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Penguins Report: Game Day at Columbus

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Game day final thoughts…

  • Evgeni Malkin is out of the lineup tonight (4:48 PM).
  • Maxime Talbot will play tonight for Pittsburgh (12:59 PM).
  • No lines, no Jackets skate (11:51 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Malkin, Columbus and Talbot playing (12:59 PM).
  • Pics and notes (11:35 AM).
  • Words of wisdom from Crosby, Talbot and Fleury (1:05 PM).
  • Blocked in (11:03 AM).
  • “Freak out and give in, doesn't matter what you believe in…” (9:51 AM).

5:23 PM:

4:48 PM: has learned that forward Evgeni Malkin will not be in the lineup for the Penguins tonight in Columbus. Malkin suffered an undisclosed injury during the team's Thursday win over Atlanta.

1:05 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Sidney Crosby

On preparing for Columbus
You worry about your own game. Now with video you are able to prepare pretty well for a team you don’t see a lot. You can get a pretty good idea. We’ll prepare the same way we do for any other team. If anything there is more emphasis on our own game when you play a team that you don’t see a lot.

On Rick Nash:
He’s a great player and he can beat you in a lot of different ways. He’s big. He uses his size well to protect the puck. He’s got a lot of speed so he’s able to take it to the net, and he has a great shot. He’s dangerous and hard guy to handle. When you play guys like that it takes a collective unit. You’ve got to be in the right places. At the same time he’s going to get his chances.

On turning the season around:
It’s a bit of a challenge. You’re going to go through things like that. It’s a long season. Hopefully we’re past it and don’t have to deal with it. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes you play well and don’t win. Sometimes you have to get back to the basics. The last 10 games we’ve done that and found our game. It doesn’t get easier. We have to make sure we bring our game every night.

Maxime Talbot

On what he thought after being helped off the ice on Friday
Well, you think the worst when you don’t know what’s going on. So until you get the results of the x-rays, you’re thinking about a lot of scenarios. But I’m happy I’m able to skate well and put my foot in my boot and I’m good.

On if he was lucky that it was a Matt Cooke shot:
No, because he when he puts all of his weight on the shot he can let it go pretty good. It’s stings that happen in practice and I’m just pretty blessed that I was okay.

On if he wears skate guards during practice:
No, just usually on game days. But I think now I’m going to in practice as well.

On if that would have prevented his bruise:
Yeah, it would have. I will wear them in future.

On if his foot feels better in his skate than in his shoe:
No, it just feels alright. It’s scary, it was a little bruise, but I’m 100 percent, skating full strength, so it’s good.

On if the foot will slow him down:
Not at all. I’m good, I have my jump, I’ll be ready to go (tonight).

Marc-Andre Fleury

On Rick Nash:
I think especially for goalies, he’s dangerous. He’s got that long reach, good shot, he can deke very well. So he’s a guy that we’re going to watch and be careful when he’s on the ice.

On if Columbus is more dangerous because they’ll want to rebound from their 5-0 loss (Friday):
Yeah, they’re a solid team. They’ve had some good games lately, and I’m sure their coach probably gave them a couple battle words. But I think we’ve got to be ready. I know if it was us, in our next game the guys would be going extra hard out there, and there’s something that we have to expect.

On if he still talks to former Penguin Garon:
Yes, I saw him this morning, we had a little chat. It was nice to see him. We don’t play Columbus a whole lot, so we don’t get to see him much. So it was nice to catch up a little bit.

12:59 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed that Maxime Talbot will play tonight against the Blue Jackets:

On having a healthy lineup:
It’s a luxury yes. Max is rebounding from the shot he took. He was out there and looks good. We’ll see him out there tonight. And Fleury will be in tonight.

On playing Columbus after their 5-0 loss at Buffalo
Judging from the expression of Scott Arniel on the bench and from the words I could see him say, we’re expecting this to be a response game for them. They didn’t like the way they played. They’re coming back home to a full building and I expect a big response from them tonight.

On using Malkin and Crosby on a line together to get Malkin going
(Malkin’s) played quite a bit with him lately. After a power play my next line is Cooke, Talbot and Dupuis. Depending on the clock and period, the last five games I’ve left Malkin with Kunitz and Crosby for the last five minutes of the period or until the next time out. That has been an effort to get him out there with Crosby. I think Malkin adds a lot to our team defensively and is a tough guy to play against. To put them all on one line takes a lot from the other lines. I’ve put them together when opportunities present themselves so that Geno can have a chance for some more offense. But I’ve put him with Talbot and Cooke in situations where we’re protecting a lead because our lines need that stability to play defensively the way we need to.

On how to motivate Malkin:
It depends on what part of his game needs it. Offensively, he needs a pat and showed games where he’s had good experience, scored some goals, had opportunities and was attacking the net. Defensively, you need to be right on top of him on his responsibilities and what he’s doing on the ice. It depends on the situation. If he’s looking for offensive chances, we watched the Atlanta game he played in Atlanta.

11:51 AM:
A couple quick notes. The Pens did not skate in their lines. And the Blue Jackets, who lost 5-0 in Buffalo last night, did not have a skate.

11:35 AM:

Good news for the Pens! Maxime Talbot is on the ice after suffering an ugly bruise in Friday's practice at Southpointe. Talbot was hit in the leg with a shot and needed help off the ice. But he's skating full speed right now at the morning skate.

Also good news is that Evgeni Malkin and Brooks Orpik, both of whom missed practice on Friday, are skating as well.

Talbot (left); Malkin (right)

Orpik (left)

11:03 AM:

It was quite an adventure getting to the rink today as a city marathon quarantined the team bus. We all sat for at least 10 minutes waiting for a cop to usher the bus through the crowd of racers. The players nearly got off the bus and ordered some cabs so that they weren't late for practice. Fortunately, we made a break for it and got through.

9:51 AM:
The Pens have a 10:15 a.m. bus to Nationwide Arena for their 11:30 morning skate. The Blue Jackets are coming off of a 5-0 loss at Buffalo Friday evening.

In honor of my good friend AJ, who made the three-hour drive to Columbus for tonight's game, we're going to kick off the day with the Smashing Pumpkins, "Cherub Rock."

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