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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Montreal

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Orpik returns tonight vs. Montreal (11:33 AM).
  • Game Day Report by Steve Mears (2:15 PM).
  • Injury updates, a lot of them (11:39 AM).
  • Pens lines (10:34 AM).
  • Cammalleri in for the Habs (12:33 PM).
  • No Neal, Malkin, Kennedy or Strait at morning skate (10:32 AM).
  • Orpik & Adams spit knowledge (1:03 PM).
  • Scouting the Habs (9:45 AM).
  • Crosby and Malkin on the ice before morning skate (9:35 AM).
  • Craig Adams is one tough dude (10:54 AM).
  • Frenemies strike a pose (1:26 PM).
  • Crosby and Jeffrey speak wisely (12:40 PM).
  • Coachspeak with Bylsma (12:59 PM).
  • Shero & Bylsma hand out chocolate to students (2:40 PM).
  • Help fight Cancer (1:38 PM).
  • Pens pictorials (12:31 PM).
  • Habs pictorials (1:12 PM).
  • Coachspeak with Jacques Martin (1:13 PM).
  • “Get around town gentlemen…” (9:30 AM).

2:40 PM:
Student Rushers have been waiting in line since 10 am this morning. Since they braved the cold, they were given a treat as GM Ray Shero and HC Dan Bylsma just came out to hand them cups of hot chocoloate.

2:15 PM:
The boyishly handsome Steve Mears brings you all the info in today's Verizon Game Day Report.

1:38 PM:
Scientists have proven that cancer sucks. And the NHL is fighting back during the month of October. But we need your help. Steve Sullivan fills you in on the deets. Please do your part to help knock cancer out.

1:26 PM:
Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury talked to Habs goalie Carey Price prior to Pittsburgh's morning skate. Maybe they were talking about tonight's celebration pose. I'm hoping they plank.

Michelle Crechiolo comically dubbed them "frenemies." I found this highly entertaining.

1:13 PM:
Coachspeak with Jacques Martin...

On Mike Cammalleri and who he’ll play with tonight:
Cammelleri’s back. We’ll see depending on how he fits in, we’ll see at game time. I think (the power play’s) one area he can help our team. His ability to  shoot the puck on the power play is good.

On the Pittsburgh Penguins without so many key players:
I think they’re a good team. I think it starts, when you look at  a hockey team, you start with the goalie, premier goalie. When you look at their defense I think that’s where the strength of their hockey team (is). People forget because they got that star power up front, they revamped their defense two years ago with the acquisition of Martin and Michalek. So they have a strong team. I think the fours do a good job. They got people that can move the puck, mobile back there.

Assist: J-Crew

1:12 PM:
Habs 'n at...

Subban 84 career games < Gill 1,000 games (left); Plekanec with his turtleneck (right)

Price rockin' the pink to fight cancer (left); Fore!!!! (right)

Wind 'em up and let it rip (left): Gomez is from Alaska dontcha know (right)

1:03 PM:
Orpik talks about his return tonight, while Adams reflects on taking a puck to the face...

Brooks Orpik

On if this is his season debut:
Yup. It’s been a long time waiting, that’s for sure. Unfortunately we’ve had so many games so quick, I missed more than I thought I was going to miss. But just tried to be patient with it, and the team’s done a really good job here up to this point.

On if he has responded enough physically to where he feels strong:
Yeah, it’s still a little achy here and there but I think it’s as good as it’s going to get. You’ve got things you’ve got to work through. Just manage it so it doesn’t go backwards at all.

On his injury not being a risk at this point:
From what they tell me, no (laughs). So I’ve just got to believe them and just kind of go with it and go out and play.

On not rushing back despite the injuries:
Ray (Shero) was really good with me. I think he asked me about five times if I was doing that, and he said just be patient with it, we don’t want to rush you here at all. So they were really good about that. They would have just called someone else up if that was the case.

On how tough it was having to sit out:
It’s frustrating. I think you go into the year and one of the goals you set is to try and play all 82 games. Obviously if you miss the first one, that’s not very realistic. I had a good laugh with Ray yesterday where he said ‘believe me, you’ll play 82 games this year. It just won’t be 82 regular-season games.’ So that’s probably a good way to look at it. Those ones down the road are a little more important than the first eight.

On how difficult it is to get back onto game action after minimal practice time:
Just trying to get the speed of the game back is something you can’t simulate in practice. I didn’t get to play in any of the preseason games either, so this will be just try to get my feet wet as quick as possible here. Hopefully it’s not too big an adjustment. Just try to keep it simple early. You got to do it eventually.

On how much contact he had the past few days with the other injured players:
We had pretty good contact. I was more worried about other parts of my game than the contact part. Again, just the speed, that’s something that you can’t really simulate until you get in the game. You’ve just got to go into the game and do it.

On if Crosby was a part of that contact:
I’m just talking about myself, not 87.

