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Penguins Report: Practice 1/20/10

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Quick hits from Wednesday's practice:
- Dupuis, Fleury, Talbot and Gonchar did not practice (see 11:25 AM entry)
- Head coach Dan Bylsma updated the media on the team's injuries (see 12:59 PM entry)
- All the talk today was about Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals (see 1:47 PM entry)
- We caught up with Ovechkin, Mike Green and Bruce Boudreau at the team hotel (see 5:45 PM entry)
- The NHL suspended Andy Sutton two games for his hit on Dupuis (see 5:57 PM entry)

5:57 PM:
The NHL suspended Andy Sutton two games for his hit on Pascal Dupuis. Dupuis was hit from behind and went face first into the boards. Here is what the league had to say regarding the suspension:

"New York Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton has been suspended for two games, without pay, for an incident in NHL game #738 against Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis, Tuesday night, the National Hockey League announced today.

"Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Sutton will forfeit $31,088.08.  The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

"Sutton was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding at 17:05 of the third period.  Dupuis was injured on the play.

"Sutton will miss Thursday’s game against Florida and Jan. 23 against New Jersey.  He will be eligible to return Jan. 26 against Washington."

5:45 PM:

Sounds heard around the Washington Capitals' hotel:

Bruce Boudreau
On the ride he’s had since arriving in Washington:
It’s been a lot of fun except for two games: Game 7 against Philly and Game 7 against Pittsburgh. That wasn’t too much fun but I’ve been really blessed. It’s more than I ever thought would happen. You always dream about it happening but quite frankly the older you get the more you think the less of a window you have. This year has been a great year as well. Hopefully we continue the ride.
On reading how Washington approaches tomorrow:
I think the buzz will be starting today and tomorrow. We didn’t talk about it or think about it too much because we played Detroit last night. That has a buzz to it all of it’s own as well. I think in hockey circles it’s always special when the two best players, or three best players are going at each other. I’m sure it will ramp itself up.
On Game 7 last year:
We’re beyond that. When we’re watching them win the Cup you are asking what if? But we’re focused a little more this year with the positioning of where we are as having a chance to be the first in the East with 30 games left. We want to make sure that’s taken care of instead of living in the past. I don’t think Pittsburgh would say any different. It’s always nice to beat Washington and there’s always a little extra oomph when you beat Pittsburgh. If it is, it’s more inner-self from the guys. They haven’t talked about it at all.
On Ovechkin being captain:
We didn’t want to put him in that position at 20 years old when he didn’t know the language. I wasn’t here anyway but this is his fifth year in the NHL. His English is coming along quite well. You know the guy is going to be captain we he says, ‘Yes I accept the position but only if my teammates accept me as a captain.’ That’s leadership right there. I asked a dozen guys or so and they said, ‘Yes, he’s our leader. He’s our guy.’ Not only that but they were emphatic that it couldn’t be anybody else. It was an easy choice.
On his suspension:
There are going to be people that criticize him for everything. People are going to criticize everybody. If we won 30 games in a row they’d find something negative to talk about on him. Who tries harder? Every night he’s going out and doing what he has to do to try to win whether you’re winning 5-1 or losing 5-1. He’s the guy we follow. I know the teammates follow him. I know it was the only choice and it was the right choice.
On Ovechkin and Crosby being so good:
There must have been something in the water for those couple of years. Sidney and Alex are two special guys. Usually they come along in different generations. You don’t get too many players of the same ilk in the same generation. They’re both incredible talents. They’re both great leaders. It wouldn’t surprise me if both were captains of the Olympic teams. I know Neidermayer, but they’re the internal leaders.
On what he expects from a Canada-Russia Olympic final:
I expect to see a heck of a hockey game, just looking at the talent. I’m really looking forward to it. I don’t’ know who is going to end up in the finals or whatever but I gotta believe it’s either the Swedes, Russians, Canadians or U.S. as the top four going in. All four rosters are fabulous. As a hockey guy, I can’t wait to watch it.
On if Green not making the Olympics is a blessing in disguise:
No, no blessing in disguise. He should have been there.
On Green’s season this year:
That’s his only negative thing is that he didn’t have a great playoffs. Everyone wants to focus on that. He’s having a tremendous year. He’s got 50 points already. He’s the highest plus defenseman only than Shultz, who is on our team as well. He plays the most minutes, kills penalties, on the power play. I don’t know what else can be said about him. All the attention, we always look at Mike Green’s faults. But everybody jumps on the Duncan Keith bandwagon this year. Last year it was the Chara bandwagon. But he just keeps doing what he’s doing. We’re in first place mainly because of Mike Green and Alex Ovechkin.
On why Green isn’t on the roster:
I’m not the coach. I wasn’t the one choosing. That’s the only reason I can give.
On if playing against the Penguins brings out more in Ovechkin:
They have in the past. Last year he got seven goals in seven games, and Sidney got seven goals in seven games, in the playoffs. The cream always seems to rise to the top and these two are the best. You have to believe that. You can’t forget Malkin too. I expect all of them to be great tomorrow.
On if they’ll compete the way they did in Game 2 of last year:
I never asked Alex this but I know his competitiveness. Watching, we don’t really know Sidney, but we believe we know his competitiveness. When you’re going against somebody in the same category as you, you try a little harder. I think anything is possible when these two guys go at it.
On Ovechkin adding a physical element to the rivalry:
He’s 230 pounds. He brings a physical element against everybody. It’s not just against them. That’s jus the way he plays. You’re talking about him being reckless. He’s a physical guy that has that special blend of power and finesse. If he’s not physical then he isn’t being his complete player. It’s not an added special when you talk about that. He’s not doing anything to Sidney or to Malkin that he wouldn’t do against Staal or any of the other great players in the league.
On if Crosby or Ovechkin challenge themselves when they play each other:
I don’t know. I’ve never asked him that question. I think it brings out the best in everybody. I keep forgetting to mention Semin with Malkin. He is one of the most skilled players in the league as well.

