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Penguins Report: (Preseason) Game Day at Chicago

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Sidney Crosby's hip tightened up and he will miss the game against Chicago tonight. He is listed as day-to-day (10:52 AM). 
  • Crosby talked to the media about his injury (11:38 AM).
  • Tonight's lineup, with Dustin Jeffrey replacing Crosby, and radio info (9:00 AM).
  • The line combinations with Malkin, Comrie and Crosby getting the night off (10:40 AM).
  • Practice pics (10:35 AM).
  • Bylsma talks about Ryan Craig, Letang, Despres and the defense (3:08 PM).
  • Pens TV also caught up with Despres, Hutchinson and Letestu (4:01 PM).
  • Goaltender work the last two games (11:15 AM).

Follow Jason Seidling's in-game blog as he makes the trip to Chicago and Detroit for full coverage and in-depth game analysis.

4:01 PM:
Other vids from practice at Southpointe:





3:08 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma

On Ryan Craig’s injury

He’s dealing with a lower-body injury and he’s getting better. He continues to progress, I don’t know what his time is to get back on the ice, but hopefully it’s soon.

On Craig finding a spot on the roster:
It’s a crowded roster to begin with, he did very well. He had a great game there and showed what he could do. And now he’s been out of that situation, and now he’s almost have to start over in training camp. So it’s a difficult situation, but he’s showing well so far and that bodes well for him.

On Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek
I think there still getting acquainted with what we’re asking them and what it looks like, but Paul Martin played a great game, we saw his poise with the puck and handling tough situations. And Z, I think, is even better than advertised. There’s a little more grit and bite to his game and he’s been very good defensively. But he’s also made plays with the puck other than just shoot around the wall, he’s made some plays out of trouble. We’ve talked about adding those guys and adding those things to our team. And to see them out there it’s obviously two really good additions.

On the importance of the last two games for players battling for spots:
It’s real important. Now, for the most part, they’re going to be out there against each other and it’s going to be closer to regular season rosters. They still have to make their case for where they’re going to play and if they’re going to play on our team. Those are difficult decisions, and what they do on the ice for the next two games or the game they get is going to be real important for how our roster shapes up for the first game.

On Kris Letang
He’s confident and skating extremely well. He’s defending with a bit of a bite and the two fights. He’s been in front of the net and in the corners playing hard. He’s also acting confident on the power play and making plays as well. He’s playing a game I think he can play, so I’m looking forward to seeing him keep doing that.

On Letang’s shot:
Kris has worked long and hard on that, and hitting the net is where he’s been urged to work on, and he’s been better at it.

On the defensive pairings
I’ve had in my mind lots of things, but primarily I’ve had (Martin) and (Letang) together and (Orpik) and (Michalek) together as units. And any game match-up or lineup that they would play against I’d feel pretty comfortable with that unit. Maybe (Orpik) and (Michalek) being a little more physical and gritty defenders for whoever they would play against on any given night. But really, I wouldn’t read too much into the pairings, especially early on in the year. You expect a lot out of Goligoski in there, I think he’s a very good defender in his own right, skating wise and position wise. You can see him playing against any group. So those are the pairs I’ve had in mind, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that work its way out during the season.

On Simon Despres:
He’s made it real tough (to decide). He had a great camp last year, expectations weren’t super high and I didn’t think that we’d keep the kid last year. And he earned three more games than we intended to give him. And now, this year, he’s doing it again and the situation with his age he has to go back to juniors. So we want to keep him here as long as we can, and possibly even the start of the season to get those games and see where he’s at. I think that’s a possibility with the way he’s playing and he’s going to get another opportunity tonight. It’s a great tough decision to have. That’s a first round pick that I think has shown to be very capable. Is he ready and how well he can play, we’ll see tonight and we might even see that at the beginning tonight.

On the goaltending situation for the rest of the preseason:
(Fleury) will get the last one exclusively, and tonight, they’ll split one way or another.


