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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Tampa Bay

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Pens’ lines (10:38 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Staal, Stamkos and HBO (12:25 PM).
  • Wisdom dispensed from Crosby, Cooke and Martin (11:59 AM)
  • Letang and Goligoski share insight (2:05 PM).
  • Talbot comes clean (10:36 AM).
  • Pens emulsions (10:54 AM).
  • Only 4 Lightning skated (12:05 PM).
  • “While it’s on my mind there’s a girl that fits the crime for a future love, dream that I’m still to find. But in the meantime…” (10:21 AM).

2:05 PM:
PensTV talks ice hockey with Letang and Goligoski.



12:25 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On managing Jordan Staal’s ice time:
About 15 minutes is where I expect him to end up. Last game, he was at 9:30 after two, and having watched him play, I felt like I really didn’t need to monitor him too much in the third. Had he gotten six and a half in the third, I would have been okay with that. Looking at him muscle-wise and after he exerted himself in a game, he feels pretty good. Jordan is one of the guys who you can kind of see how he’s doing. Other players kind of mask it a little better, but Jordan is a guy who lets you know how he’s feeling and where he’s at. We’ll shoot for around 15, but if he ends up at 17 and a half, I’m not going to be too alarmed. It meant we saw him doing well.

On Steven Stamkos possibly developing a rivalry with Sidney Crosby:
From a media standpoint, I don’t think they’re going to butt heads in commercials and advertisements for a game the way Ovie and Sid do. Certainly, last year and the last couple games, they had that kind of rivalry to see who was going to have that lead in goals. Earlier this year, there was a lot of hype and talk about Stamkos and the year he was having. Some of the people in this room indicated that the five-point or four-point night for Stamkos kind of ignited Sid’s run. They coincided, but that was kind of the media trying to take something out of that. I think Stamkos will keep showing us why we’re talking about him, he’s a great player and a hard-working player. I expect him to keep getting better and I think Sid’s going to be there, too. I think there’s going to be a little comparison there. But it’s not going to make for the same commercial of Ovie and Sid going head-to-head.

On getting the Winter Classic and HBO out of the way:
You definitely feel like you’re turning the page and going to a different part of the season. I feel like I was happy it was at the halfway part of the season. Because you typically have these marks in the year, and this halfway mark coincides with the end of HBO and the Winter Classic. So we use that as a coaching standpoint to say, “Okay, that was the second 20 games of the first half and now we’re going on to the second half.” It did feel like a bit of an All-Star break, where you get a break from something. But I did talk to the players about not being mic’d during a game. There are no cameras around the corner so you can act a little more at ease.

On his feelings of how HBO showcased the team:
Going into it I hoped our team and players would come off as they are. We don’t get to see Evgeni  Malkin and Fleury and Crosby – we get to see Max Talbot the way he is, he let’s us know – but our team and players came off as they are. That was the one thing I hoped for our team. As it played out, I was happy to see that people got to see what our team and players are like. From that standpoint I was really excited how it played out. We’ll see Round 4 tonight.

On Kennedy playing left wing
He’s played there a handful of times in game situations where you might not have noticed because it was for two shifts or at the end of a period. You might not have seen that happen. What we’re asking our wingers to do, playing the off-side is easier to do in some of the scenarios that we are asking our wingers to do. He’s practiced there. He’s taken snaps in areas where he’s played the left side. He has played a few shifts there. Don’t forget that Tyler is a natural centerma that played right wing when he got to pro hockey. Now he’s playing a little bit of left. He’ll be playing there for now.

On goalies wanting to see shots in games:
It’s typical for a goaltender after the game when they’ve won and haven’t had many shots, to say that they would have liked more shots. It’s not typical before the game for a goaltender to say I’d like 45 (shots) tonight and I want them coming fast and furious. It’s usually after the game and after a win where they haven’t seen many pucks. Take it with a grain of salt. A steady dose of action where he’s into the game is something a goaltender feels better about. No goaltender wants 45 to begin with.

On Tampa’s 1-0 OT win at Washington:
There was a lot of skill and talent on the ice. Both goaltenders played real well. It had a playoff feel to it. Both teams were tentative on both sides of the puck. It was tough to create offense. There were some flurries. The goaltenders did play well, but there were a couple chances that looked like they could have gone in at some point and time in the game. Tampa Bay is fast, hard-working team that comes at you. They did that. They were able to get to Washington at times. Washington played a pretty good game. I felt at one point halfway through the second I thought I was watching a playoff game between two teams.

On Roloson:
It’s an indication of where they think their team is at, trying to add a veteran goalie to put them over the edge. They’re a very good team at the top of the league to begin with, and to get that guy is a pretty good addition to their team and an indication of where they think they’re at and what they can do. They’re right. They’re a good team, talented, hard working that does put a lot of pressure on the other teams with the way they play. They’ve upped their goaltending with the addition of Roloson. They’ll be a challenge.