Alex Ovechkin
On waiting so long to play the Penguins:
It’s the schedule so we can’t do anything about it.
On if it’s more intense from waiting so long:
Half of the season is done so we are in pretty shape and ready to go.
On the Game 7 last year vs. Pittsburgh:
It was a tough loss but that’s life. Sometimes somebody has to lose and somebody has to win. It’s too bad it was our team that went on vacation and their team that went to the Stanley Cup. It was pretty hard but I hope this year is going to be better for us. We don’t want to lose in the second (round) or third, we want to play for the Stanley Cup.
On looking forward to the game:
It’s a big game for you but for us it’s a regular game. It’s a very big game.
On having any personal against Crosby, Gonchar and Malkin:
It’s just two good teams playing against each other. I think everybody wants to show who the best team is at the moment. Last year we beat them three times but they beat us in the playoffs. The regular season is nothing today. But we’ll see what happens in the future.
On playing with Malkin and Gonchar at the Olympics in spite of the current rivalry:
It’s pretty strong. Right now we are on different teams and there are no excuses. You never know what’s going to happen. Anything can happen. I’m looking forward to this game.
On if the Olympic gold medal game was between Russia and Canada:
Everybody thinks Russia and Canada will be in the gold medal. Lots of teams will be in the tournament. You never know who is going to be the winner over there. Today, Sweden is still the champions. When there are games we will talk about who is going to win.
On this series about Ovechkin vs. Crosby:
I think the fans will see me and Sid play against each other, and you guys. It’s a pretty big moment for us when we play against each other. We want to improve and play better. Sometimes you wake up and feel good, sometimes you wake up and feel great. Sometimes one guy has an unbelievable time, unbelievable game. Sometimes it’s a different guy. Sometimes maybe it’s not my day. After one game everybody will think this guy is unbelievable, but it’s all a matter of time. It’s a pretty big game for us, especially after last summer and the great series. It was a fun series too.
On Crosby and himself playing well leading up to the Olympics:
It’s still another month. We are getting closer. I’m starting to think about it more. When you get to Vancouver, you never know what’s going to happen over there. There are lots of teams and lots of surprises that could be over there.
On secondary scoring:
It’s great when different guys score big goals for us. Like Stecks (David Steckel) scored the game-winning goal. It’s the same in the playoffs. Sometimes the best player on the ice doesn’t score and different guys score goals during the game. Last time we played here in Pittsburgh, Stecks scored the OT goal. Everybody was happy because he scored and it was a big moment for us and for our team, and for him too. It’s very important for different guys to step up and show that they can play too.
On when he received an applause from his teammates after being named captain:
I was pretty happy. I was pretty excited about it and kind of nervous. I can’t remember when I was nervous like that. I was pretty happy. It’s all about trust. It’s all about your team, if my team wants me to be captain then I’ll take it. I want to do my best and I’ll try to do my best.
On if he hates Crosby:
I respect him as a player and as a person. When we step on the ice I only respect my teammates, only the red jersey or white, whether we play away or at home. Off the ice I can shake hands. I can say hi like normal people. I think on the ice you don’t have friends. If you have friends on the ice it’s bad for you. You may say I’m not going to hit this guy or stop him on a breakaway or something like that. I respect him as a player. He is one of the best players in the league. He will become more of an unbelievable player. For right now, on the ice he is my rival. That’s the same with everybody.