11:38 AM:
Crosby chatted with the media about his hip and other topics:

On his status:
Yeah, it’s day-to-day. I am going on the trip so we’ll see for Sunday.

On being concerned about his hip flexor heading into the regular season:
No. It’s day-to-day. That’s not something that I am concerned about.

On pulling it on the ice:
No, yesterday it was a little sore.

On how frustrating it is:
There is not much I can do. I am trying to do everything to make sure it doesn’t happen. Hopefully once we get into the season and get into a routine my body will get used to it.

On working on chemistry with Kunitz and Dupuis:
Ideally you would. Whether I play (this weekend) or don’t, I don’t think that is something that is going to drastically affects my timing. I try to get three or four preseason games in. Hopefully it is three. I think I played three exhibition games last year. It’s not something that I am going to read too much into. You work so hard in practice and you do want to play in games. It’s not always a perfect scenario.

On the guys fighting for roster spots:
It’s really tough for sure. I’m sure that’s something (the coaches) want. It’s a good thing those decisions are tough. The guys are playing hard and proving they want these spots. I don’t think that is a bad thing. I think that is good for any team.

On the team’s improved depth:
I think depth is the strength of our team. I think guys competing for spots are proving they are ready to play. I think it is going to be up to the coaches to see what happens. We have always prided ourselves on having depth. That’s always been a strength on our team. The more the better.


11:15 AM:
Bylsma revealed his plans for the goaltending workload over the last two games. The two netminders will split Friday's game against Chicago. Marc-Andre Fleury will play the entire contest at Detroit Sunday.

10:52 AM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma said that Sidney Crosby will not be in the lineup Friday night at Chicago, but will make the trip with the team.

"It's just precautionary," Bylsma said. "Hip flexor is a little tight. Just taking the opportunity in the preseason to rest it. He's day by day.

"He's going on the trip. We're not going to play him in tonight's game. Dustin Jeffrey will fill his spot."

10:40 AM:
Here are the lines from Friday's morning skate:


10:37 AM:
Crosby was on the ice for about 15 minutes before heading to the locker room. We'll get a status update from head coach Dan Bylsma after practice.

10:35 AM:
Morning skate pics:

Maxime Talbot (left) was the first player on the ice, and he took some warm up shots on goal

Tony Granato and Sidney Crosby (left)

Deryk Engelland's (left) nice shiner

Eric Tangradi (left); Matt Cooke takes a shot on Brent Johnson (right)

9:00 AM:
The Penguins practice at Southpointe at 10 a.m. before jumping on a flight to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center this evening. It is the team's fifth of six preseason contest.

The game can be heard on the Penguins' flagship station at 105.9 the X (WXDX-FM) with Steve Mears and Phil Bourque providing the audio visuals and on Penguins HD Radio.

The two teams played Tuesday at CONSOL Energy Center with the Penguins pulling out a 4-1 victory. Pittsburgh will look for the sweep as the 27 remaining healthy players on the roster battle for a lineup spot.

Pittsburgh will scratch forwards Ryan Craig, Evgeni Malkin, Mike Comrie and Dustin Jeffrey Sidney Crosby and defensemen Brooks Orpik, Zbynek Michalek and Ben Lovejoy. Below is the lineup the Penguins will use against Chicago:

9 Pascal Dupuis
10 Mark Letestu
14 Chris Kunitz
15 Dustin Jeffrey (added)
17 Mike Rupp
24 Matt Cooke
25 Maxime Talbot
27 Craig Adams
28 Eric Godard
42 Eric Tangradi
45 Arron Asham
48 Tyler Kennedy
87 Sidney Crosby

3 Alex Goligoski
5 Deryk Engelland
7 Paul Martin
8 Andrew Hutchinson
47 Simon Despres
58 Kris Letang

29 Marc-Andre Fleury
39 Brad Thiessen

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