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Penguins Report: Roster Deadline Day

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Simon Despres was sent back his junior team, Saint John of the QMJHL (12:30 PM).
  • Brooks Orpik and Jordan Staal will share the ‘A’ on their chest (12:50 PM).
  • Arron Asham was absent from practice. The team’s line combinations are pairings are starting to take shape (11:04 AM).
  • Penguins waive Ryan Craig and Andrew Hutchinson (8:45 AM). Both players cleared waivers (12:46 PM) and will head to WBS.
  • Head coach Dan Bylsma talked about Despres, Asham and the new D-men (1:21 PM).
  • Marc-Andre Fleury talked about the new goalie pad rule (1:09 PM).
  • Sidney Crosby and Eric Tangradi talked (1:12 PM).
  • The Penguins announced that a red carpet and big screen will be a part of the CONSOL Energy Center home opener festivities (10:41 AM).
  • The October mustache boy has been crowned (11:50 AM).
  • The Canadian rock band Hedley visited CONSOL Energy Center (2:48 PM).
  • Practice pics (11:45 AM).

2:48 PM:
Canadian rock band Hedley was in Pittsburgh Wednesday to play a show at the Altar Bar. The group will be playing in Toronto on Thursday as part of a face-off festival.

The band took a tour of CONSOL Energy Center and chatted with some players in the locker room. Click here for more details.


1:21 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On what he likes most about the team:
I like our mentality, and I like the way the guys came to training camp. I like the way we’ve worked and the attention to detail, and I like our mindset as a group going into this season. As a coach, we’ve seen that in our practices and we’ve seen that in our games to this point. That’s what I like about what we’ve done over the last 20 days and what I like going into the season.

Are there concerns? Special teams have always been something we seem to talk about, so special teams will be a factor and something you’re always going to monitor and talk about. Faceoffs is an area that sometimes concerns me. We were 22 percent on PK faceoffs in the playoffs, so obviously our PK wasn’t very good in the playoffs. So that’s something that we’ve addressed and stressed and tried to work on with some of the drills that we’ve done. That’s an important thing that we need to get better at, it’s especially meaningful to the PKs and to the power plays. If they win it, they have possession right away. So faceoffs are something that we’ve tried to get better at.

On Arron Asham:
We’re hoping Arron Asham can play. Arron really wants to play and he’s going to get further evaluated this afternoon. Our 3 p.m. roster will depend on if Arron can play.

On Simon Despres being sent down to juniors:
One of the factors for Simon was if he was going to be in our opening night roster and what’s the best situation for him and for our team. Given our opening night roster and given the makeup of our defense, there’s not a lot of minutes available for Simon. And he’s done a lot of good things, but making a mistake would create a situation that I’m not sure is good for Simon’s development.  And I’m not sure sticking around and not playing is best for his development.

On Martin's and Michalek’s challenges transitioning into the Penguins’ organization:

It’s a little bit greater for Paul. He’s been with the same organization with the same mindset and the same terms and the same rules and expectations, and now he’s completely going to a new team, new terminology and new expectations of how you want to play. There are times and situations where you may have known exactly what was going to happen, but now you’re hearing something and seeing something different so you’re kind of wide-eyed a lot.

They both have had adjustments, but Z has gone through a couple transitions with a couple different coaches with Dave Tippett and Wayne Gretzky and other scenarios. So I think he’s seen some changes in expectations and practices and how they play and some of the terminology from the coach. But they both are showing right off the bat their smarts as a player, what they bring to the table and the assets that they have, and I think they have done a really good job adapting and being ready to play.

On giving Martin more latitude offensively:
I hesitate when I hear those words because they imply taking more risk, and I don’t think that’s what we’re trying to accomplish by allowing our defensemen (to play offensively). When we don’t have the puck, we want all five guys to be playing defense. When we have the puck, all five guys will be playing offense. There’s still responsibility and there’s still structure to that. But the mindset of when we get the puck is if you’re a defenseman, you’re part of the offense. That might be coming out of the D-zone, that might be in transition or that might be in the offensive zone. But that’s the mindset that may be a little bit different. So you may see him in different areas of the ice, but that doesn’t imply more risk.

On if he will break down the season into segments again:
Yes I will, but I think 20 games is a little too long. I view the first part of the season as already half over. We’ve spent 22 days together, and some of the expectations and the systematic approach to the way we play the game and what the players can expect on the ice, they should have a pretty good understanding of already. It shouldn’t take another 20 games to get that as part of our foundation and how we want to play. So I’m not so sure it’s 20 games, but we will have the season broken down into different segments with different expectations and different focuses from the coaches and from the team, and that will move as we go along.

On if we will see a strange first line out on the ice for the opening faceoff Thursday:
You mean one we didn’t see in practice? There’s a 50-50 chance for that.

Assist: Tony Jovenitti

1:12 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room:

Sidney Crosby
On his linemates heading into the season:

It’s a process building your team and figuring out what the group is going to be. Once you get together and adjust through camp, that is fun to do as a group. You want to make sure all that hard work is for something.