Mike Green
On the Pittsburgh-Washington rivalry:
They stole something from us last year and it’s in the back of our minds. For them to go on and win and for us to have the series we did and go to Game 7 and for them to move on instead of us is a tough one to swallow. There is definitely that in the back of our minds. We’re not going to prepare any differently playing these guys. We’re going to prepare the same and see what happens tomorrow.
On not making the Olympic roster:
I’m over it now. I was disappointed at the time. It is what it is. My main focus is here and winning the Stanley Cup.
On taking the positive from getting time off instead of playing in the Olympics:
I think in the long run it will help because of the break. It’s been tough. We play so many games and because of our schedule, we’ve been on the road lately. It will be nice to have some rest.
On the Game 7 loss:
You don’t want it to go that way at any time in the season, especially in a Game 7 playoff. Stuff happens and you get over it. I was definitely disappointed at that time but it is what it is.
On Ovechkin being the captain:
I think it’s great. It was only a matter of time before he had it on his jersey. In our eyes he’s always been our leader and now it’s just official.
On Crosby shooting the puck more:
He’s also been sneaky as far as moving the puck. It shocked me. I always thought of him as more of a passer but he’s proven that he can score a lot of goals. That just means we have to prepare differently against him and make sure that he’s not shooting, and keep him away from the net.

1:47 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room:

