against Toronto on Saturday (Dec. 20). - Dany Sabourin
The new equipment, sent to the goalies courtesy of Reebok, was supposed to be dark brown in color to look like the goaltending gear from the 1970s and 80s. However, the equipment was very light and had a gold-ish tint to it.

“It’s not dark enough for what I was hoping for,” Fleury said. “It’s supposed to look like the old style with the blue jerseys. We were looking for brown pads like back in the day. It’s not too bad though.”

So what color would the goalies categorize the new equipment?

“It looks a little bit yellow, dark yellow,” Fleury said.

“Caramel or French mustard, Dijon mustard,” Sabourin joked.

The Penguins netminders will spend the next couple of days breaking in the new equipment. But they won’t wear the gear next season.

“At the end of the year we’re going to pick a charity, then we’re going to sell (the equipment) and give the money to the charity,” Sabourin said. “It’s a good cause.”


> He said it: Crosby on the Consol Energy Center:

“That’s great. It’s good that they have that settled. It’s one more step and it has a nice ring to it. So that’s good.”

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