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Penguins Report: Game Day at Ottawa

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • No update from Bylsma on if Crosby skated Tuesday (12:54 AM).
  • Martin, Letang and Potter expected in the lineup (12:56 PM).
  • No lines, no Martin at morning skate (11:42 AM).
  • Bylsma on Crosby, Kovale and the D makeup (1:08 PM).
  • Pens recall Potter, Wagner from WBS (10:57 AM).
  • GM Shero talks concussions (1:16 PM).
  • Potter, Wagner and Neal spit knowledge (1:26 PM).
  • Former Pens GM Craig Patrick is honored (1:13 PM).
  • Locker room tour (5:32 PM).
  • Sens morning skate pics (11:25 AM).
  • Morning skate pics (11:56 AM).
  • “Right he's probably buying her some fruity little drink because she can't shoot whiskey…” (10:45 AM).

5:32 PM:

1:26 PM:
Sounds heard around the visitors locker room...

Corey Potter

On continuing to see more guys from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton get called up
Yeah, it’s a pretty good thing that guys are getting a chance up here. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of injuries up here and the guys that have been called up have done a good job. So I’m just here to do the work there.

On his success in WBS so far this season
Yeah, it’s going pretty good down there. We’ve got a good team, a good coach and the structure is good. Just carry it up up here, and hopefully I can contribute.

On if he was starting to wonder when he would get his chance up here
There hasn’t been too many injuries back on the defensive end, so it’s just been kind of a waiting game. (You) just wait for that injury and that time. So I’m just excited to get the chance.

On if he expects the transition to be easier because of the similar systems:

Yeah, absolutely. I think they structure it that way and they try to make it as easy as possible for the guys that get called up. The systems are the same up here, so I can just transition easily.

Steve Wagner

On getting called up:
It’s a big opportunity. We’ve got a lot of depth in this organization, and it just came time where I get a shot. You’ve got to kind of make the best of it. So it’s good to be back up here and we’ll see how it goes.

On if it makes him feel good that most of the WBS players have earned a shot to play at least one game with the Penguins:
Absolutely. It’s good for the organization for players to get games here and there, and (for the front office to) show they have faith in just about everybody in the organization, whether it be in Wilkes-Barre or Pittsburgh. So I don’t think Pittsburgh wanted to have the injuries they have, but we’re just kind of making the best of it and take every opportunity given to you.

On the strongest part of his game:
Skating the puck, moving the puck is my strong point, so hopefully I can do as well here as I was doing in Wilkes-Barre.

On fitting right in with the systems being so similar:
I should, yes. They’re very similar, almost to a T.

On if he knows how the coaches plan to use him:
No, I’m not even sure. I guess we’ll find out game time.

James Neal

On if being traded was kind of a shock:
A big one, yeah. I went to practice and it was like any other day. I went home, had lunch, and I was sitting there and I get the call from my agent saying ‘You’re traded to Pittsburgh.’ So that’s how it went down, and I was on a flight a couple of hours later, already on my way to Pittsburgh. So it was a shock, but no better place to come. What an organization, what a fan base, what a building to play in. It’s just an exciting time.

On if he feels more comfortable with the city and team now that it’s been a couple of weeks:
Yeah, I feel way more comfortable. It’s been a pretty easy transition for the way the guys are and the way that everyone’s treated me. So it’s been great and it’s a lot of fun coming to the rink and playing for the Penguins every day.

On if any guy has taken him under their wing:
Yeah, you know, everybody’s been great. But it’s a team thing around here, so going to dinners and everything, everybody goes so it’s been a lot of fun.

Pick and roll: Michelle Crechiolo

1:16 PM:
Speaking of the GM meetings, the media talked to current Pens GM Ray Shero about concussions.

1:13 PM:
The NHL GMs are in Florida for the GM meetings. While there this year, they honored former Pens GM Craig Patrick - who orchestrated Pittsburgh to two Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and '92.