Dan Bylsma
On the Capitals strengths:
The biggest focus, and you saw it break down a couple times in last game, was coming into D zone coverage with the Islanders defense being active in the rush. Knowing that coming into D zone by everybody is very important. The Capitals are probably better than the Islanders with how their D gets active, how they hit late guys on the rush and have their wingers post up on the blue line. It’s a real dangerous part of their team. It was a dangerous part of their team last year. We will certainly be paying close attention to that and we worked on getting into D zone coverage again today. Those are some of the details we talked about over the last couple of weeks, getting into our game and making sure they’re there for us. It will be big tomorrow night.
On seeing the Capitals this late in the season:
I don’t know if it changes the dynamic. This was a team that was a big opponent going down the stretch and then again in the playoffs we saw that. The attention of that series and the seven games, that was a huge series. The thing about playing them now is that they feel like a Western Conference team. We watch a lot of them on TV and see their highlights. You hear a lot about them but you don’t know have a feel for how they’re going to play. This is the same coach, same team generally speaking from last season. This will be our first chance to get them again this season. I think there’ll be a buzz about this game that we haven’t seen in a little bit with them coming into our building. We have to be aware of their offensive play, their attack, they’ve scored the most goals in the league. They can come from a couple different angles with their defense with guys like Green and obviously Ovechkin, but they’ve added Morrison so he adds a little more in terms of scoring. Their fourth line is dangerous as well. It will be a test for us tomorrow and there will be a buzz about the game.
On Crosby vs. Ovechkin:
Is there a rivalry? It’s based on the fact that they are two very, very good players, that they’re dynamic, that they’re some of the best in the league. It’s fueled a lot by the media. I don’t think there is a personal feud between the two. I think it’s fueled by the media. It adds a lot to the attention of the game. There is more individual attention to the game based on that rivalry. Those two guys are out there as a part of a team. There is a rivalry amongst the team. That’s a team that we’ve battled with and beat last year. There is a dynamic because they are a very good team as are we. Most of it’s media attention. When they snarl at each other or look at each other you guys want to make something of it. It’s based on how good they are as players, how competitive they are and that these are two good teams that seem to be butting heads at pivotal times in the season.
On Washington’s PP:
We made an adjustment last year because of (Alex Ovechkin) and how he likes to get the puck, where he likes to get it and how he likes to shoot it. Power play wise there is an adjustment and an awareness of how they’re trying to get him the puck. The dangerous part with Ovechkin on the power play is that they have other dangerous weapons too. It’s not just a one-guy show, and you can plant a guy on him at all times. They have Backstrom and Green is dangerous with his shot. Backstrom makes plays from the halfwall. You can’t pay all your attention to Ovechkin and shadow him. You have to be aware, deny places where they want to get him the puck, and then do your best to get clears and prevent them from getting that zone time. It is a tall task. There are certain areas that we have to be aware of dealing with Ovechkin. It’s up to more than just one person to do that. It’s not just one guy. It’s three guys or five guys at a time that have to be aware of that as well.

Sidney Crosby
On getting in a practice on Wednesday:
Yeah, we don’t get a lot of time to practice, especially with the schedule the way it is. So, I think we always find – especially this year – that the day after a game, we’re still trying to work on details and our execution and things like that. So, we’ve got to make the most of our time, and we tried to do that today.
On Dupuis getting hit:
Well, he was in a bad position to get hit. His number was showing there, and he had his back to Sutton. But, you know he’s a great guy. He might have surprised himself with how hard he hit him. Doops was pretty close to the boards. I think it’s always kind of a tough read when you’re trying to pin a guy, especially a guy of that size. It’s never a good hit when it’s kind of a bad situation, but at the same time, I really don’t believe he was trying to hurt him intentionally. I think he was trying to play hard. That’s another one of those things where you see a guy’s number like that, and you have to be careful. He’s a big guy, and it was kind of a tough play.
On if it’s better to throw a shoulder when players see other players’ numbers:
Well, yeah, and I think that’s what he was trying to do. But, we’re talking about the game situation, and you’re talking about really inches. I mean, if he’s six inches closer to the boards, he’s probably fine. He might have been expecting it and might have been able to brace himself, but he wasn’t close enough to the boards to really expect it or brace himself. Sutton’s a big guy. His shoulder was just behind the top of his back basically, so it’s pretty hard to control your head and your neck when you’re hit that high. It’s just an unfortunate play. Like I said, if it wasn’t Sutton, it might not have been quite as bad. It’s a tough hit.
On tomorrow’s game against the Washington Capitals:
Yeah, I think we have one of those games – when we look at the Phillys and the Washingtons. I think these games are a little more intense with a little more emotional. That’s the way we look at it. I think we look at it as a challenge. It’s a good way for us to measure where we’re at. We have to kind of keep things in perspective.
On back stories between him and Ovechkin with the Olympics coming up and going back to last year’s playoffs:
Yeah, I mean that’s kind of the case whenever we play each other. It’s always like that. I think both teams are probably used to that, and I think that’s why you see both teams – it really brings the best out of them. You’ve seen some really good games. Now with the playoff history between the two teams, too – that just adds to it. It’s still the same game. As a player, you look forward to it for sure.
On if he reflects on the back-and-forth between him and Ovechkin during the playoffs last year:
Not really. It’s done with. It was great. Obviously, we came on the right side of things.
On if any interaction occurs between the two of them off the ice:
Our first year in Vancouver, I met him there. Since then - no, not really. I see him every once in a while in New York. I think obviously with the way things have gone in the last few years with the rivalry – that’s like asking me if I’m going to be best friends with five guys on the Flyers. I think that’s just the way it works. It’s hard when you play that hard against other teams. You can’t really make too good of friends against then. We always have those situations. I don’t think it’s something to think about a lot. We’re going to try to play hard. When these two teams play, there’s no question that it’s going to be hard. I don’t think there’s any needed motivation other than that. It’s going to be there.
On the rivalry between the Penguins and the Capitals:
Everyone will show up for those big games, and it’s just natural. You want guys on your team who are going to see it that way. Both teams are very skilled and want to be successful, so that’s the result you get. I think with each year it’s just gotten bigger. And, throughout the playoffs – even more.

