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Penguins Report: Practice 10/5/10

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • The top power play featured Malkin, Crosby, Comrie, Kunitz and Goligoski (10:55 AM).
  • Coach Dan Bylsma chatted about injuries, line combos and Todd Reirden (2:33 PM).
  • Crosby, Orpik and Kunitz chatted with us (12:55 PM), while PensTV caught up with Martin and Goligoski (2:39 PM).
  • Two big events today in the Mario Mosaic and Chamber of Commerce Luncheon (2:49 PM). Jason Seidling document both events – Mario Mosaic; Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.
  • Practice pics (11:03 AM).
  • Penguins Live on HD 2 launched their season premiere with host Steve Mears (8:53 AM). Tune it every weekday at 9 a.m.

2:55 PM:
Before the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, there was a heated battle of bubble hockey in the players' lounge.

Tyler Kennedy and Brent Johnson went toe-to-toe with Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury, as Matt Cooke took in the unfolding drama.


2:49 PM:
It was a busy day at CONSOL Energy Center. Not only did the Penguins hold a typical off-day practice, but the arena unveiled the Mario Mosaic and the whole team took part in the 2010 Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.

The Mosaic display (left); Owner Mario Lemieux takes a peak at the mosaic (right)

Marc-Andre Fleury (left) greets people at the luncheon; Eric Tangradi and Arron Asham (right) share a laugh.


2:39 PM:
Additional vids




2:33 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma:

On getting the team healthy for opening night:

I’m not sure we’re ready to go out there yet, but you saw Brooks and Sid out there, so that’s two days skating for them. Ryan Craig has skated two days in full gear prior to us skating, so he’s real close to returning to full health as well. Arron Asham will go day-to-day.

On the plan for Matt Cooke and Max Talbot if Arron Asham can’t play:
Depending on who slides in our lineup, maybe if he is out, Cooke and Kennedy, they’ve been playing together the past couple days. Those guys have been the wings on the third line here for a while, and that would probably be the case. We may have to make a few roster moves to see where we’re at when we start the season.

On how the Penguins have improved:
I think we have improved in a couple ways. I think we’ve improved with our defense and our ability to defend and the mindset that that’s something we’re going to be doing – protecting leads and winning one-goal games. I also think our mindset is going to be better for how we’re approaching the season, with the chip on our shoulder a little bit from not getting the result and not meeting the expectations we had of ourselves last year.

On the boards at CONSOL Energy Center and the ice being different than Civic Arena:
The one big difference is that the boards are much livelier. I don’t know if it’s because they’re brand new, but I think that the angles of the corners are shallower, there are more pucks that will bounce into or towards the front of the net on dump-ins and so forth. That’s not to say that (Civic Arena) didn’t have a few goofy bounces off the glass and so forth, because there was. I think there is one in particular that when you dump it around, it is susceptible to have it come in front of the net. So how much have we done? Not a ton. Have we worked on some shots off the end boards? Yeah, with our defenseman. And everyone’s talked about the bounce off the boards, but we’re still trying to get some other things into our game before we really figure out how deep center field is at Detroit stadium. We haven’t gotten to that level of play yet. We know it and we’ve done some practicing, but it’s not quite a home-field advantage where we say we can do this on a power play or shoot wide of the net.

On having a former defenseman as an assistant coach:
Having been a coach that coached defensemen as previously being a forward, I’m really confident that a forward can do that well (laughs). But by adding a defenseman, some of the nuances of playing a rush and standing up and having a good gap is something that we’re going to work on harder at. And I think we’re going to be better at it because we’re bringing a guy who is a defenseman, and it’s part of his game. That’s something that he did as a National Hockey League defender, so there are some things that we’re going to add to our game. I don’t think it needs to exclusively come from a defenseman, but do I think that he’s going to bring an aspect to how to defend and some of the nuances of our defending and skill level will be better than it would have been with just myself.


12:55 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room:

Sidney Crosby

On the excitement building for opening night:
We’re getting ready and getting into a lot of details the last couple days. Guys are excited, but at the same time we know we have to use these days to prepare.

