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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Detroit

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Crosby on his condition, the hits and attending the All-Star Game (12:04 PM).
  • Pens’ lines (10:37 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Crosby, Malkin and Lidstrom (12:21 PM).
  • PensTV meets Letang (Cinco Ocho) and Talbot (4:59 PM).
  • Behind the scenes from Game 7 Cup Final at Detroit (10:08 AM).
  • Staal, Fleury and Michalek spit knowledge (12:24 PM).
  • Bill Clements wants you to keep an eye on Malkin (2:11 PM).
  • Wristbands on sale to meet some Pens (12:16 PM).
  • Pens and Highmark name High School Players of the Month (2:15 PM).
  • Pens & Pins, everybody wins (12:53 PM).
  • Inside the Red Wings locker room (1:04 PM).
  • Bylsma provides net-front presence (10:53 AM).
  • Red Wings morning skate pics (1:02 PM).
  • Pens pics (10:47 AM).
  • “Here we stand worlds apart, hearts broken in two, two two…” (9:50 AM).

4:59 PM:
PensTV chit-chat with Letang (Cinco Ocho) and Talbot...



2:15 PM:
High school hockey continues to flourish in Pittsburgh. The Penguins and Highmark named their High School Hockey Players of the Month for December.

2:11 PM:
Bill Clement thinks that Evgeni Malkin is the player to watch tonight.

1:04 PM:
Behind enemy lines...

Red Wings bags in the visitors locker room

Lidstrom's locker stall (left); Red Wings trainers room (right)

1:02 PM:
Pics of the Red Wings morning skate

12:53 PM:
The Penguins held their Third Annual "Pens and Pins" charity event last night. For all the highlights, click here.

Even though Sidney Crosby did not bowl due to his concussion, he did make an appearance to sign autographs and meet fans.

Crosby signs autographs for the fans (left); FSN Pittsburgh's Dan Potash and Mike Rupp co-emceed the event (right)

12:24 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Jordan Staal

On what continues to make Detroit good despite their injuries
I think it’s their structure. Just the way they have a team game, they all buy into the system and they all do the right thing. When one player’s out, they have players that can step up and do all the good things that they need.

On if that’s similar to the way the Penguins are
I think so. I think with some of the injuries we’ve had this year and the things that we’ve dealt with the last couple years, I think through our system and everything like that, different players can be able to step up and do a lot of good things in different roles.

On if he still gets charged up seeing the Wings sweater:
Yeah, no question. It’s definitely an exciting game playing against that team. For one, they’re one of the best teams in other conference. You don’t get to see them much, so it’s definitely an exciting opportunity.

On his brother being named an NHL All-Star captain:
I’m sure he’s very happy and very excited about it. It’s going to be interesting to see who he picks, and it’s going to make for an exciting All-Star game.

Marc-Andre Fleury

On Detroit:
We hate each other a little bit with the Stanley Cup Finals, but with the fans on our side it will be fun, and I’m looking forward to the game tonight.

On which All-Star team he would rather play for:
They are two great players. But Eric is in his own town, so maybe they would cheer for him a little bit more.  It would be nice to have the hometown crowd behind you.

On who he voted for the All-Star captain:
I’ll keep it secret.

Zbynek Michalek

On Detroit:
They still want to play their style of game, a puck-possession game. They work hard and they’re best players are the hardest working players, that’s why they play well for so many years. They are a talented team. If you look at they’re lineup, they’re missing some good players, but they went through the same thing last season and they still did well. Other guys can step in and they’re still a good team.

On if he feels involved in this rivalry with Detroit knocking his team out of the playoffs last year:
Definitely, it’s in your head. It was a little bit of a bitter feeling last year, losing Game 7 at home. (Phoenix) had such a great season and a great run, then we got eliminated by these guys, so that’s definitely in the back of my mind. Hopefully we can beat them and get a little revenge tonight.

12:21 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma

On Sidney Crosby:
Sid’s going to talk (later), but in talking with Sidney about being elected to the All-Star Game, he specifically said it’s an honor to be elected. And all four players on our team said it’s an honor to receive. That’s the only talks like that I’ve had with Sidney. I don’t know where (other reports) came from. I’ve never received a good video of the hit from Steckel. I do know that Steckel is looking up ice, and I know Sid’s looking in the same direction and Steckel runs into him. And that’s what I have from the NBC feed that we watched after the game. The Hedman hit is a penalized hit from behind, Sid doesn’t know it’s coming. It’s at least a boarding call, for sure.

On who the Penguins’ unsung heroes this season
I think there are a few surprises, a few guys that emerged out of camp that maybe are new names. Deryk Engelland has been one of them, he has a physical presence and a toughness factor, but also he’s a guy that can play physical in the back end. Mark Letestu – with Jordan Staal being out for the first half of the season – had an opportunity in training camp which he seized. He’s been our second, third, and fourth-line center and on our power play. He’s on our first unit now with Sidney not being in there. He’s emerged as a guy who we’ve counted on for some secondary scoring. Our defense and PK has emerged as an added bonus for our team. We try to be tougher to play against, and Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek on the penalty kill have been big parts on our team this year.

On Evgeni Malkin:
He is getting the top defensive pair match-up from other teams. Against Boston, (Zdeno) Chara was usually who Sid gets to play against, but it’s been Malkin these past two times. Then he got (Hal) Gill and his pair in Montreal – who Sid got in the previous games and in the playoffs last year. He has been getting that attention from the other team, but in the last game for us, Malkin got 11 scoring chances for us – which is a real high number. He got high numbers in the previous three games he played, so we think he’s been playing really well and hasn’t gotten the result that you see on the sheet. Not only has he been playing well offensively – getting those chances and getting in those areas – he’s also been good at the other end of the rink when he’s away from the puck. We like the way his game is right now. We’d like to see him get the result, but we’ll take 11 scoring chances every night from the guy. He’s been good defensively, so we’ll see the results.

On Nicklas Lidstrom:
He was pretty good early on in his career too – at least when I got a chance to play against him. Lidstrom does so many things well. He’s not a guy that you look at on the ice and say that he works overly hard. He’s a very efficient skater, he’s brilliant positionally, both offensively and defensively. So as a forechecking team, if you’re forechecking and trying to get at this guy, he seems to be elusive that way, because of his smarts and his ability to skate and make the pass. Then, the way he handles the puck on the power play. For years, we try to teach our defenseman to shoot the puck like him. He shoots it with his head up and just looks through traffic and finds ways to get the puck to the net. He does an outstanding job of that, so credit to him. He doesn’t seem to be getting older. I’m getting older, and I had to retire. But he keeps playing and playing and playing at the same level. I’m not sure we have a solution to get at him tonight, but we’re going to do our best to try to put him back on his heels and get to him and try to prevent him from being a factor.

On Sidney Crosby’s personality and mental state:
If you spent time with him right now, you wouldn’t think that (he was frustrated). He spent a lot of time at the rink talking hockey and watching other teams play, looking at different teams’ power plays. He spent a lot of time focusing on the game and looking at the game in different areas since he’s been sidelined a little bit. I actually remarked several times about how he’s alert, normal and thinking about the game and helping out the coaching staff. We told him the last couple games that he better wear a suit and come to the rink with us and sit in the back room with us, talking about different parts of the power play and watching other teams.

Assist: Tony Jovenitti

12:16 PM:
Wristbands for the YMCA Junior Penguins Fundraiser, which will be held at Dick’s Sporting Goods in The Mall at Robinson on Monday, January 24, went on sale this morning. Session 1 has sold out, but there are still available wristbands for Sessions 2 and 3. Each wristband is $30 and all proceeds benefit the YMCA Junior Penguins program - which gets young kids throughout the area active and involved in hockey. Click here for more details.

12:04 PM:
Sidney Crosby's comments today to the media. Key points:
  • Crosby has "definitely gotten better," and has "progressed a lot, especially the past week or so."
  • Crosby's symptoms "are on and off" and are "mostly headaches."
  • Crosby said that "it's tough to put a timetable on" his return.
  • Crosby is not yet exerting himself off the ice.

On how he feels:
I’ve definitely gotten better. It’s kind of hard to judge because it’s not something I’ve gone through, but I’m progressing.

On the symptoms:
It’s on and off. As far as symptoms, it’s mostly headaches. Once you get better, you realize how far you’ve come. Some days you feel good. You feel like you’ve made progress. Some days are a little bit tougher. That’s all tied into this type of injury.

On timetable:
It has gotten better. It’s tough to put a timetable on it. I feel like I’ve progressed a lot, especially the past week or so. Hopefully that’s a good sign.

On a report that he’s angry the NHL didn’t punish the two headshots and won’t participate in the All-Star Game:
That’s not even close (to accurate). I’ll be there if I can be there and still haven’t ruled out being there. Hopefully, in the next few days things get better. There’s a slight chance I can still be back for that. That’s what I’m hoping. If I can be there, I’ll be there.

On if he was angry about the hits
It’s out of my hands. I can’t control what is called and not called. If anything it’s frustrating being out, but (the hits are) not what fuels the frustration. The frustration part is not being able to play hockey every day.