On having to sit out with teammates being injured and the grind of the schedule:
It was tough. You look around at some of these other teams that played 3-4 games, and usually most years, they kind of ease you into it in October. Unfortunately we had the eight games in 13 days, so that was tough. But guys played really, really well through a lot of adversity with guys out, so hopefully I can step back in and it’s not too big a distraction.

Craig Adams

On if he’s OK after taking the puck to the face in morning skate:
Yeah, usually those things go in bursts. Right now, I’m having a tough time getting out of the way of certain things. Hopefully this will be it for a while.

On the stitches above his eyebrow:
I took a hit in the Washington game where my head hit the boards. It’s always worse doing it in practice. You never want to get that in pre-game skate, but it could have been worse.

A TV jail for us: Michelle Crechiolo

12:59 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On Brooks Orpik:
With the amount of practices that we had, one of the reasons that Brooks stayed back was to get more structured action than we can get on the road. He’s had some of that the last three days. It takes a veteran and mentally strong veteran to play a game given the fact that he hasn’t had preseason and hasn’t been in a game yet. He’s going to have to hit the ground running in terms of being able to play and execute, keeping it simple and being responsible defensively might mean not running around or being that physical tonight and play that type of game. Responsible and simple with the puck. I don’t know what his workload will be, but I’m not looking to stress it too greatly.

On the grind of the early season:
As a coach you map out a season and the first two months, you look for work days, look to get a lot of structured work in your practices, look to improve on conditioning of your team and system. When we got the schedule, looking at this month, there is zero chance of getting any of that type of work in both in structure and conditioning level. That’s gone out the window as we’ve gone through this stretch. With the travel and number of games it’s what our team needs and players need to be ready to play each game. It’s been more of an end of the year/playoff mentality when it comes to that. There will be a time when we get to more work and structured practice. Right now that’s not the case. We’re basically in it every other day, if not more. In some cases that can be good. I think getting into a flow and rhythm isn’t a bad thing either. We’ll just get our work a little later on in the year.

On why Montreal plays well against the Penguins:
Digging back for two years, they’ve been a very patient opponent against the Penguins. When we play teams that are patient and sound defensively with good goaltending, we have thought we had the advantage in shots and offensive zone time and chances, but they have been the team that’s played well defensively and counter back and gotten goals. Their special teams have been a factor as well, getting leads. A team that plays patient against the Penguins can at times frustrated our team a little bit. In the past that has been the case. We saw that in the playoffs two years ago and the success they’ve had in Montreal. Our challenge against this team is to play our game, be aware, not give anything to their forwards. Their forwards are quick around the net and quick countering. We’ve seen that from them. It’s about playing a patient game, being diligent with how we execute with the puck, manage the puck and being able to continue to play in the offensive zone. We can’t be discouraged by how well they play defense and how good their goaltending is, and continue on that plan.

On Hal Gill’s 1,000th game tonight:
Three days ago we were aware that this game would be Hal’s 1,000th game. There have been jokes in our dressing room about what we should do in honoring his longevity in the league. It’s a pretty amazing thing to play 1,000 games. We’ve played against him and had him on our team. He’s a big part of our team when we won the Stanley Cup. I never like seeing that tall, lanky fellow on the other side, that big stick. A real credit to him. He’ll get taps from our team and players, probably a nod and we’ll do something somewhere to make sure he understands what a great accomplishment it is for him, 1,000 games.

On if Malkin had a setback:
It was not a setback. It’s not unrelated to the surgically repaired knee. It’s just with the amount of games we’re playing, if he were to play every game we would be dealing with soreness. It needs to calm down. It needs to get better. By playing everyday it’s not going to get that way. Unfortunately we play everyday. It seems like that. If we played four games right now it wouldn’t be an issue. With the number of games, now we’re taking appropriate rest so that he’s getting healthier.

On Orpik’s pairings:
(Engelland) to start off with, but the minutes aren’t going to be typical minutes for a Brooks Orpik game. They’ll be monitored. He won’t have just one partner. (Niskanen) and (Lovejoy) have been playing together so Brooks will be with Deryk. I expect him to move around with Niskanen and Lovejoy. Martin and Michalek will be together.

12:40 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Sidney Crosby

On his current condition:
Feel good. Nothing new. Nothing new to report.

On getting back on the ice and getting hit by his own teammates:
Just getting in practice with line combinations, game situations, that kind of thing. We had a really busy start to the season. It hasn’t been easy to do that. That’s obviously pretty important as far as progressing. I’m anxious for that for sure. That being said, there’s got to be those times and situations and we haven’t got a lot of those lately with our schedule.  As things go on I’m sure we’ll get more and more time, get a better feel for where I’m at as far as contact.

On if he can simulate enough contact during practice or if a game would be best:
You can only simulate so much in practice, but you still need to get a good feel for where you’re at based on those situations so definitely need to go through those. As far as just feeling well that’s one thing, but you also have to make sure that you’re prepared to play. I haven’t played a game in months. You got to make sure that you’re not only prepared to get hit, but also prepare to be successful out there.