1:08 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On the reception Kovalev will get in Ottawa and the impact on the game
I have no idea how the reception for Alex will be tonight. What kind of affect will there be? I don’t know. When someone pats you on the back you’ll feel a certain way. When someone boos you you’ll feel a certain way. I’m sure it he’ll notice, but as Alex said to me today, it’s just another game. We’re coming here to get two points. He’ll be a part of that.

On how Kovalev has fit in
He’s fit in tremendously. The first meeting I had with him, he said, ‘Tell me what you’d like me to do. Tell me what my role is. Tell me what I’m doing well and what I’m not. I just want to help this team win. I can be a leader on this team.” He’s done all of that.

On if Crosby skated again today
The time was for Sid to skate this morning back in Pittsburgh. I have not gotten an update on him. I’m not sure if that did happen.

On if he was scheduled to do the same amount of time
Yes, same thing as yesterday.

On if Letang will play tonight:

Kris has shown no signs of having trouble with the hit. He skated again this morning. We expect him for tonight.

On if the callups get in the lineup
We need one player to get to six. Five was good for one game, but we’ll go with six for tonight. Corey Potter will go in to round out our six. Just with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton being in Manitoba, we brought in an extra player just in case we needed one. We needed to make that decision yesterday.

On the new guys getting to the rink:
I don’t know the logistics, but we had something lined up for them and they got here last night fine.

On Marc-Andre Fleury:
I don’t think he can be overlooked. He should be in consideration for both of those trophies (MVP and goalie of the year). He’s been the backbone of our team. There have been a lot of injuries. We only had a full lineup for two games this year. He’s been the major reason why we’ve been a good team, a competitive team, a good defensive team. He’s been outstanding. I don’t think that without his season we’d be in the position that we are in, within three points from Philadelphia from the top spot in the East.

On talking about catching Philly:
It is a spoken thing amongst our group. It has been for the last 12, 15 games. We put ourselves in a position right now and still think we can get to Philadelphia. We have two games with them coming up here later this month. We’d like those games to be real meaningful when we get there.

12:56 PM:
Bylsma also said Paul Martin, Kris Letang and Corey Potter were all expected to be in the lineup tonight.

12:54 PM:
Bylsma said Sidney Crosby, who skated for the first time Monday since suffering a concussion in early January, was scheduled to skate again today. But Bylsma hadn't yet gotten the report on if Crosby had actually skated or not.

11:56 AM:
Pens skate pics...

Kovalev returns to Ottawa

Dupuis and Conner (left); Cooke and Kunitz (right)

Kennedy (left); Corey Potter (right)

11:42 AM:
The Pens are on the ice for their morning skate. They did not skate in their line combos, doing rush drills instead. Only article of note is that Paul Martin was absent from the skate. We'll get an update from coach Bylsma after on his status for tonight.

11:25 AM:
The Senators just finished up their game day morning skate at Scotiabank Place.

A bunch of young students were scattered throughout the seats for the morning skate.

10:57 AM:
This morning the Pens recalled defensemen Corey Potter and Steve Wagner from WBS. Matt Niskanen did not make the trip to Ottawa due to illness (flu).

10:45 AM:
Welcome to Ottawa. We're inside Scotiabank Place, where the Pens and Sens will battle at 7:30 p.m. this evening in the final meeting of the season between the clubs.

The game will be the first back in Ottawa for winger Alex Kovalev, who was traded to Pittsburgh from the Senators Feb. 24. Kovalev notched 23 goals and 76 points in 131 games for the Sens.

Let's kick off the day with some music, shall we? I read that one radio station in Ottawa has banned country singer Carrie Underwood from the airwaves following the trade of her husband Mike Fisher to Nashville. So we'll start the day with "Before He Cheats" because, well, it's the only song I know by her. And I love the hoop earrings.

BONUS! I have a song by special request from my good friend and Ottawa native Peeler, who has been eagerly waiting to hear some Elvis Presley. So we'll add the King's "Rubberneckin'" as well. But rather than play the original, here is Paul Oakenfold's dance remix version to spice it up.


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