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Penguins Report: Game Day at Calgary

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Staal will be in the lineup vs. Calgary (12:30 PM).
  • No Orpik for Saturday and Sunday's games (12:38 PM).
  • PensTV Game Day Report for the masses (2:42 PM).
  • Optional practice: No Asham, Malkin, Martin or Sullivan (11:33 AM).
  • Staal on the ice for Pens' optional morning skate (11:33 AM).
  • Scouting the Flames (9:38 AM).
  • HCDB talks Staal, Flames and Orpik (1:23 PM).
  • Staal and Michalek spit knowledge (12:51 PM).
  • Last look at Vancouver victory (9:20 AM).
  • Pens pics (12:55 PM).
  • Flames hot pics (11:02 AM).
  • Adams gives me the death stare (9:40 AM).

Here is today's edition of the Game Day Report. Watch me do my best Steve Mears impersonation. I'm certainly no Mearsy, but I tried my best.

Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On Jordan Staal:
He's good to go for tonight. Marc-Andre Fleury will be in the net.

On the players who weren't on the ice being OK, just choosing not to skate:
It was an optional skate, so yeah. Their participation had nothing to do with injuries or anything.

On if there was more concern he wouldn't have Staal in Vancouver when he first left the game vs. now:
None really at all. A couple guys in that game were dealing with heat. It was hot in the building, so there was maybe a little more (dehydration and cramping) than they expected. There was a little bit of dehydration and a little bit of cramping from some other guys as well. I didn’t really think Jordan would have any problem.

On if there's anything different he'd like to see tonight he didn't see in Vancouver:
I think the game in particular for us — the way we started — was good. I think the first 30 minutes or so was a lot like the way we wanted to play. But in general, we executed and managed the puck like it was a first game and we were trying to be at Game 60. We turned the puck over more — by our standards — way more than we're accustomed to, and need to, to play the way we want to play. That's what kind of happened in the game. It became a little scrambly for us. They got some offensive zone time and were effective, and a lot of that was us managing the puck and not executing to our standard and what we need to do to get to our game. For Game 1, we liked the pace. We liked what we were able to do. Our power play was good, but we think we can play a lot better in a lot of different areas. Largely, it's execution and puck management.

On the matchup with the Flames without Sidney Crosby:
It's their home opener. It's their Game 1. They're a team in the second half of last season that talked a lot about finding their identity — that was a straightforward forecheck, grind 'em down, offensive zone (style of play). That is the identity of their team and that's what we expect from them right off the hop tonight. We expect it to be that way from them. They have a good group of guys to do that. That will be the challenge of tonight's game. I read the comments from last year's game and got my notes from last year about the game Sidney Crosby played, but we're going to have our team try to play the same way without Sid as well. We'll see if we can't get better at our game and maybe play the same way in the opposite end.

On going through a home opener in Vancouver help for tonight:
We're going to get practice here the first three games, so we better get good at it. I'm glad that the type of ceremony and the buildup is a home opener. It's a little bit different going out for that. The building is a little amped up, the opposition is a little amped up, it's a little bit helter-skelter and there's a lot of energy out there. Thee's a lot of nervous energy in the building because of the home opener and because of that scenario. But I think the good thing is that it's the beginning of the season. Teams aren't at their A game. You'd hate to be in that situation where a team comes out and plays us in Game 60 and has their A game. That'd be tough to deal with. But our execution and a lot of our puck management isn't where it needs to be quite yet. Generally, every team is not quite firing at full cylinder. So the energy is a little helter-skelter. You try to calm down and execute plays so you can get rid of some of that nervous energy.

On Brooks Orpik being close:
I think right now, being on the road and playing back-to-back games (Saturday) and (Sunday), it's a situation where we don't want to even entertain the idea of (Brooks) playing both of these games. So Brooks is close; he's improving. But we're still in a situation where we don't want to put Brooks the player in a situation where he's going to go backwards by playing X amount of minutes or back-to-back games. So we're still managing that and finding the right time for him to get in the lineup. He is improving though.

Lovin' Life: Michelle Crechiolo

Pens morning skate pics...

Pens gather for the game plan (left); Staal will play against Flames - boo ya!! (right)

Orpik will not play vs. Flames or Oilers (left); Goaltender quality time (right)

Is that net in the right spot? (left); Big Mac Attack (right)

I decided to give Richy Park some love. Big 12 in the house!

Sounds heard around the Saddledome visitors locker room...

