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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Colorado

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma gave an update on the status of currently injured players Chris Kunitz and Alex Goligoski.

"Kunitz is not skating. He's continued to work out and getting treatment and rehab, as he has in the last 10 days or so. He is progressing but it's a situation where we don't want to digress. We want to keep going forward so we're going to be cautious and keep in mind that we have 40-plus games to play yet this year. We're taking it slow with him.

"Alex did skate (Thursday) and he is also progressing. There isn't a timetable on him yet but he is positively progressing and taking a step forward day after day, so that's good."

Bylsma was then asked if he is being extra cautious with Goligoski so that he doesn't come back too soon. The example was given of Tyler Kennedy who missed three games before returning to the ice only to miss the next 10 games.

However, Bylsma explained that Goligoski's and Kennedy's situations are not the same.

"Tyler Kennedy returned to having a similar injury after he came back. Alex does not have the same injury. They're not related in that regard. So we are dealing with this one as a totally separate injury."

1:10 PM:

Former Colorado Avalanche head coach Tony Granato (left) faces his former club for the first time. Goaltending coach Gilles Meloche and Bill Guerin pose for the camera (right).

12:18 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room:

Dan Bylsma
On using Tony Granato to scout the Avalanche:

All of it. Mike Yeo’s doing the scout for tonight’s game, in terms of watching the film and writing up the scout and presenting the scout to the players. He’s going to do it as an outsider and then use Tony to verify it as a guy who knows it a little more intimately, what they’ve done and what they say to their team. We’re using two different sets of eyes to get the whole picture. We’re definitely relying on Tony for players, their mentality, what they’re saying to their team, especially tonight as we go into the game.
On play Colorado in the second game of back-to-backs for the Avalanche:
As a coach, a game in this situation, it’s never an advantage to sit here and wait for them, unless you make it one. You don’t get to start the game with a goal in the board because they may be tired or they may have gotten in late. That has nothing to do with the outcome of the game, unless you go out and make it that way. Are they tired? Did they get in late? Did they play a tough game last night and then get on the plane? Yes. But until we make that a reason for them to be tired and make them have to deal with us over and over again it’s not going to be a factor in the game. Conversely, if I was their coach, and how I talk to my team over the course of 80 games, the way we practice, they way we want to play as a team, sets us up to be fine to play in those situations. I never would give my team an excuse if I was coming from Florida last night to not play well I this game or not be as fresh.
On what Tony Granato adds to the Penguins:
I met Tony as a young hockey player, watching Tony. Mutual friends couldn’t speak higher of Tony as a person and as a guy you want to be around, good times, bad times, playing the game, away from the game. The players that he’s coached that I contacted this summer say the quality of person, the energy he brings to the game, the passion he brings, trying to make the team, the situation, that person better, those are things that we like to have in our organization. We like to pride ourselves here and create an atmosphere where you have that energy and working to get better and pushing all in and saying ‘how can I help, what can I do for the team?’ That’s what we went after Tony for. That’s why we went after Tony. His friends and my experience and the people that he has coached were dead on. He’s brought that to our team. It’s a lot of what we’re trying to establish here as an atmosphere for our players and for our group.
On Tony Granato buying lunch:
I think Tony’s biggest fault is that he tries to buy lunch too often. He’s non-stop. You have to fight him for the bill or for the coffee or for lunch when you go to Qdoba. There’s been some bumps and bruises for that reason.
On Colorado’s goaltending:
Questionable is not how I would label their goaltending this year. Their goaltending has been very good, both from (Craig) Anderson, and I know Tony speaks very highly of (Peter) Budaj. We’re not say ‘phew we get the backup, or is Anderson going to be in?’ They both can play very well. They both have played well. Budaj is a very talented guy who works extremely hard. If you listen long enough you’ll hear about how hard he works and how ready he makes himself. So we’re going to be ready for a strong goaltending game. That’s been one of the trademarks of their team so far this year.