On if anyone of his teammates wants to hit him:
No, it’s always like that with guys coming back. When guys are injured, guys give them a little bit more space. I’ll have to provoke them a bit to hit me so we’ll what happens, but it’ll be nice to get into those situations. Not just being hit, just being able to go out there and think and react.

On how the NHL and Brendan Shanahan are handling hits this year:
I think it’s been good. He’s looked at each situation individually. I think that everything’s been well thought out. The same message has been continued throughout. I think that’s important. We still see some pretty big hits out there so I think it’s been pretty productive.

On his next scheduled appointment with doctors:
I don’t know. It’s not always like a fixed date, but there’s a lot of communication there between each other every day.

Dustin Jeffrey

On how far he is from coming back:
I think it’s close. It’s in the trainer’s and staff hands now. I think it’s up to the coaching staff when they feel they’re ready to jump back into a game.

On why he’s feeling better:
I think it’s just the amount of skating I’ve been doing. The situation we’re in right now, playing a lot of games in a short amount of time, there’s not a lot of time for full practices and doing stuff, D zone and penalty killing stuff. We haven’t had a full practice with everybody out there that’s not a pregame skate. I think that’s kind of played into it.

On if him and Sidney Crosby did any hitting while the team was on the road:
Yeah, we did a lot of drills. We did some skill stuff and we did some battling stuff. Brooksy (Brooks Orpik) was in on it as well because he’s trying to get back in the lineup as well. So there are a few of us out there.

On if he hit Crosby:
I think we battled. We did send some pucks along the board where you had a try to fight through a check. I wouldn’t say it was skating in open ice trying to hit each other.

Goes to jail for us: J-Crew (Justin Criado)

12:33 PM:
Bad news: Pens killer Mike Cammalleri will be in the lineup for the Canadiens, per head coach Jacques Martin.

12:31 PM:
Pictures 'n at...

Jeffrey surrounded by land mines (left); Vitale sings: "All...By...My...Self.....Don't wanna be..." (right)

HC Bylsma unaware that a flood of ketchup is coming his way (left); Bylsma and Crosby chit chat about MacIntyre as if he isn't standing between them....awkward (right)

Dupuis chillaxes (left); Real Brooks Orpik is back!!! Somewhere in the darkness of CONSOL Energy Center Cardboard Orpik is weeping tears of joy (right)

MacIntyre and Habs goalie Price talk about "Crunk Juice" (left); Letestu makes average men appear average (right)

11:39 AM:
Lots of updates from coach Bylsma:
  • Neal had a maintenance day, will play vs. Montreal
  • Orpik returns vs. Montreal
  • Strait hyper-extended his elbow against Minnesota
  • Jeffrey is getting close
  • Crosby continues his progress
  • Malkin is still day-to-day
  • Kennedy diagnosed with a concussion
"James Neal was not on the ice today, just maintenance. We expect him for the game tonight," Bylsma said.

"Brooks Orpik will be playing tonight. We'll see him for the first time.

"Brian Strait was injured in the game in Minnesota. It's not a very clear picture right now, but he hyper-extended his elbow. There is some damage there. Right now he's trying to rehab for the next couple of weeks and see what happens from there. Hopefully, he can rehab. The picture is not very clear, but he's injured for some time.

"Dustin Jeffrey continues to progress. He's been skating here in Pittsburgh and going through heavy workouts. He's getting close to being ready.

"Crosby continues on that road as well. There is no time table discussed yet for his return. He continues to practice with contact.

"Malkin is day-to-day. He skated while we were gone. He skated this morning. With the number of games we were playing, playing everyday wouldn't be a good thing right now. He's day-to-day and getting better.

"Tyler Kennedy, after being evaluated in Manitoba and coming home to see our doctors and having those results, he does have a concussion and will not progress right now until he's cleared of his symptoms - symptom free."

11:33 AM:
Orpik confirmed that he will make his season debut tonight vs. Montreal.

10:54 AM:
Adams was down on the ice after getting hit in the face with a puck. He skated hunched over to the bench. He appears to be OK, but went to the runway with a towel over his face. After a few minutes he re-emerged and is back in practice mode.

Just another shot block to the face from Craig Adams. No. Big. Deal.

10:34 AM:
Pens lines from the morning skate:


10:32 AM:
Pens on the ice for their morning skate. Crosby, Jeffrey and Orpik are out with the team. James Neal, Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy and Brian Strait are not out there. We'll get an update later on his sitch.

9:45 AM:
As many important historians have noted, the Pens host Montreal tonight. Michelle Crechiolo, part-time historian, breaks down the Canadiens in her scouting report.

9:35 AM:
Pens centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are on the ice with strength & conditioning coach Mike Kadar.

9:30 AM:
Following a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild, the Pens have opened the season with a 4-2-2 record - not a bad accomplishment considering they started the campaign with eight games in 13 days, in three time zones, with five of those games coming on the road and two back-to-back sequences. Tonight the Pens will host the Montreal Canadiens at CONSOL Energy Center at 7 pm.


And since Montreal is the French providence of Quebec, let's open the day with some French music. Here is a song by the French band Revolver called "Get Around Town."

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