Marc-Andre Fleury
On getting a new glove for his injured finger:
It’s just that there’s no more room in there.
On having to change his equipment due to medical reasons:
I think that that can help me come back as soon as possible.
On if he specifically tried to return for the Washington game:
Any game. I don’t like to be sidelined and watching the game on TV.
On whether the injury is a pain issue or if he is experiencing a range of emotions:
A little bit of both. Hopefully the new glove can help out and add a little bit more protection. We’ll see.
On how quickly Fleury can break in his new glove and feel comfortable with it:
I don’t know. Usually, it maybe takes two weeks. So, maybe I’ll put it in the shower for a while.
On playing the upcoming game in Philadelphia against the Flyers:
It’s always fun to go to Philly. It’s always a good game – very intense. We get booed and yelled at, and it’s interesting to play there.
On how much work he wants to get in before getting back into a game:
I don’t know – at least a good practice with the guys or as soon as I feel better I guess.

Assist Caitlin Kasunich

12:59 PM:
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma updated the media on the team's current injury situations:

- Pascal Dupuis sported a swollen right eye in the locker room after being checked face first into the boards late in the third period of Tuesday's 6-4 victory over the Islanders. Dupuis was briefly unconscious and left the game.

"For Pascal we'll go with a lower-body injury," Bylsma joked. Then he added: "He is going through a series of tests right now to make sure the structure of everything is OK. It certainly looks pretty bad but when you get cut above the eye and you sleep on it, it usually swells up and you see that discoloration. We went through some tests today, we'll do some tests tomorrow and see where he's at. He's day-to-day, possibly (playing Thursday). If not (Thursday) then hopefully for the weekend"

- Max Talbot left Pittsburgh's Tuesday win in the second period and did not return.

Bylsma: "Max is a lower-body injury, he's day-to-day."

- Marc-Andre Fleury has been out after fracturing his left ring finger in a 3-1 win at Calgary Jan. 13.

Bylsma: "We are waiting for a new glove for Flower. He should be getting it (Thursday) morning. He'll be going on the ice with the new glove prior to practice. He could possibly practice with us. ... We are waiting for a new glove that would fit what he needs to wear on his finger and make it more comfortable. We'll see how that goes. Hopefully we can progress to practice and we'll go from there."

- Sergei Gonchar skated at the start of the Penguins' Wednesday practice session but left the ice early for the locker room.

Bylsma: "He was on the ice briefly. He's still dealing with an injury from a few weeks ago. He's day-to-day. Hopefully we'll have him again (Thursday)."

12:04 PM:

The Penguins busted out their grey practice jerseys


11:48 AM:
With Dupuis and Talbot out of the lineup, the Penguins shuffled their forward combinations at practice. Craig Adams took Talbot's spot with Ruslan Fedotenko and Evgeni Malkin. Meanwhile, Mike Rupp skated with Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin.

11:25 AM:
The Penguins are on the ice for their Wednesday practice. The only players not participating are forwards Max Talbot and Pascal Dupuis (both of whom were injured in Pittsburgh's 6-4 win over the NY Islanders), defenseman Sergei Gonchar and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Gonchar initially came out with the team but left after a few minutes.
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