On if center and wing are interchangeable:
In the flow of a hockey game, we don’t say the centerman is the first forward back. We say the first person back, so the first forward back is the down low player in D zone. There are interchangeable duties. Going into last game we said to Jordan, depending on your faceoffs Malkin can take the draws. Staal went 9-1 in his first 10 so it wasn’t an issue. They were ready to make an adjustment in that regard if it wasn’t working out. There are some guidelines in the neutral zone with what the centerman is going to do. That’s the area of the ice where they have to be on the same page. Jordan will be the centerman and resume those responsibilities in the neutral zone, transition and on offense. Malkin will play the wing. He’s been doing that. When he played center, he also played wing with Crosby to adjust to that in the game. Jordan is one of our smarter players on the ice. He’ll be able to read that situation as well.

Give and go: Tony Jovenitti

12:05 PM:
The Lightning notched a dramatic 1-0 overtime victory at Washington Wednesday night. The team held an optional skate at CONSOL Energy Center with only four guys out there. Defenseman Randy Jones, forward Mattias Ritola and goaltenders Dan Ellis and Mike Smith took the ice.

11:59 AM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Sidney Crosby

On Steven Stamkos:
You see him score around the net. A big part of his game is that quick release and great shot.

On if Stamkos is flying under the radar
I don’t really know the reason for that. That’s up to other people to decide. He’s a guy that when we play, you know you have to watch out for him and that’s all that matters. Whether he gets recognized for it or not, I think he’s – what is it, his third year now? – I’m sure people are going to get to know him better and better and I think that he’s understood as one of the elite players in the league. So I don’t really see it that way, I think everyone knows who he is.

On playing for Guy Boucher in juniors:
It was great. Two years that I really enjoyed. It was a lot of fun. I think I improved a lot as a hockey player and learned a lot as a person too. That whole coaching staff, and Guy especially. I’ve got great memories, and Guy was a part of that. He was intense, but he’s a guy who understands the game really well, and understands different personalities and things like that. So he was a great influence on me when I played juniors, and that intensity, you can see it, especially in practices. He’s got a real passion for the game.

On if he spent time with his favorite player Steve Yzerman at the Olympics:
Not a ton, he was pretty busy with meetings and things like that. But I got a chance to get to know him a little bit better than usual. I think it was great. He was somebody I grew up looking up to, and to get a chance to get to know him a little bit better and just to see that demeanor, he’s a natural leader, it was pretty clear to see.

On what playing on a line with Martin St. Louis does for Stamkos:

I think anybody who plays with Marty St. Louis is going to try to find space and read off him. He creates a lot, he’s got speed, he’s got a good shot and gets to those tough areas. He’s someone who creates a lot. I think if you play with him, you’ve got to try to get to open areas and Stamkos does a great job with that.

Paul Martin

On Tampa Bay:
It’s definitely going to be a tough game. They have a good lineup with a lot of talented guys. For us, it just comes down to how we’re going to play and how we’re going to continue to play the way that’s making us successful. We weren’t playing our best hockey the last time we played them but we still got a victory out of it. I think if we can play the way we want to play, the result takes play of themselves.

On wearing down the Lightning after they played an overtime game on Tuesday:
That’s our game, we want to get the puck deep and work the other team down low and hopefully tire them out. Roloson faced a lot of shots last night, so if he plays tonight we need to continue to put pucks on net and make him work.

Matt Cooke

On getting things back to normal:
We’re one game shy of halfway, but we really feel like this is the second half. It was nice to get (the distractions) out of the way. I’m glad it happened when it did. Now we can focus on putting some wins together.

On if it was a good distraction:
It made things interesting for a month. There were a lot of people in town, everyone had family in. It was an exciting thing, but the result wasn’t there obviously at the game. But just the experience we take from it, I think everyone in the room would say they’d do it again.

On Steven Stamkos:
You’re not really going to get him off his game. He’s got enough experience to battle through. But he’s a threat from anywhere. He shoots the puck hard and he’s fancy. It’s just a situation where we have to be aware of where he is on the ice. And we’re going to have to be sharp on the penalty kill.

On stopping Stamkos on the power play from the “Stamkos Spot”:
We know he’s going to be there. He’s going to get his shots, and our goaltenders know that. There are times when that’s the best option to give up, even though he can rip it. The best thing we can do is pressure the pass that’s going to him and try to make it not such a great pass.

10:54 AM:

10:38 AM:
The Pens are sticking with the line combos they had from this week:


10:36 AM:
Who is that clean shaven Penguin? Talbot looses the fu-manchu.

10:21 AM:
The Pens kick off a span of five games in eight days with back-to-back contests tonight against Tampa Bay and Thursday in Montreal at Bell Centre. Pittsburgh's battle with the Lightning will feature the top 3 scorers in the NHL: Sidney Crosby (65 points); Steven Stamkos (56); Martin St. Louis (51). It should be an exciting affair.

We're going to start the day with a classic "Where are they now?" band. Anyone remember Spacehog? You may not recall the band, but you probably remember their popular jam, "In the Meantime."

So where are they now? According to Wikipedia, they reunited in 2008 and are working on a new album. I'm sure you're all eagerly awaiting its release. Enjoy.

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