On Comrie’s start:
That’s the kind of player he is. I think everyone knows what their role is and during the regular season that things are tighter and it’s tougher hockey. We all have high expectations of ourselves.

On doing anything to welcome guys off the ice:
I think for these guys coming in, they should feel welcomed. We have a great atmosphere and environment here. But nothing in particular.


Eric Tangradi
On anticipating the opener:
I think absolutely. The new building for a lot of the veteran guys is a big deal. Last year I played one game in the National Hockey League and it was on the road so this will be my first home game in Pittsburgh so I am definitely going to have some nerves.

On playing the Flyers, the team he rooted for growing up in Philadelphia:
I grew up in Philadelphia so I would get in trouble if I said they were my favorite team. Obviously right now my heart is in Pittsburgh. Having the home opener against Philly with my family coming in will be a special night for everyone.

On playing the Flyers being a perfect script for him:
I couldn’t picture it any other way – playing my opening game against the team I watched. I know my parents are going to be here with a lot of smiles. I’m just going to go out there and have some fun with it.

On what playing in last season’s regular-season finale did for his confidence:
I thought I played pretty well in that one game and I left the rink saying, ‘hey I can play at this level.’ I went home this summer and really did everything I could do within my power at the gym and off the ice so that I could stay in this locker room. I think the sacrifices I made definitely paid off. I look forward to putting the jersey on for the first time.

On how camp went for him:
It’s been really great coming into my first camp where I really thought I had a great shot to make the team. To have my name on that roster right now is definitely very special. I proved to myself I can grab things if I work hard.

Assist: Jason Seidling

1:09 PM:
The media chatted with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on the NHL's new goalie pads rule.

On this season’s changes to goaltending equipment:

It really isn’t that bad. They are just trying to make it fair for everybody. We all will wear pads that are appropriate to the length of our legs. It’s nice to keep it fair.

On being fitted for his pads before:
I did actually to get my pads fitted. I just never had any rules on how long they had to be so that was a little different.

On if he thinks the changes are fair:

Yeah, I don’t think that the rules are anything crazy. It’s just to prevent really small goalies from having really large pads.

On his preseason play:
I thought I played good. I picked up a couple of wins. To get started here at CONSOL Energy Center with a couple of wins was fun for the guys.

Kay Whitmore talked to about the goalie rule change.


12:50 PM:
Bylsma also announced today before his media conference that Brooks Orpik and Jordan Staal will share the 'A' as alternate captains. Evgeni Malkin sports the other 'A' while Sidney Crosby rocks the captaincy.

12:46 PM:
Ryan Craig and Andrew Hutchinson have both cleared waivers and will assigned to WBS.

12:30 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma just said that defenseman Simon Despres will be returned to his junior team, Saint John of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

"He's a great player and we think he can play in the National Hockey League right now," Bylsma said. "For our team and opening night roster, he's not going to be there. We have to decide what's best for his development. ... He's going to return to his junior team."

Despres' assignment leaves the Penguins with 26 players on their roster. Since three will be placed on injured lists, Pittsburgh has parred down to the NHL mandated 23.

11:50 AM:
The Penguins did their monthly "mustache boy" shootout at the end of practice. The final four participants were: Mark Letestu, Alex Goligoski, Eric Tangradi and Pascal Dupuis.

Letestu beat Brent Johnson while a shot by Goligoski got past Marc-Andre Fleury. Tangradi and Dupuis stood at center ice and shot simultaneously.

Tangradi roofed the puck past Johnson. Dupuis' shot was blocked down by Fleury.


"I'm excited for it," Dupuis said. "It should be fun. Although the month is already six days old so it won't be as full as it could be."


11:45 AM:


11:04 AM:
The Penguins are on the ice for their final training camp practice. Arron Asham, who has been out with an upper-body injury, is not on the ice.

The groupings were:



10:41 AM:
The Penguins have announced that they will be opening the new arena in style with a ceremonial red carpet entrance and big screen outside the American Eagle Gate.

8:45 AM:
Wednesday marks the final day of the Penguins 2010 training camp. The team will hit the ice at CONSOL Energy Center at 11 a.m. for the final training camp practice. It's one last time for the players to prove to the coaches and management that they belong in the NHL. The final regular-season roster is due to be set by 3 p.m. today.

The Penguins announced this morning that they waived F Ryan Craig and D Andrew Hutchinson. Both players will be assigned to WBS if they clear waivers by noon today. I'll keep you posted on their status as soon as we learn anything.

With the early morning transaction and the expected injured status placements coming for Jordan Staal, Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Alex Grant, the Penguins will have a training camp roster of 24 players (14 forwards; eight defensemen; and two goaltenders), one over the mandatory 23-man regular-season roster.

The Penguins must make one more move with a player before 3 p.m. Again, I'll keep you posted as soon as any transactions go down.

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