On Lidstrom being an All-Star captain
That’s pretty fitting. It’s pretty amazing to see what he’s doing at his age. It’s pretty incredible. He’s going to have some pressure to make those picks, but you couldn’t have a better captain.

On Crosby helping the coaching staff in his absence
It’s much easier from up top or on TV. There’s so much more room. You’re able to see things develop a lot easier. There are things I recognized, nothing in particular. If anything I probably have more of an appreciation of certain things in our game. We’re pretty critical of ourselves and the way that we play, and making sure that we’re detailed. A few times we killed some 5-on-3s. I remember watching and thinking that the other teams didn’t have a lot of options, guys were blocking shots, getting in lanes and making it tough. If anything I gained an appreciation over the last couple of weeks.

On using his prestige to further the rules for headshots
It’s easier to do that when you’ve gone through that and dealt with it. I think I’ve always been interested in those type of things and improving the game, evaluating it from everyone’s point of view. Having gone through this for the last little bit, it’s probably a little easier to do that.

On gaining perspective on concussions:
There are different times where you’ve been hit hard and thought that you might have been close to a concussion, or have a slight one. After going through this I can say that I haven’t and this is the first one. It’s not fun. You kind of gain a perspective on things and realize how serious and tough it is. It’s something that you have a greater opinion having gone through it.

On if it’s scary to go through:
It is, it’s different. It’s not like a bruise or playing through something. It’s a lot more serious than that. It’s a little different.

On his opinion of the headshot rules:
I think they’re trying to recognize the fact that there’s been hits and serious effects of those. They’ve made strides in doing that. As for mine, it’s tough to say what exactly happened. Who knows? Overall, I think it’s something that they’re aware of. You’ve seen in the last week or so there have been a couple suspensions for hits to the head. It’s something they’re trying to be active with and it’s the right thing to do.

On if he’s active off the ice:
No, not (doing) much.

On if he’s exerting himself off the ice:

On if he would go to Carolina for the All-Star Game even if he doesn’t play:
This is different than Montreal as far as injury-wise. If I can be there I will be there.

10:53 AM:
The Pens are taking slap shots from the point, while head coach Dan Bylsma provides a net-front presence.

10:47 AM:
Pics that love the Pens-Wings rivalry

Lovejoy (left); Letestu (right)

Dupuis and Conner (left); Meloche (right)

Talbot (left); Malkin (right)

10:37 AM:
The Pens lines are the same from the previous games. Still no Crosby at practice.


10:08 AM:
With the Pens taking on the Red Wings tonight. We re-lived the Pens' 2-1 Game 7 victory at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena on June 12, 2009 to capture the franchise's third Stanley Cup yesterday. But today we'll give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse from the plane ride to the victory celebration of that game.

9:50 AM:
Anytime you think of songs connected to Detroit, it's hard not to think of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" and the whole "born and raised in South Detroit" line. Although my colleague and Michigan native Michelle Crechiolo tells me there is no such thing as South Detroit. Regardless, too many Detroit teams have adopted the song so I refuse to play it here.

However, Journey also created the GREATEST MUSIC VIDEO OF ALL TIME!!! I’m being dead-serious here. Their song, “Separate Ways,” is the most euphoric 4:25 minutes of my life. The unintentional comedy is off the charts. It's so good because it's so bad.

“Separate Ways,” is the epitome of the 80s. It has so many classic elements.
  • Setting: abandoned warehouse
  • Guys playing invisible instruments with a quick cut to not-invisible instruments
  • A keyboard on the wall. Let me repeat, a keyboard on the wall!!!
  • Random girl walking around with no purpose and a bad 80s haircut (with the occasional slow-mo shot)
  • The entire band overacting more than an episode of “The Hills.” And the lead singer, Steve Perry, took his overacting to a height that will never be repeated. How many clenched fists can one man make in four minutes? It’s the equivalent of scoring five goals, five different ways – it will never be done again
  • And how about Perry’s wardrobe? Nothing says serious musical artist quite like a pink and black checkered sleeveless t-shirt. Epic
  • A keyboard on the wall!
  • Dramatic head turns with the band singing in unison
  • Slow-motion rock out solo, with oil drums to boot
  • The drummer’s shirt says “FOOSBALL”
  • And an ending that makes absolutely no sense. An open ending to a video that never had a plot. I don't know whether to cry or wind my watch
I can go on and on all day. This video is addicting. One viewing just isn't enough. It is something that you really have to experience for yourself. So clear your mind, click play and witness the most ridiculous/hilarious video of all time. Enjoy.

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