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Penguins Report: Practice 11/9/10

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Malkin and Johnson were back at practice (11:11 AM)
  • Dan Bylsma discussed Comrie missing practice and player confidence (4:29 PM)
  • Crosby talked about the goalie situation (4:49 PM)
  • Comments from Brooks Orpik and Johnson (1:30 PM)
  • Pens’ lines (11:31 AM)
  • PensTV chatted with Orpik and Kunitz (5:45 PM)
  • GM Shero discussed the NHL’s head hit rule (5:07 PM)
  • Pens pics (11:45 AM)

5:45 PM:
PensTV caught up with Brooks Orpik and Chris Kunitz.




5:07 PM:
Pens GM Ray Shero is in Toronto for the GM Meetings. The media talked to him about the new rule on hits to the head. Here's what Shero had to say:


4:49 PM:
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was asked about the upcoming stretch of home games for the team, as well as the team's goaltending situation.

On playing five of the next six games at home
We’ve been on the road a lot lately. We played a couple good games on (the West Coast) trip. We definitely want to build off the last one. It’ll be nice to be home, and build some momentum.

On if his feelings on the current goaltending situation have changed since Monday:
I was never asked about the goaltender situation. I was asked about “Flower’s” confidence, and what it would take for him to get his confidence back. That’s why I said he needs to get back into the net in order to do that. I didn’t have an opinion on the goaltending situation. As far as anybody’s confidence, that’s usually what it takes, whether you haven’t scored in a few games or whatever the case is. It usually takes to get into the swing of things to get that back. It doesn’t usually take one game, it takes a few. By no means was I taking any stance or push for a certain goalie to play. I was asked a question. I answered it. My quote was my quote, but I don’t think it was interpreted the same way.

On if too much is being made of the goalie situation:
It’s a story. There are things that come with the territory. Marc and Johnny understand that. Unfortunately, they don’t have control over that. There’s always a need for headlines. It’s something that they have to deal with. It’s not a huge surprise. At the same time, we can move on the faster the better. Until then it's something to talk about.


4:29 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On who will play in goal Wednesday:
Per my normal stance, we’re going to go with a game-time decision for our goaltender.

On players’ confidence:
That’s up to the player to decide if they have confidence or not. Other people don’t make that decision for them. It comes through practice. It comes through your routine and it comes through your foundation and what you do. Every player in this room is doing that. Every player is aware of that and coming out with the intention of building that in our game and in our team.

On if he believes coaches can affect a player’s confidence:
They absolutely can.

On Paul Martin:
I think there is an adjustment with some of the things we’re asking our players (from what he’s used to), with different words and different terminology. But I think that, even in the last three games from our defenseman as a whole, making sense out of how we want to play is a big part of the execution of it. The concept of how we want to play and how we have to execute and where we want the puck to go for that to happen is something that both Paul and (Zbynek Michalek) and some of our other defenseman are now just making a step to getting that puck in that area.

On Mike Comrie:
He was just sick today.

On if he will have to go with Marc-Andre Fleury several games in a row:
I made some decisions to play him in games to get that opportunity, and in some cases you have to go with the goalie who is playing well and who gives you the best chance to win. There certainly is lots of consideration into that. I have given that consideration and I’ve given him opportunities to play. And he will get that opportunity, no question about it.

On Tony Granato’s absence

He told me he was going away for his sister Cammie’s induction into the Hall of Fame. And when it was circled on the schedule, we went to him and said “you’ve got to take some time and go with your family and with your sister.” Congratulation’s to Cammie. She was a color analyst out in LA when I was playing out there, I know her well. She’s had a great career and congratulations to her.

On the past two days of practice:

Up until this point, we’ve been a team that has played a few more games than some. Other teams are catching up some now. But to have a few days of practice time and be focused is good to build off a couple of games where in a lot of areas we started to make sense of how we want to play. We’ve been building off that with some good practices and having some good video sessions so that we can even build on that a little more. We had two great days of practices and we’re looking to go heading into three and four.

On blowing the whistle at times during practice when he saw things that he wanted to reinforce in practice:
That was the case (Tuesday). We went out with a certain purpose in some of our drills. So taking the opportunity to point out the good situations that we created and also some of the mistakes or times we didn’t make decisions to get where we didn’t want to be—the whistle may have blown a little longer for those ones. But still, taking those opportunities to understand those differences and what we wanted to do, hopefully we got that out of practice.

On getting back to the basics:
There are lots of hands in the deck, there’s lots of cards to play. The idea of how we’re going to play and what we’re going to do is not changing—those are the foundations and the fundamentals of how we want to play. I could go run a totally different practice with some different X’s and O’s that would achieve the same thing, but the idea of how we want to play isn’t going to change. And with the practice (Tuesday) and some of the videos, we’re getting to that and we’re starting to realize how that needs to look. It’s not just an X and O—it’s an actual idea of how we need to execute to get into that area of the game. And that was a big purpose of both yesterday and today in practice.

Assist: Tony Jovenitti

1:30 PM: Sounds hear around the locker room:

Brooks Orpik

On the next few games:
I haven’t played much at home at all, but I’ve had two really good practices here. We’re trying to build off some of the things we did well and try to correct some of the things we didn’t do well in the last three games. It was pretty detailed in the practices and I think everybody is anxious to get the opportunity to go out there. We have five of six at home.

On what needs to be corrected:
We’ve had some tough starts, obviously, and I think the D-zone coverage is one thing that is hurting us. It’s been a little scrambly at times. In the Phoenix game it was definitely a lot better. The transition game was lot better, which had been inconsistent, but I wouldn’t say it was bad. It was really good at some times and not so good at other times. It just seemed like not everyone was on the same page. But the Anaheim game and the Phoenix game seemed a lot better.

On his health:
Today was probably the best. I had a meeting with Dan (Bylsma) yesterday and told him that, health-wise, it was as good as I felt since I’ve been here. Hopefully, all that stuff is in the past. But it’s still something that you have to pay attention to so it doesn’t happen again. I fell pretty close to 100 percent.

On the goaltending situation:
As a defense, we have to play the same way no matter who’s in goal. We can’t play any different if one guy’s in over the other guy.

On the early goaltending change during a review in the Phoenix game:
We all knew it was a goal on the ice. We were just kind of waiting for them to confirm it. We gave them two pretty good chances early on. If you have a goalie who may be going through a bit of a rough patch, you want to limit the chances the other team gets, and we didn’t do that very well. A lot of that gets put on (Fleury), but early in that game we gave up a main breakaway on him. If you’re going through a rough time, that’s not exactly the first shot you want to see in a game. So a lot of that is on us—managing the puck a little better early on so that Marc can make some easier saves early on.

Brent Johnson

On how he stays on his game:
For me, it’s just going out every day and doing the same thing—it doesn’t matter who is playing. I just need to go out and do the same thing. Basically that’s it. I don’t listen to the chatter that’s going on behind the scenes.

On who will play Wednesday:
I have no idea, I haven’t heard.

On being in a situation like this before:
It’s been a while since I’ve played a few games in a row, or even every other game. So it’s nice to get in there and feel the puck a little bit more. But as to being on a roll, truthfully, I don’t think I am. The team has been playing great, and I just have to simplify my game. Sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you planned, but you take from it what you can and you learn from it and go from there.

On if a slower-paced game helps the goaltender:
Sometimes. It’s definitely easier to play when you do see the puck, and you know what your defense is going to do and know how your forwards are going to react. So it’s definitely easier and you do get into a rhythm. But I don’t know about slowed-down games—it’s always pretty fast. But it makes life a little easier when you see the puck.

On working on the defensive zone coverage in practice:
Everyone has a role out there. And in the defensive zone coverage, obviously the goaltender’s not going to be coming out of the net and playing the puck while they’re already in our zone. But whatever you can do to help out the defenseman or forwards—like communication—can be a great help. Coming out of the D-zone, it’s really important to make a smooth transition. Basically, the goalie has to be there for communication, just to have an extra pair of eyes out there.

Assist: Tony Jovenitti

11:45 AM:


11:31 AM:
The only player absent from practice is forward Mike Comrie. We'll try to get an update from head coach Dan Bylsma after the skate for an update. Here were the lines:


The D-men rotated with each other.


11:11 AM:
Evgeni Malkin and Brent Johnson, both of whom missed Monday's practice, are back on the ice right now for Pittsburgh's practice at Southpointe. Johnson was ill and Malkin has been dealing with an undisclosed injury for the past few weeks.
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