1:37 PM: Penguins Report caught up with a couple players in the locker room following the morning skate. Here is a sampling of what was said:
Sidney Crosby On getting back into the win column: Yeah, you want to bounce back. We felt we had some trouble with execution and things like that so we want to make sure we get that back. We have had a couple days to practice and get ready for tonight. It will be nice to get back at it. On getting ugly goals on the power play: I think we have been getting chances so we just want to continue doing that and the puck will go in. Sometimes that is the case where you need a bounce. We have generated some good quality chances and that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to score those quality ones from good areas. We have to do the right things. As long as we are executing our chances are going to come, whether they go in (off rebounds) or something a little nicer. We just have to do the right things out there. On running into hot goaltenders over the weekend: They (Tomas Vokoun and Martin Brodeur) played great games. I don’t think we had a lack of chances. There were times we felt our execution could have been better, but when you look back at things and you see the chances you generated, if one of those goes in, you are not talking about your power play. Sometimes it is a matter of one shot or one opportunity going in and then you are not questioning your power play. We have to just make sure we are doing the right things and that we focus on that all season long. That is how you have to judge your power play, on the chances you are creating. We feel we are creating some good ones.
Kris Letang On the fast start: We are still hungry – we want more. We have the same team. We talked over the summer how we think we can be a better team than we were last year because the process we had last year was just 25 games and now we have a whole season. I think we can get better. On how comfortable he is at the point of the power play with Goligoski: We are two guys who are the same mentally in terms of getting involved in the offense and jumping into the rush. We always think offense so when I see Alex with the puck I know pretty much what he is trying to do so I try to put myself in position where he can see me. We understand each other pretty well. On just needing one power-play goal to get more to follow: Yes, exactly. Sometimes you have bad bounces but one is going to go in and then we are going to be more comfortable and be a more active power play. On the danger of trying to do too much: Yeah, you try to do too much or you get too fancy. We have to keep a simple game, put shots to the net and go for the rebounds.
1:15 PM: Head coach Dan Bylsma addressed the media about Wednesday's game with the Canadiens. Here is what he had to say:
On worries about sickness spreading throughout a team: I don’t watch too much television other than hockey during the season so I am not caught up in the fear of an epidemic that might be there. The concern for keeping Pascal (Dupuis) away the past couple days was not because he couldn’t come here and participate, it was because of the chance he could be contagious with whatever he had, whether it was a cold or whatever. We did that to protect everyone else. We always do that so it isn’t the fear of an epidemic running through the team. He could be contagious so we keep him away from the rink. He has been well passed his cold. He could have come yesterday, but it was more of a ‘let’s be safe and be sure you’re 48 hours away from what you had.’ We take those precautions, but fear of an epidemic is not how I felt at home. On power-play changes: It was more of a rotation at the point on the power play. We are always trying to get our half-wall guy to come up high, especially against teams that are pressuring different ways. Under pressure, Montreal will have their D-men come up high on the half-wall guy. An effort to get him up higher would be to say ‘if you want to challenge Evgeni Malkin up there, you are going to have to come up a long ways to do it.’ That was what you saw today in practice. We try to make those adjustments game-to-game and penalty kill-to-penalty kill so we have those different looks in different situations. On needing ugly goals to spark the power play: I talked with our power play this morning. It is always about today with the power play. It doesn’t matter what our percentage is. It doesn’t matter what the media writes. You have to go out and do the right things to have a successful power play. If you don’t do them your chances go way down. If you do the right things, then your chances of having success go way up. That’s what we continually focus on – at the start of every game, after periods when we know we didn’t do things well – we need to make sure we are doing the right things. That is what we keep trying to tell our players. Sometimes that is difficult because you want to score every time. 25-percent is great on the power play. 75-percent failure is tough to deal with sometimes, especially when you are talking about your best players wanting to have an impact on the game. We continually try to have that patience on the power play, do the right things and set it up the right way. When you do those things we get zone time and we get chances and second chances. When you get those things then you give yourself chances to have success. That’s what we focus on whether we are really good on paper or we are not doing as well as we need to do on the paper. We are always about the next day and the next power play.
12:21 PM: Chris Bourque, claimed off waivers from Washington Sept. 30, will play his fourth game of the season tonight, albeit in a different role than the previous three.
Tonight he will play the left side on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko, a chance Bourque is more than excited for.
"It’s awesome to be able to play with a world-class player like that," Bourque said after the morning skate. "This is definitely a great opportunity for me."
With Bourque's game based more upon speed and skill than it is grit, Bylsma feels it's important to give him the opportunity to play in a situation that best fits the skill set Bourque provides.
"He is a guy who can complement a top-two line center," Bylsma said. "He has the skill and speed in his game.
"If you throw out his first game when he was a little nervous with it being his first time in a Penguins’ uniform – he had some jitters in that game – he has been able to show that speed and puck pursuit. At the same time I think he is getting more comfortable shooting the puck and making plays and doing that for our team."
Bourque spoke of wanting to keep his game simple playing with the reigning scoring champion.
"I am not going to change anything that I do," Bourque said. "You try not to change your game with anybody you play with, especially a player like. You try to give him the puck and get to open space because he is definitely going to be able to find you. That is what I am going to try to do and hopefully it works out."
12:13PM: Montreal just stepped off the ice following their morning skate. Here is an inside look at their practice:
Former Penguins defenseman Hal Gill, above, returns to Mellon Arena tonight with the Canadiens for the first time since signing with Montreal over the summer. Click here to read Tom Mast's story about Gill's return.
12:01 PM: After missing practice Monday and Tuesday with the flu, Pascal Dupuis was back on the ice Wednesday with his teammates. Both he and Bylsma said the veteran winger will be in the lineup tonight against Montreal.
When he returned to Mellon Arena this morning, Dupuis, one of four players on the Penguins' roster to hail from Quebec, received playful jabs from his teammates that he was trying to avoid facing his hometown team.
Guys were saying, "you have the 'Montreal flu,'" Dupuis said.
Dupuis said his illness was passed onto him from his children, who had the flu the previous week.
"My kids had it last week so obviously what the kids have the dad is going to have. I had it for a couple days but it went away now. I stayed home yesterday for precaution and now I am back here today. "
Dupuis skated Wednesday as a left winger on a line with Mike Rupp at center and Eric Godard on the right side.
11:54 AM: Head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed after the morning skate that winger Tyler Kennedy will miss tonight's game against the Montreal Canadiens with an undisclosed injury. Kennedy's status is day-to-day.
10:47 AM: Here is an inside look at the action from the morning skate as the Penguins prepare for a conference matchup with the Montreal Canadiens:
10:38 AM: The Penguins just hit the ice for the morning skate, welcoming winger Pascal Dupuis back to the ice after missing the previous two days due to illness. However not all are accounted for as Tyler Kennedy is absent. Head coach Dan Bylsma will provide an update on his status following the skate.
This is the first time in '09-10 a member of the first three lines will possibly miss game action, forcing the Penguins to re-shuffle the deck. Here are the forward combinations used this morning by Bylsma: