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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Philadelphia

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Game day final thoughts:

  • Pens’ lines – Asham elevated (10:38 AM).
  • Speaking of Asham, he’s playing his former team (4:36 PM).
  • Bylsma discusses Comrie, the first 10 games and the new blindside rule (11:42 AM).
  • Crosby and Fleury chat (11:46 AM).
  • Pens pics (10:50 AM).
  • Flyers pics (11:55 AM).

Tune in at 7 p.m. for Jason Seidling’s blog. And after the game, we get to fly to Carolina for a showdown with the Hurricanes Saturday night. I haven’t even caught my breathe from the last road trip. It feels like we were on the road only yesterday. Oh, wait….we were!


4:36 PM:
Lots of news surrounding Arron Asham. The skinny is that he's back from injury, playing his former team and skating on Malkin's line.

11:55 AM:
Here are a few pictures from the Flyers morning skate at CONSOL Energy Center. Notice the advertisements on their jerseys:


Former Penguins star and assistant coach Joe Mullen is an assistant coach with the Flyers.

11:46 AM:

Sounds heard around the locker room...

Sidney Crosby

On faceoffs:
Generally everybody has a stronger side and a weaker side. Usually your backhand is stronger and your forehand is weaker. I think most guys are that way. Obviously, when you are taking them on the power play you have that one extra guy. Sometimes that guy is able to help you out. I think in situations like power plays you can get some help so that is nice. Different teams have different plays involving faceoffs. The more help you can get from your wingers, the better.

On being the team’s top faceoff guy
You get used to it. It does take some time. It’s strength and getting used to it. It takes a little bit out of you too. You just get into the habit of doing it. I don’t know what to compare it to. It’s like coming back for training camp and taking more shots – your body adapts. It’s the same thing with faceoffs. After a while you just get used to it.

On taking important draws
I think they are always looking at the stats throughout the game and who you are strong against. All that said, it takes one to lose. You can have the greatest game in the faceoff circle and then lose one in your own zone and it’s in your net sometimes. I think the main thing is that all of our centers are aware of how important they are for our team. Every time we are out there we are competing and wanting to win them. That’s the way we have to be.

On this being the third meeting already with the Flyers
It’s relatively quick to play them a third time here. We play well usually. Both teams bring out the best in one another. It’s a big game for us. We want to bounce back.

On playing with Kunitz:
We have played together for a while now. We got him the year we won the Cup. It was a great experience winning it together. I think there is certainly chemistry there. We have gotten used to playing with one another. I enjoy playing with him. He plays hard, goes to the net and does a lot of those little things. There is a comfort level there.

Marc-Andre Fleury

On changing his routine:
I don’t do anything different. I have the same routine as I did previously. Maybe sometimes when it starts to get bad I start thinking a little more than I should. That’s when I have to stay positive and focused on the plays I have to make and stopping the puck.

On being upset by hearing criticism
It’s part of being a goalie and part of being in sports. I am not happy right now. I am not happy I am not winning more than I am. That’s just part of it.

On playing well against the Flyers:
It just seems like Philly is always a pretty fun game. It’s always a good rivalry. They don’t like us and we don’t like them.


11:42 AM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On Mike Comrie:
He has not brought what he brought in training camp, as you noted, and that’s something we’re looking for him to add. He’ll be used on the power play and other spots to be able to do that for us.

On the new blindside hits rule:
I haven’t necessarily seen the effect of the rule yet on the play on the ice. But it does, however, immediately come in to play when you see a hit like the Kris Letang hit in our building. We disagree with the call on Letang, but we agree with the call, because the ref immediately has to make a decision about the protection of the player. That’s the role he has to do. And he made a split-second call. We could slow it down 15 times and say it was a good, clean hit, but on the ice and with the way the player reacted to the hit, I think it was a good call. So that has happened in the game. You watch a game on any given night, and you may think immediately on a hit, and the rule comes to your mind. So it has had an effect on watching the game.

On the team’s first 10 games:
There are certain aspects of our team, through 10 games have been affected by injuries that we’ve dealt with and some of the players out of our. But generally, I don’t think our team has carved an identity yet on how we’re going to play games and win games. We’ve certainly played some real tough games. The Nashville game was a great game. We worked really hard and we’ve battled really hard and we worked hard to get that win in overtime. But we haven’t played a game where we’ve dictated the pace of the play for 60 minutes. That’s something we’re looking to do and we want as a part of our identity. So through 10 games, there is some good and some bad and some issues to deal with, but that’s really the calling card of the first 10 games. We have not dictated the course of a game for 60 minutes, where it’s played, how it’s played and the speed at which it’s played. That’s something we addressed yesterday after the first 10.

On the quality of all the teams this season and the toughness of the games
I think, specifically on our last road trip, judging from some of the other coaches’ comments and some of the other media going in, we’re still playing games where the other team is using it as a measuring stick. You see Nashville, a good team playing very well, and the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town and they use it as a measuring stick. St. Louis used those words before the game and in the media. That’s the type of games that we played. Tampa Bay, their coach said it before that game. That’s why the pace and intensity of those games were really high and really good hockey games. I largely think that’s what we’ve seen in the last few.

On who will play in goal for Friday’s game
If you go with what the radio said this morning, Marc-Andre Fleury. But I will make that decision at game time tonight. This one was per-plan. So we stuck with our plan for goaltender tonight and we will as well tomorrow.


10:50 AM:


10:38 AM:
The Pens had some new line configurations at the Friday morning skate. Arron Asham has been elevated to the second line, while Mike Comrie slides down to the fourth. Here are the lines:


10:29 AM:
The Pens battle cross-state rival Philadelphia at CONSOL Energy Center. Pittsburgh is looking for a little revenge, as the Flyers spoiled the team's new arena opener with a 3-2 decision.

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