On not needing motivation:
It’s always the same (playing Philadelphia), both teams are always at their best when we play each other, I think that’s to be expected. And throw in the fact that it’s the first game of the season and the first game here at the arena, so it should be exciting and there should be no shortage of motivation.

On the boards and the ice:
That stuff, as the season goes on, I think you’re going to see those tendencies a little bit more, but I think that’s just a work in progress. It’s good for us, obviously, if we haven’t figured out a ton of things yet, neither has anybody else. So the quicker the better, and you want to use your home ice to your advantage.

On his health:
I feel good. I think that couple days (of rest) helped and hopefully I don’t have to deal with it any more.

On switching into regular season mode:
You’re using camp and these few days here, and you start to realize that the ones for real are starting. That’s why it’s important to have a good camp and focus in the preseason. And we’ve done that, so it’s up to us to have that transition for the season.

Brooks Orpik

On his injury last season:
It wasn’t too bad up until the playoffs. Up until the last two games in Long Island and Atlanta, it was pretty bad. So it didn’t get real bad until the playoffs. The pace picks up and you get hit a lot more, so that probably hurt it more. It’s no fun, I think when you approach games, it’s hard to play that way when you’re not healthy. When you have that in the back of your mind it kind of slows you down a bit.

On his health now:
I feel healthy now. I took this weekend off, but that was something separate, something on the other side. I probably needed to rest, camp was pretty hard. I didn’t do much this summer, so it’s been harder.

On taking care of his body differently now:
I guess I have to tinker it a little bit, because I always take a lot of pride in that area. So it’s something that was really disappointing. I pulled my groin in Toronto and I missed like 10 days, and I probably rushed myself back a little. So from there I just suffered with my hip flexor and an abdominal tear. Nobody really has an answer for how it happens or how you can prevent it.

Chris Kunitz

On becoming a leader during camp:
Being a veteran guy and being around, the locker room kind of gets a little bit quieter. I don’t think I’ve changed that much, but I think people hear it a little bit more since there’s less guys talking. You want to be a part of the team and you want to make sure guys are always on their toes. I’ve always wanted to be a guy who goes out and does it on the ice and not just says it in the locker room. So I think your voice will just be heard a little bit more since there’s less guys around.

On being in front of the net the power play:
It’s pretty much what I’ve played every year, being in front of the net. I did the same position in Anaheim, with a similar type of offensive power with the ability to shoot. It’s a battle in front, screening the goalie and other key things to being out there. You go out and work as hard as you can. There’s probably a knack to doing it, guys like Holmstrom and Bertuzzi have been doing it for a long time, those are guys you’d like to mimic if you’re out there. They do a great job of being in the goalies area, but not being on top of him where you get a penalty, but just being on top of him and frustrating him and learning what the refs are going to call and what they aren’t going to call. Ryan Smyth is another guy who is always unbelievable at being in front of the net and being competitive. Those guys have made careers of doing it and are guys you want to look toward when you learn new habits.

Assist: Tony Jovenitti

11:06 AM:
Workers at CONSOL Energy Center added stickers on the seat cup holders


11:03 AM:

Brent Johnson (left)

Mark Letestu (left) works on his faceoffs

GM Ray Shero was a guest on Penguins Live with Steve Mears (right)


10:55 AM:
The Penguins are on the ice for practice at CONSOL Energy Center. The team is working on the power play right now. They're using the same setup from the preseason, with Chris Kunitz taking Eric Tangradi's place in front of the net. The set was:

Evgeni Malkin - at the off-point
Alex Goligoski - the point
Sidney Crosby - halfwall
Mike Comrie - high slot
Chris Kunitz - net-front

8:53 AM:
The Penguins are two days from the historic premiere of the CONSOL Energy Center, but Tuesday marked another historic premiere (sort of). The radio show Penguins Live premieres this morning with the legendary(ish) Steve Mears. Tune in at 9 a.m. all season long as my good friend Mears brings you latest developments and storylines throughout the 2010-11 campaign. Click here to launch the Pens HD Radio Player

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