Jordan Staal
On what happened to him:
It was just a hot building, I guess, and I guess my body sweats a lot and I got a lot of cramps. My legs started seizing up on me. I tried a couple shifts and could barely make it through, so maybe I’ll drink a little bit more water.
On if he’s good for tonight:
On if there had been any concern that he wouldn’t be playing today:
On how warm Rogers Arena was:
It was hot, yeah. I think a lot of guys on the team were cramping. It just seemed that I got the worst of it. I’ve never had it like that before. Hopefully it won’t happen again.
On what he had to do Friday to ensure he’d be OK today:
Not much. Just kind of rested. A lot of fluids and a lot of rest.

Zbynek Michalek
On his brother Milan and Matt Cooke being tied for theleague lead in goals:
We’ll see who’s going to keep it going. I think it’s good for both guys and I’m really happy for the both of them. ‘Cookie’ went through some tough times last season, and it’s nice to see him get in the scoring sheet. He was a big reason why we won that first game. For my brother, I’m really happy for him too even though his team lost the game. He got two goals and I think it’s a good start and a good confidence builder for him. He had a tough year last year with injuries, so I’m really happy for the both of them.
On if Cooke will have to continue to prove himself all year long:
I think he’s doing a great job. You could see it in the first game, he’s playing hard and he was the main reason why we won the game. He plays hard all the time even though he’s trying to be careful not to run around too much like he did before, maybe. He’s a big part of our team. He’s doing a great job on the penalty kill and he’s providing some offense right now. So I think he’s letting all the distractions go on the side. He’s just focusing on his play and he’s playing well.
On how to defend Jarome Iginla and the rest of Calgary’s offense:
It’s going to be a tough challenge. Obviously Iginla’s been one of the top players in the league for so many years. That’s for a reason. He’s the leader of their team and he plays hard every single night, every singleshift. They’re a good offensive team and they play hard, especially in this building. They come hard on the forecheck. They’re a fast team. It’s going to be a challenge to try to spend as much time in our offensive zone as possible and don’t give them the puck and second chances. (Marc-Andre Fleury) is going to save the first shots, and we’ve just got to make sure we clear those rebounds

Assist: Michelle Crechiolo

Bylsma just announced that defenseman Brooks Orpik will not play tonight vs. Calgary or on Sunday vs. Edmonton. Orpik, who also missed Thursday's season opener vs. Vancouver, is still recovering from offseason lower abdominal/hernia surgery on his right side and though he's close, has said he does not want to rush back.

Jordan Staal WILL play tonight!! Staal confirmed that he is ready to go for tonight's game. When asked if he'll play against the Flames he said "yes." When asked if there was any doubt that he wouldn't play, he said "No."

Good news: center Jordan Staal is on the ice for the Pens' optional morning skate.

The only players not on the ice are Evgeni Malkin, Arron Asham, Steve Sullivan and Paul Martin. They've opted out. 

Flames pics that are too hot to handle...

Even on one knee Jay Bouwmeester is listed as 6-foot-2 (left); Iginla back in action - get it? (right)

Kiprusoff vogues (left); Olli Jokinen puts the O in OMG - seriously (right)

Coach counts the pucks to pass time (left); a C of Red is invading the Saddledome - or at least it's invading part of one corner of the ice in the Saddledome (right)

Flame thrower (left); Forget walking on hot coals, how about skating over an open flame....burn (right)

Giordano is about to punish that puck (left); Kiprusoff gives himself a hug for making a save...yay!! (right)

We have arrived at the rink. The Flames have a 10:30 am morning skate with the Pens following at 11:30 am. Flames players are starting to make their way onto the ice.

Playing Calgary is always special for Craig Adams, who was raised in the city and even had season tickets for Flames games. Adams, always a gentleman, gave us an exclusive 1-on-1 interview Friday after practice.

For the details on Calgary, Michelle Crechiolo scouts the Flames. For a deeper look at the Flames click here.

The Pens continue their Western Canadian swing Saturday night with a date with the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. A few lineup questions for the Pens entering the game are the status of center Jordan Staal and defenseman Brooks Orpik.

Staal left the team's 4-3 shootout win in Vancouver Thursday night with dehydration. He was given a maintenance day off Friday with cramping, but head coach Dan Bylsma expects him to be ready to go against the Flames.

Orpik, who had abdominal surgery in the summer on his right side, did not play against the Canucks though he is close to returning to action. Orpik has said he won't rush back until he is ready.

Before we turn all of our attention to Calgary, here's one last look at the Pens' 4-3 shootout triumph against defending Western Conference champion Vancouver.

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