AROUND THE RINK (PENGROWTH SADDLEDOME EDITION)
6:45 PM (MOUNTAIN TIME):
Here are some shots following the Penguins morning skate:
The Western Canadian media flooded and overpowered Sidney Crosby
Fans waited outside the Saddledome for autographs. Marc-Andre Fleury
and Ruslan Fedotenko (left) both stopped to sign. As did Crosby, Eric Godard, Dan Bylsma and a few more players.
2:43 PM (MOUNTAIN TIME):
The only adjustments that the Penguins made to their lineup at their Wednesday morning skate was placing Maxime Talbot on the second line with Evgeni Malkin
and Ruslan Fedotenko, a spot Talbot held during the team’s 2009 Stanley Cup championship run.
“The three of them enjoy playing with each other and are comfortable playing with each other,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “The key is for Max to go out and play and bring that grit, puck management and determination that Max brings and adds to that line.”
Talbot has been working all season to strengthen his shoulder, which required offseason surgery. After missing training camp, the preseason and the first two months of the season, Talbot has taken some time to find his game. However, he has made progress over the last few days.
“Max is starting to play better, starting to play more to his games, his strengths, adding that grit and determination,” Bylsma said. “He’s a guy that Geno likes to play with and he compliments Feds’ game as well. We know they can be an affective line together. I’m hoping to get a spark 5-on-5 with those three.”
2:39 PM (MOUNTAIN TIME):
Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik
skated for the first time since suffering an undisclosed injury in Pittsburgh’s 4-1 victory over the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Saturday.
Orpik, who left that game in the first period after playing less than three minutes in the game, skated in sweats and warm up gear for about a half hour after his teammates had finished their Wednesday morning skate.
“It went better than expected,” Orpik said.
Orpik added that with his current rate of progress, he feels that the injury will not keep him sidelined long term.
“As long as it keeps going the way it’s going right now I don’t think it will be very long. It’s a maintenance thing really.”
2:36 PM (MOUNTAIN TIME):
Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar was asked about the hit he landed on the Wild’s Cal Clutterbuck in Pittsburgh’s game at Minnesota on Monday.
The two collided in the third period twice. First, Clutterbuck hit Gonchar and then the Penguins defender got even. On the second hit, Gonchar was assessed a five-minute major interference penalty that the Penguins successfully killed off.
Gonchar talked about this first hit that sparked the feud.
“It was a late hit and his arms were up,” Gonchar said. “He hit me in the head which I thought the NHL was now looking for. I had a chance to hit him and thought the puck would get there. I hit him when the puck would have arrived but the puck stopped halfway there. It was a late hit and he didn’t have the puck. It was a situation in the game.
“I don’t think he was going for a clean hit. In my opinion it was a late hit. His hands were up. That’s why I went back. I have to protect myself. He was going after me and I have to respond to it.”
1:29 PM (MOUNTAIN TIME):
Here are some shots of the Penguins morning skate at Pengrowth Saddledome:
Sergei Gonchar worked on his shot with assistant coach Tony Granato prior to the team's skate.
A large crowd came out to see the Penguins' morning skate.
The Western Canada media was in full force at the Saddledome. They completed crowded the bench area and were also present throughout the rink as well.
12:36 PM (MOUNTAIN TIME):
Defenseman Brooks Orpik
, who missed Monday's game in Minnesota with an undisclosed injury, skated on his own this morning following the Penguins morning skate. Orpik did not wear any equipment and stayed out there for about a half hour.
11:35 AM (MOUNTAIN TIME):
Head coach Dan Bylsma has made a few minor changes to his forward units. Here is how the Penguins skated at the beginning of the morning skate:
11:29 (MOUNTAIN TIME) AM:
The Penguins have hit the ice for their morning skate at Pengrowth Saddledome (Calgary is two hours behind). The Flames had an optional skate earlier today. Keep checking back for pictures and updates as we head into the locker room later for reactions leading up to tonight's tilt.
___________________________________________________________________________11:20 AM (MOUNTAIN TIME):
Here are a couple pictures from Calgary's optional skate: