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Penguins Report: Game Day at NY Rangers

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Morning skate injury sidelines Letestu, Godard in (12:29 PM).
  • Letestu leaves the ice (11:42 AM).
  • Pens’ lines before Letestu injury (11:40 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma on injuries, Jeffrey and Malkin (1:37 PM).
  • Orpik, Martin and Dupuis spit knowledge (1:45 PM)
  • Jeffrey returns (11:15 AM).
  • Fleury meets Dion (3:10 PM).
  • WBS Pens have Steelers fever (11:20 AM).
  • Pens pics (11:57 AM).
  • “Love is an open book to a verse of your bad poetry…” (10:36 AM).

3:10 PM:
During the All-Star break Marc-Andre Fleury had a chance to meet former Penguin goalie Michel Dion (for those who don't know, Fleury's Winter Classic mask was designed as a tribute to look like the mask Dion wore for the Penguins). The two Quebec native netminders are the only two Penguin goalies to make the All-Star Team.

The meeting (and photos) was setup by FSN Pittsburgh's Dan Potash. You can see the footage from their meeting, as well as all the other events from All-Star weekend, this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on FSN's show "To Raleigh with the Penguins, presented by McDonald's."

Assist: Dan Potash

1:45 PM:
Sounds heard around the MSG visitors locker room...


On if he’s looking forward to getting back in the action or if he wishes the break was longer:

No, I felt good today. I felt awful yesterday. I think when you’re younger, you kind of panicked that first day back and you think you lost everything in four or five days. And now, you kind of learn that it’s going to come back quick. So you just gotta get through that first day, which is kind of painful on your body and your hands are usually pretty bad. But by the second or third day, usually you feel pretty good.

On the Rangers and how they’ll be getting some key players back tonight:

They’ve done a great job. We talk about the injuries we’ve had, they’ve had a lot of injuries. They’ve done a great job just kind of staying right behind us there in the pack with all the injuries they’ve had. They’re definitely getting some key guys back, I know Callahan will be back, I’m not sure who else. It’s a team where when they’re healthy, it’s a pretty deep team up and down the lineup.


On the importance of getting into a flow without Crosby and Malkin for a fourth game:
You’re missing two All-Stars, two of our top players. Some guys did step up, Marc-Andre played great again, and defensively we played real well before the break there. It’s the way we have to keep going without these guys.

On if he saw what happened to Letestu:
No, I didn’t see.

On if he’s ready to get back into the action:
Yeah, it has been a couple days. I skated yesterday and skated again this morning. I didn’t feel too bad, actually, so it’s a good sign for tonight.

On the key to playing without Crosby and Malkin:
The little details of our system play an even bigger part in the game. Defensively, we can’t give too much because we don’t have as much firepower. But you know, Jordan’s back, he’s playing well too. You miss two but get one back. We showed that we can play without (Crosby and Malkin), but we need them too.


On if he’s ready to get back into the action:
Yeah, it feels good. The break’s always good to recharge the batteries and get away from hockey for a little bit and have some fun and relax. But now that we’re back to work, I think everyone’s excited to be here.

On how he spent his break:
I just went back to Minnesota and saw some family friends. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it was going to be. It was fun, we had a good time. It was a nice break.

On the significance of playing at Madison Square Garden:
Yeah, I mean it does have a lot of history. It’s definitely something special that over the years, you get a different feeling when you come to this building. So it is a lot of fun.

On playing at MSG a lot when he was with New Jersey:
Yeah, we played here quite a bit. It is an older building, but I think that’s what (makes) the history behind it have a special feeling.

On the Rangers and how they’ll be getting some key players back tonight:
They have a good team, they play hard. They get (Ryan) Callahan back, and a couple other guys back. But definitely, it’ll help them. I’m sure they’re excited for that. But we play them well at times, and that’s about all you can hope for, that we can put together a full game together tonight.

Goal: Michelle Crechiolo (after video review in Toronto)

1:37 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On the constant injuries:
It’s just another challenge for us to face. It will be a good one for Dustin Jeffrey. He’s going to get increased playing time. We’ll slot him in with (Kunitz) and (Dupuis), and the first power play. He’s a guy who’s had a good seven games for us. He’s going to get a real opportunity both with the players he’s playing with and the ice time tonight.

On if he was ever recalled this much in his career:
Someone was joking today that (Jeffrey is) the most traveled man in pro hockey. It does happen to guys in that situation. You do go up and down, especially around breaks, re-assigned and called back up. From Dustin’s standpoint I know he’s happy to have traveled last night to get here and have the opportunity tonight. He’s getting an opportunity playing games. He’s getting close to the 10-game mark pretty soon. It’s a great opportunity for him and something he’s done real well with. Yes he’s traveled, but I know he’s excited to get to play tonight and show what he can do at this level. Hopefully it turns into a bigger opportunity for him.

On if the game is big because NYR beat Pittsburgh twice this year:
We’re coming back from the break against the Rangers, a divisional game. In the standings you can see how close they are behind us. We know the manner in which they won the two games, coming from behind. It was missed opportunities for our team. We are aware of that. We understand the situation in the standings. Right now, coming back from the break our focus is getting back to playing our type of hockey and understanding the situation. We’ve had some success with the injuries we’ve had, but we have to establish ourselves again. It’s tonight against the Rangers and will continue on through the week.

On a timetable for Malkin:
I don’t, hopefully sooner rather than later. But there is no timetable right now.

On if Malkin could play Wednesday night:
It’s not out of the question.

12:29 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma just announced that Letestu will not be playing in tonight's game against the Rangers.

"Lower body and we're bringing him back to Pittsburgh for further evaluation," Bylsma said. "I don't quite know (how the injury occurred). In the first few times around the ice he hit a rut and left the ice. It wasn't in an activity."

Eric Godard will play in his place. Jeffrey will take his spot between Kunitz and Dupuis, and on the power play.

11:57 AM:
Pics from MSG...

Bylsma and Adams (left); Malkin (right)

11:42 AM:
I'm not sure what happened, but Mark Letestu needed help getting off the ice and assistance down the runway to the locker room. We'll get an update from coach Bylsma on his status after the morning skate.

11:40 AM:
No changes to the Pens' lines from the past few games:


11:20 AM:
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are showing their love and support for the "black and yellow" by painting a Steelers logo at center ice. The team is having a "FOOTBALL FRIDAY." For more details click here.

11:15 AM:
The Pens have an 11:30 a.m. morning skate at MSG. While center Evgeni Malkin is making progress in his recovery from a sinus infection, the team has added an extra body in New York City after recalling Dustin Jeffrey.

10:36 AM:
The All-Star break is over and it’s back to work for the Penguins tonight as they take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are pretty banged up heading into the game, although they may be getting a few players back.

To start the day, we'll go with a song by the New York City "group" LCD Soundsystem. James Murphy - musician, DJ and record label founder - is the brainchild of the project, which started in the early 2000s. He's a one-man machine that played every instrument on their tracks.

LCD Soundsystem has had great success in the UK, but are only starting to catch on in America with their latest album "This is Happening" in 2010. The song that got me hooked on them was "I Can Change." And so that's how we'll begin the day. Enjoy.

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