Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Toronto

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Game day final thoughts…

  • No Malkin, Pens lines (10:41 AM).
  • The streak (10:21 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Staal, Comrie, Crosby and Fleury (12:30 PM).
  • Words of wisdom from Crosby, Orpik and Fleury (12:06 PM).
  • Lots of Pens pics (10:48 AM).
  • Leafs pics (12:07 PM).
  • “If you’re hurt, why don’t you tell someone. Don’t feel bad, you’re not the only one…” (10:11 AM).

12:30 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On if Jordan Staal is close to playing again
Not close enough that I know. He’s been working out hard and skating hard, but we just started the process of getting motion and movement into his rehab. So it seems like a slow process at first when you’re doing this all day long. But he’s certainly been doing a lot of skating on his own.

On Staal’s hand:
It’s not immobilized, he wears (the brace) sometimes just for protection. He’s free to walk around with nothing on there.

On Mike Comrie:
He’s just now getting into some more extensive rehab. We haven’t seen him on the ice yet, but he’s been working out hard. He’s had some rehab and some resting time. Now he’s getting back into some more strenuous exercise. So he’s progressing.

On what teams try to do against Sidney Crosby
Teams try different things and different kinds of defensive pairings to match-up against him. And they work pretty hard to get that match-up to play against him. There are teams that maybe play a little more physical on him. In one way they try to go after him and get him off his game, or they try to take away his time and space if they have checking line or a shut-down pairing. I don’t see him making adjustments to what they’re trying to do. He’s just playing the game, playing within our structure and playing the right way. And he’s still able to attack in the neutral zone and play in the offensive zone and get time and space there as well. He goes to the net. A lot of times you try to push skill players away from the danger areas and put him to the outside, but he’s a tough guy to keep away from the area in which he can be so dangerous, which is around the net. He’s goes there hard and is willing to stay there and score a lot of those goals for us.

On when Crosby is used:
I think he’s used in a lot of different situations for us. There are a lot of times when other teams aren’t focused on necessarily stopping him. He gets to their team’s top lines. The previous game, he was out there against (New Jersey’s) top line. I’m not sure that’s their priority, to shut down Sidney Crosby, when they go over the boards. Sometimes he gets an offensive zone faceoff from the opposition’s best line, and I’m sure their focus isn’t shutting down Crosby and his line at that time. 

On Marc-Andre Fleury’s efficiency during close games:
I don’t think there was ever a time when anybody in our room or on the coaching staff didn’t think Marc-Andre was going to play great hockey for us. He’s stuck to his game plan and his focus and his practice, and his game has certainly come around. What he’s done for our team lately, our team’s played real solid defense in front of him, but in the last game, if you look back, there were two times when we let a (scoring) chance come in alone from the hashmarks in, and the puck never really got to the net because Marc-Andre came out strong on his stick and the guys tried to make a deke, and they didn’t materialize into goals or strong opportunities. Marc’s been real solid. In his last game with shots from the point through traffic, he was cool as a cucumber with his rebounds and covering up loose pucks in the crease. He’s been real solid back there, you gain a lot of confidence when your team is playing good defense from your goaltender on out. And there’s certainly been that flash of a smile that you don’t see as often as we do, but it’s in practice and games and he’s been real strong and has been adding to the competence of our team.

On Fleury’s smile is the kind that would make a coach smile:
You’ll probably see my smile more than you see his. But he’s smiling behind that mask and that’s that edge to his game that is so important to how he plays.

On how Chris Kunitz’s game seems to rub off on Sidney Crosby:
A lot of times since Chris came here, we talk about what he adds to that line in terms of their speed there. There’s been a net-front presence, a drive, a physical forechecking presence that allows loose pucks and turnovers and continuing plays, and that’s added to Sidney’s game. I think this year in particular, you’re seeing a healthy Chris Kunitz and you’re seeing him add a little bit more passing-wise and offensive-wise. He’s made some great plays and finished some great goals this year that maybe we didn’t see in the past. Chris dealt with some injuries all last year and there’s a complement there. Sid plays a straight-ahead, straight-forward speed game. There’s not a lot of east-west, there’s not a lot of dangle in his game. His power and speed is around the net, it’s driving. And Chris Kunitz is complementing that, and we’re seeing that, especially in the last month—you’re seeing a lot of that with Chris and Sid.

On Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek adjusting to each other:
I don’t think the adjustment is as great as we’ve talked about. They’ve made an adjustment, they know how we were wanting them to play, but they’re both great defensemen, Paul’s probably a little more of a puck-moving type of player, but he’s very sound positionally, he’s very good at minimizing team’s good players and getting out of trouble. Z’s a little more battle, a little more physical, a shot-blocking type of presence. I still think for our team, we’ve got a ways to go. We can be better defensively. We’re playing well, we’re limiting opportunities, but I still think we can get better. Those guys have been great for us, our defense has been outstanding, but I think our team is still looking to get better and it’s always a challenge every game, every team. We’ve got a different team coming in tonight with Toronto. They’ve won two in a row, and it poses a different game than the New Jersey game, we still have to get better and get ready for the opposition tonight. So they’ve been good, we’ve been good, but I know (our guys) still think we can get better.

Give and go: Tony Jovenitti and Michelle Crechiolo

12:07 PM:
The Leafs are finishing up their morning skate at CONSOL Energy Center.

12:06 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Sidney Crosby

On what’s been consistent for the team over their 10-game winning streak:
I’d say the way we’ve competed. I think that’s been a big strength. Sometimes you’re going to make mistakes, but I think if your effort’s there and you’re competing hard, you give yourself a chance. I think we’ve done that over this stretch here.

On how the team is different from October and if the guys are now all on the same page:
We weren’t playing good hockey. We had some injuries. We had games where we played really well but didn’t find the net. There were kind of different things, but I think we’ve found some consistency lately. We’ve gotten big plays, there’s not a difference in winning and losing. It’s special teams, it’s getting the big save, getting the big goal late. There’s a lot of different things, so we’ve gotten that lately.

On the power play:
Every team kills a different way. You have to always make adjustments. Even our power play personnel has changed a little bit. You’re always trying to make sure you’re sharp and working on those details.

On Kris Letang’s NHL All-Star ballot recognition:
He’s had a great year so far and is very deserving of it. He’s a big part of our team. We’ve got a lot of different guys who get attention on our team, and he’s definitely in that mix now, even more so than ever. His play has proven that, and hopefully it continues, and he’s had a great start.

Brooks Orpik

On dishing out hits:
I think the momentum part of it is the biggest thing.  There are obviously smaller hits where your team is doing the same thing to separate guys from the puck and create turnovers, but I think it’s more so when you’re down by a goal, hits give your team an emotional boost when you need it.

On hits giving momentum to the next shift:
There are different roles. Obviously, I’m not going to score as many goals as Sidney Crosby. But when he scores, he gets the rest of the team momentum, and other guys provide it in different ways. Like when the PK kills off a penalty, it gives the team a boost. I think hitting can have the same impact on a team. If it’s maybe a flat game energy-wise, you’ll see Cooke go out and run someone over. Everyone else wants to jump over the boards and do the same thing. There are lots of different ways that hits can impact the game, but that’s definitely the biggest one.

On Colton Orr:
He’s a guy I remember back all the way in Boston. He’s a guy who’s kind of looked at as a tough guy or a fighter. When he played in New York, he was the guy who would match up with Sid’s line all the time. He’s obviously gotten a lot better as a player and it’s something that he probably worked at and prides himself in. His reputation is as a tough guy or a fighter, but he’s a guy who can score some goals.

Marc-Andre Fleury

On how fun it is to come to the rink during the win streak compared to the beginning of the season:
It’s a lot more fun, definitely. It just seems like October took forever to go by, and November went by real quick. It’s just a lot more fun when you’re winning.

On his confidence level:
I feel good. I feel calm and relaxed in the net. It just seems like the team finds a way to win. That shows that the team is confident.

On gaining momentum and confidence:
We know we’re not going to win them all, but it’s a good feeling. Everybody has been working hard at it and doing the right thing to win. But every night is a new game, and we’ll start from scratch.

Assists: Tony Jovenitti and Michelle Crechiolo

10:48 PM:
Colossal amount of pics from Pens practice:

10:41 AM:
Still no Malkin on the ice for Pittsburgh. No changes to the team's lines:


10:21 AM:
The Penguins carry their 10-game winning streak into tonight's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Crosby and Fleury has certainly carried the team on the streak, but it's been a total team effort. Here are some interesting numbers from the streak.

10:11 AM:
What happens when three Australian teenagers form a rock band in the mid-90s? Silverchair. 

View More