Sidney Crosby
On shooting more:
The puck doesn’t go in sometimes. Other times it seems like the chances you get you are able to bury.
On people backing off more:
You get chances and sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t. I don’t think there is really any way to analyze it. It is just a matter of executing.
On getting healthy leading to more wins:
I think everyone is on the same page and we are playing well. I think when we are playing well and they are able to come back in comfortably it helps everyone.
On his confidence shooting the puck:
When you are scoring you are shooting the puck more. You are confident in areas. The more often you see the puck go in the more you are going to shoot the puck from those spots. I think that is typical anytime you get some goals and you are on a streak. That’s the way hockey goes. There are times when it seems you can’t buy one and there’s times when every shot you take seems to be a good one. You just try to let that go as long as you can.
On not wanting it to end:
That is why you practice hard every day. That is why you work on the same things over and over whether things are going bad or well. You know you’ve done the things to get ready to prepare and execute. When it doesn’t happen you are confident that over time it will. When it is going well, that is not the time to let up and think that everything is going great. It’s the time to work just as hard.
On the fact that sometimes they don’t go in:
Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair. Really it doesn’t. But at the end of the day usually you are rewarded when you are doing the right things over and over again, sometimes it’s hard to see that but eventually your games will be a product of what you do. Hopefully that’s the way it works out.
On Mike Rupp:
I hope so. He is playing some great hockey. He is a hard guy to stop, he really is. He has a hard shot. He is dangerous from those shooting areas. He is a big body and a hard guy to move around the net. It is a tough responsibility for anybody to move him off the puck.
On Colorado’s struggling penalty killing:
Yes and no. When our penalty kill has a tough game they are a little hungrier when they have to kill the following one. But at the same time if you are able to get one they might be thinking a little bit. It can be to our advantage if we execute the right way and put pressure on them. I don’t think we read into other games as much but we know our power play can be dangerous against any team.

Kris Letang
On changing partners:
With the system we play, we will always be there for our partner. It is easy to do. You have to work hard for your partner. Everybody has to do the same job so it makes it easy to play as a unit.
On getting healthy:
You always want to have a healthy lineup. It is always nice to have those guys back in to make sure the team is rolling as the season goes along.
On the recent goal-scoring binge:
The transition, the way the forwards have gotten back into the play. It has been easier for the defensemen to stand up at the blue line. We have a quicker transition so we can the other team caught at their blue line. It is easy when you have good forwards like we have who come back and backcheck.
On the power play:
The power play has been good. I think it was just a question of time. We just had to settle down and do some of the simple things.
On feeling back in the flow:
I think even the first game, after a few shifts, I was skating back good timing-wise. I was getting back (into the zone) pretty quick. It is all due to the work I did with Mike Kadar. It was good to get back into the game.
On this game being an up-tempo affair:
We should be seeing a fast team. It is going to be a fast game. Both teams have really fast forwards so it is going to be a very fast transition on both sides.
On jumping on them playing back-to-back nights:
You always want to come out hard against a team that played the night before. We just want to come hard and make sure it is going to be tough on them tonight. We know they lost in a shootout so we want to come hard at them.

Mike Rupp
On his shooting percentage being third in the NHL:
In practice I have been bearing down on my shots and when they come I am trying to put them in the net. I don’t really pay too much attention to that stat because I am probably significantly lower in shots taken.
On his hot streak:
I have actually had some pretty good responses from my friends and teammates. They knew I was good enough to chip in here and there. I got some encouraging texts from them. It feels good.
On seeing opportunity to score when he signed here:
I think that is kind of a given with the talent in this room and the way the team is structured. You are going to get more chances. When those chances come I want to really be focused on putting the puck in the net, not shooting the puck wide.
On Colorado:
They are a pretty exciting team to watch. I have been following them. They have a guy named Ryan O’Reilly who is an exciting player to watch. There team is built like that with (first-round draft pick) Matt Duchene. They are a team that is good now and is going to be even better in the future.

12:10 PM:

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