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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Montreal

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

12:51 PM:
Sounds heard around the visitors locker room:

Jacques Martin

On CONSOL Energy Center:
It’s a little newer. It’s a nice rink and a nice facility.

On the locker room:
No doubt, it’s much better. It’s a newer setting and there’s more space. It’s more comfortable for the players.

On if that changes anything for the game:
No, (the Penguins) are still one of the top teams with the best two players in the game. So it’s always challenging against them.

On if anything carries over from the playoff series
I think we know how to play against them now. I think it’s just a matter of being ready and being prepared to play our game at a level that’s going to give us some success. This is a team where we probably have to stay out of the penalty box when you look at their power play personnel. They can hurt your with special teams.

On injuries to Roman Hamrlik and Andrei Markov:
We’re aiming for a Wednesday return maybe for Hamrlik, and Markov doesn’t have a set date yet.

On his team’s puck possession
We hope we improve once we get healthy. Right now we’re missing two of our key defenseman, but if we’re healthy on the back end I feel that we’ll have a little better puck moving and a little more mobility with the addition of Subban. Up front, I think we’re a very similar team (from last year). We may have improved our depth, but I don’t think we’ve changed much on our top six forwards. But our bottom forwards, with the addition of Halpern and Boyd, I think that gives us a little more depth, as well as some of the people we have in Hamilton who have got better and shown better in training camp. So I think our depth is a little better.

PK Subban

On playing against junior teammate Eric Tangradi:
Eric is a guy I played with for four years in junior. I think that is all he is going to do is out-chirp me because he isn’t winning any battles tonight. I’ll let him do all the talking. Eric is a really great player and I am happy to see that he is with the big club. He had a great year last year in the AHL. He was a great captain for us in junior. He has a great career ahead of himself.

On consistency:
I think consistency is a challenge for everybody. I think that everybody finds it hard to be consistent. That’s not an easy thing to do. Going into it, I have a little bit of experience playing in the OHL and trying to be consistent every night. It’s going to be another challenge this year. It’s a challenge you look forward to. You are happy that you have to show up at your job every day and do it. I have to understand that not every day is going to be a great day. There are going to be some good ones, some bad ones. You have to live with that.

On not talking with the media being good for him during the postseason:
I support the organization in whatever they do. As a hockey player it’s your job to get rid of the distractions, whether they are there or not. For me, I would have done anything they threw my way. I respect the decision of the team. It probably did help me a lot. I knew getting called up there would be a lot of media requests. When somebody just pops out of nowhere it can be pretty refreshing. I think looking back at the playoffs, I loved it. I loved the fact that I could come into the lineup and help the team. My focus was just on playing the game. It didn’t matter what people were asking or if I was nervous. I just wanted to play.

Assists Jason Seidling, Tony Jovenitti

12:06 PM:

Former Penguin Hal Gill (left)

Carey Price (left) takes full control of the Montreal net this season

Andrei Kostitsyn (left)

12:03 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma....

On having a guy like Comrie want to come play for a reduced rate:
I think when you see him in the preseason, you see some of the dynamic he can bring. His past history is that he produces points at half a point a game. To be able to add that to your lineup at a reduced rate I guess is a nice thing to add. He can fit into a lot of different pieces. He is a center that has played a lot of wing. He can play up and down the lineup in different spots. It’s great to be able to have people that want to come play for the Pittsburgh Penguins. I think it says a lot.

On Tyler Kennedy having a chance to prove himself with Asham out:
It is an opportunity. There is n opportunity there for a couple of people. Tyler Kennedy should be thinking about playing his game a lot more than scoring goals. He is a guy who adds a lot of energy and speed, but really needs to focus on bringing that grit and physical aspect to his game. He needs to win puck battles. He is a guy who likes to be on the outside a little more and needs to get inside a lot more and get to the net. At the end of the game Tyler should be focused on whether he has annoyed somebody on the other team with the way he has played – whether it is winning puck battles physically or being around the net. That is where Tyler can be an effective player.

On Kennedy having the same acceleration as a player:
I think he was slowed by an injury last season. I think he is back to where he was speed and energy wise at the beginning of last season.

On any differences in the way the Canadiens play and defending Mike Cammalleri
That’s a good question. I think Philadelphia did a better job than we did by keeping him to the outside. He was far too comfortable on the ice scoring goals against us. That was a big factor and something that we will talk about and look at. It’s too early to see a lot of differences in Montreal in the game and a half I have watched. Obviously their goaltender is different and they have made a few changes.


12:01 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room:

Sidney Crosby

On the excitement for Saturday’s game:

There’s some added excitement on top of us wanting to get our first win. We did some good things last game, and I think we want to do a lot of the same things. And certainly playing Montreal has developed into a bit of a rivalry with the playoffs and all of the French guys we have here.

On Mike Comrie:
It helps a lot, he’s got skill, he’s got experience and he can play in a lot of different situations. He brings a lot of skill and we saw him on our power play last game, he did some really good things and made some skilled plays.

On the power play:
I think we’re doing a few new things compared to last year, so when you haven’t played a lot of games you have to kind of guess what teams are going to do and be ready for different situations. So the more you can be prepared the better, especially at the beginning of the season. You don’t always have the luxury of 10 games and seeing everything. So you have to make sure that you run through every situation so that you’re prepared for it.

On him and Evgeni Malkin leading the team:

We’re excited. It takes everybody, but we certainly try to do our best every game and we have a responsibility to produce and be at our best. I don’t think that’s any different than anyone else, we all have our roles, and like anyone else we take it seriously and we want to make sure we’re at our best.

Marc-Andre Fleury

On playing the Canadiens:

I was thinking about it this summer, and it will be fun. I think everyone’s excited about tonight’s game. But I don’t think we should make a bigger deal than it is. We’re just trying to go out there and get a win for our fans in the new building.

On relaxing more for Saturday’s game than for the first game:
I think it will be a little more normal, but I think everyone’s just looking forward to getting back on the ice.

On if the playoff loss is behind him:
A win would feel great, but that’s in the past, that was last season. So we’re just trying to do well and get a win in this new building.

Mike Comrie

On playing with Malkin and Crosby:
I think the biggest thing with them is the way they think the game. Whoever is out there with them has to get them the puck and then go get open because you want to play your percentages over the course of 60 minutes. You want the puck in their hands. Whoever plays with them has to just get open.

On playing in Pittsburgh:
I think the main goal for me this summer was to try to play on a team like this. I thought playing for Pittsburgh would be a great opportunity for me. Hopefully I can come in and play hard and stay healthy. It’s been frustrating the past couple of seasons with my injuries. If I can stay healthy and get open for a couple of these guys I think I can convert.

On this being a fresh start to his career:
I think so. It’s a breath of fresh air for anybody coming in. It’s a competitive group. I think this team expects a lot out of itself. I just turned 30, so I still have some hockey left. If I can stay healthy I know I can help this team.

Assists Jason Seidling, Tony Jovenitti

11:55 AM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma said that winger Arron Asham is "out indefinitely at this point" with an upper-body injury at his post morning skate media conference.

"He's getting better, but I'm not ready to put a timetable on it," Bylsma added. "He's not going to be playing tonight. It's more than day-to-day at this point.


10:45 AM:

Goaltending coach Gilles Meloche (left)

Paul Martin (left) takes some shots on goal


10:33 AM:
The Penguins line combos and defensive pairs for their morning skate (no surprises here):



10:10 AM:
The Penguins host the Montreal Canadiens, the team that eliminated Pittsburgh in a seven-game semifinals series last spring, Saturday at CONSOL Energy Center at 7 p.m. 

Jason Seidling has the skinny on the Habs.

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