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Penguins Report: Practice 12/3/10

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Talbot will need further evaluation after sustaining a bruise from a blocked shot (1:00 PM).

Malkin and Orpik updates from coach Bylsma (12:56 PM)
The Pens are building a second outdoor rink for the Winter Classic (11:02 AM).

3:06 PM:

PensTV talked to Chris Kunitz, Paul Martin and Pascal Dupuis:




2:46 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On the status of Malkin and Orpik:
Geno got banged up in the game, so (he needs a) little bit of maintenance, and we’ll see (Saturday), he’s day-to-day. Brooks had an illness, he’s sick, so he didn’t go on the ice.

On if it was nice to have a week with a healthy team:
I’m not sure if we were healthy, you might have thought we were. (Saturday), Max may or may not be healthy, he might be back out there. Same with Geno. It’s always in the course of the season, you’re dealing with this pretty much every day. You’d like to get a full complement, but we’re not going to get that until we get Jordan (Staal) back at some point.

On whether or not the Pens will call up players from WBS:
It’s a consideration at this point in time. It’s not too far, but going to Columbus, it’s definitely a consideration that we would possibly bring a guy just to be safe.

On if any of those players are standing out to him:
Dustin Jeffries stands out, Brett Sterling has done some good work. Ryan Craig, while playing he’s banged up a little bit but is still doing well. Depending on his health, he may or may not be a consideration. Tim Wallace has been a guy who has been one of the best players all season long in his role and the way he plays the game. Nick Johnson has had some moments. So there’s some guys, Dustin Jeffries and Tim Wallace, that have playing at a high level for most of the season.

On if the Penguins play is actually improving instead of slipping on their 10-0-1 run:
That’s a coach’s fret about those situations, of where you may be slipping and things in the game get overlooked or maybe it’s a little bit harder to learn lessons. But we’re coming off a series of lessons we learned in the Boston and New York games where we lost at home. I still think we’re working and improving on those scenarios we need to address, and I think our team’s doing that. Our power play has been something we’ve continued to address throughout this stretch, and we’ve had a series of good games. We haven’t had a lot of opportunities these last couple (of games), but I think we are in that mentality where we still need to get better and there’s areas we can improve at. I think you see that in our game and our guys’ approach to practice.

On the competitiveness of the Western Conference:
They seem to not have played as many games, so they seem bunched. (A team) could be in ninth place or fourth place in a day or a weekend. We played St. Louis, a hard-working, real close game against a dangerous team. We came off Nashville with the same kind of feeling. We felt they were one of the better teams and one of the better games we played against. They’re in the middle of that pack, in the bottom end of the top eight. We had Vancouver, haven’t had a chance to have Chicago. They seem to be a competitive 12-14 teams out there that are battling every night. Columbus, we’ll get to them (Saturday), they’ve been playing really well and have some good aspects of their team. It should be another challenge for us.

On the third line of Conner, Letestu and Kennedy:
I think pretty much every night over the past six games, after each game our players have mentioned what an effective line they’ve been. Today, a player in our room said ‘I would hate to play against you guys.’ I think there’s an aspect of the speed they bring, the dangerous wide speed and beating (teams) up ice, but there’s also (what they do) in the offensive zone: stops and starts, quick moves and spinning off and going to the net and attacking. You don’t think Chris Conner would give Dustin Byfulgien a hard night, but that’s exactly what their line did with TK and the way they worked, managing the puck and staying in the offensive zone working and pursuing pucks. They’ve been very effective for us and (Thursday) again, they’re the line that goes out after their goal in the first period, has a big shift and Kunitz comes out and Crosby comes out—they haven’t even completed the change yet—but the next line over the boards gets the benefit of what they bring to the team. They’ve been doing that pretty consistently for us over this stretch, and the guys in our room have talked about it and know how effective they’ve been.

2:30 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Sidney Crosby

On Talbot’s injury:
It’s never fun to see anybody get hurt, especially in practice. Hopefully, everything’s okay. It looked like he got it pretty good, but hopefully it’s just a bruise.

On injuries:
You don’t like to see it, but I guess if you have to choose, you’d rather get by them here early on and be healthy for the second half. But they’re part of the game. Every team has to deal with it and you have to find a way to get through.

On what the team is doing well right now:
The special teams are doing well. Our power play hasn’t got (a goal) in the last couple, but it’s generating some chances. Everyone knows how strong the PK’s been for us. We’re getting some big saves from Flower and Johnny, when he’s been in. All the way through we’ve done a good job of giving ourselves a chance to win. We’re competing and limiting our mistakes. We’re giving ourselves a chance. In doing so, we’ve had a lot of close games and some may have been able to go either way, but we gave ourselves a chance.

On Columbus:
With the coaching change, they’ve probably opened things up a little bit with Hitchcock. They’re really good defensively. We don’t know a lot about them, so we need to play teams like that. We’ve already  been through that a few times this year playing other teams from the West. Hopefully that just makes us focus on our game a little bit more. We’ll be well prepared, but I think our focus has to be on our game.

1:00 PM:
Maxime Talbot may still play on Saturday pending further evaluation after blocking a hard shot in practice.

Here's the full update on Talbot from coach Bylsma.

12:56 PM:

Head coach Dan Bylsma said that Malkin got banged up in Thursday's game vs. the Thrashers and took a maintenance day today. He's listed as day-to-day and may play in Saturday's game in Columbus vs. the Blue Jackets. Orpik sat out today's skate due to illness.

11:39 AM:
Maxime Talbot just blocked a slapper with his leg and had to be helped off the ice. We'll get an update on his status from head coach Dan Bylsma after practice.

11:22 AM:

Arron Asham replaced Evgeni Malkin on the second line for today's practice.

The lines are:


11:18 AM:




11:05 AM:
Brooks Orpik and Evgeni Malkin are not skating today. We'll provide updates on their status as soon as we get them from head coach Dan Bylsma.

11:02 AM:
Here's some fantastic news: The Penguins announced today that they are building a second outdoor rink adjacent to Heinz Field for the Winter Classic. For those of you that have yet to lace 'em up and glide around outside in the elements, you are in for a treat. It's the best form of hockey there is.  

10:56 AM:

The players are starting to make their way onto the ice for their 11 a.m. practice at Southpointe. The team is fresh off a huge 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers at CONSOL Energy Center on Thursday night, where Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored a natural hat trick in the win.

10:55 AM:

While this may not be a 1990s blast from the past, this is one of my personal favorites. Click if you dare - it'll probably get stuck in your head the rest of the day if you listen to it.

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