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Penguins Report: Practice 12/27/10

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Godard to see doctor, Brent Johnson is ill (1:56 PM).
  • Bylsma on Ottawa, Staal and injuries (1:56 PM).
  • Crosby was named NHL 3rd star of week, and talked to the national media (3:10 PM).
  • Staal, Fleury and Cooke share insight (1:52 PM).
  • Power skating school today at Spointe (2:11 PM).
  • Pens pics (12:39 PM).
  • Ice penguins are on the loose! (2:14 PM).
  • “I don’t understand how a heart is a spade, but somehow the vital connection is made…” (11:56 AM).

3:10 PM:
Crosby was named to the NHL's weekly three stars for 15th (estimated) straight week. I'm overcome with shock. Speaking of Sid, he did an NHL conference call today. Click here to listen to 87.

2:14 PM:
The Pens have unveiled some ice sculptures near Heinz Field. It's three penguins. Clever.

2:11 PM:
Southpointe is littered with kids for the Pens "Holiday Power Skating School." The children (groups of mite, squirt, pee wee and bantam-midget) are learning from power skating instructor Marianne Watkins, who is a consultant for the Pens and WBS Pens.

Kids eagerly awaiting to get on the ice (left)

A special thanks to the beautiful Mindy Douglass for the info. I heart her.

1:56 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On Sunday’s game against Ottawa:

It’s probably one of the times of the season where you circle on your calendar and you aren’t sure of how they’re going to play out as a coach – the last one before a break and the one coming back after break with the time off. We wanted to make sure we didn’t look to execute at too high a level early on, we wanted to make sure we were going north and take care of the puck. We just didn’t do that, and it made it tough on ourselves and allowed them to get in the offensive zone. They drew some penalties and got some power play goals, and we got behind the eight ball. Then we found ourselves trying to battle back for 40 minutes from a three-goal deficit. But we threw 40 shots at them.

On Jordan Staal:
Every day he’s out there I tell him I’m happy to have him out there. He’s in good shape, and he’s working hard. We’ll see how he reacts and how his hand reacts in the next few days as for a timeline for him.

On the consistency of the team’s secondary scoring:

I don’t know where our rank is today in the league for goals, but I can safely say it’s top three. We’re certainly having one guy who’s having an exceptional year (Sidney Crosby). But in order to be at the top you need goals from a lot of different areas. We don’t have five guys that are carrying the load. It’s a group of probably 19 other guys who are filling in behind where Sid’s pace is at, and that allows us to be a team that’s in the top three of goals scored. There are guys that maybe are going to do more in the second half, but as a team, how we played has given our team a chance to get the goals we need to get.

On if he needs players to do more in the second half:

I think at some point we’re going to add a guy who got 50-plus points for us (Staal) last year into our lineup. So that’s going happen, but there are a few guys that can say from the first half, “I think I can do that plus three or four more goals.” I think if you look through our lineup, maybe one area where we haven’t been as good at is getting points from that second line. The third line has been effective for us in a certain role, but maybe the second line position we haven’t got as many goals as maybe we could have.

On Craig Adams and Eric Godard:

I believe Craig Adams will be available to us tomorrow. Eric Godard will get reevaluated tomorrow from our team doctors to see where he’s at.

On Brent Johnson:
Johnny is actually under the weather – not off the ice because of an injury situation. He’s got a little bit of the flu bug. He came this morning and we sent him home, so we’ll see how he is in the next few days. We haven’t gotten to the point where we’ve even decided where he’s at. But he could have possibly skated today. But he hasn’t been feeling well the last few days.

Unassisted helper: Tony Jovenitti (cell phone incident)

1:52 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Marc-Andre Fleury

On if this will be a normal week:
We have two games in two nights. That will be a little bit crazy. After that everybody has family and friends coming into town. It will be a little bit crazy, but it should be fun.

On if he’s exciting for the Classic
I’m looking forward to it. It will be fun. We have two games first to take care of. We’ll think about that one.

On Staal being back
I missed him. He’s a fun guy to skate with, and off the ice it’s good to have him back.

Matt Cooke

On a normal week this week
Absolutely not. It’s an exciting time. It’ll bring us back to our heritage. Most guys played outdoors. I did it when I was home for Christmas. It’s exciting and everyone is looking forward to it.

On the back-to-back games:
 You won’t be too wrapped up in it. It’s no different than the playoffs. You have to be able to manage everything. Most of us have a support system at home to help get through it. Back-to-back games will just help us be sharp and focused heading into Saturday.

Jordan Staal

On getting closer:
Everyday it’s feeling really good, more comfortable shooting and getting my legs again. All good things. Definitely one step closer.

On his concerns
Just pain, you don’t want to have to play through pain. You take it one step at a time. So far it feels really good.

On the fans:
It’s nice to see the fans and the support in this city is unbelievable. It just shows on a random day we get that many fans. It’s pretty neat.

On playing the Classic:
I don’t know. It’s very, very hard to tell. It’s going to be between me, the training staff and the doctors. Knowing myself, I feel comfortable. We just have to get everyone on the same page and everyone feeling good,

On being patient:
Any player just wants to play. Being so close twice this year has made it really difficult. I tried to slow this one up. I have a lot of smart people around me that tried to talk some sense into me, to do the right thing. I learned my lesson the last few. I’ll be ready when I am.

12:39 PM:

Jordan Staal (left); Brooks Orpik (right)

Marc-Andre Fleury is rockin' his Winter Classic mask

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Chris Conner (left)

12:12 PM:
The Pens are on the ice at Southpointe for their noon practice. The parking lot was packed with fans and we have a standing room only audience for practice. It's unbelievable how many fans are here, although it was a pain finding a parking spot. 

On a practice note, no Godard or Adams on the ice. Godard took a pretty good shot to the head in his fight last night in Ottawa. We'll get an update from coach Bylsma in a few.

Tony Jovenitti wanted me to add that as each player stepped onto the ice, the crowd cheered like in a sitcom. There Tony, I've added it.

11:56 AM:
The Pens had a long day Sunday with the early flight (8 a.m.) and not arriving back in Pittsburgh until 2 a.m. So practice was pushed back to a noon start at Southpointe Monday.

Let's start the day with Elastica's "Connection." It's a catchy tune and great way to start the day.

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