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Penguins Report: Saturday Afternoon At The Joe

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins


  • Sidney Crosby, Arron Asham and Brooks Orpik all had their status updated by head coach Dan Bylsma (4:39 PM)
  • Eric Tangradi was back skating on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Mike Comrie. The rest of the lines were pretty much status quo with what we had been seeing (3:10 PM)
  • Assistant coach Todd Reirden broke out a new drill today for the team's defensemen - which I will be featuring in full-length (3:52 PM and 6:13 PM)
  • Coach Bylsma addressed the media about potential alternate captains and Eric Godard's role (5:28 PM)

6:13 PM:
I talked in the 3:52 PM entry about the unique drill assistant coach Todd Reirden was doing with the team's defensemen today. As promised, I made sure after practice to spend time talking with Reirden about this drill. His insight was so good on why the Penguins were doing the drill and how they would benefit from it that instead of just providing you with a blurb on my findings, I've been able to make it my article for the day. Before you click to read the article, here are a couple quick pictures that show from afar what the drill looked like:


5:28 PM:
Coachspeak with head coach Dan Bylsma:

On picking an alternate captain:
I have not announced what the alternates will be yet. I have decided on them a long time ago.
On that player coming from a group of players who has been in Pittsburgh a while:
No, it doesn’t have to come from somebody who has been here a long time.

On not playing any games where top power play been used:

There has been some adjustment based upon injuries to players having an opportunity to rest versus playing with an injury where you might play with that injury during the regular season. There have been some adjustments. That means we haven’t gotten players into as many games as we would have liked to or what the appropriate amount is. You have room for adjustments at the end of camp. We will be getting the best group of guys out there (on Oct. 7) that we can.

On having more movement on the power play:

It’s not because we lost Sergei Gonchar. We would be doing this the same way if (Gonchar) was back there. We emphasized a lot of movement and motion in attacking last year. This is building a little bit on that – and even in a better way. I think there is a little bit more structure to it. You are going to see people in different spots. Some of it is based upon where the faceoff is, and if we win it, where people go. There is a little more structure in terms of retrieving pucks and attacking and going to areas for rebounds. (Friday) night was a perfect example. (Alex) Goligoski is supposed to go (into the opening on the backdoor) when there is a shot from the other point so that if there is a rebound, he is the guy that gets that puck. That’s something that is a little bit different than what we were doing last year. We picked up that goal based upon he went right to the spot he was supposed to and then he finished it.

On copying this model from another team:

No. A coach (Mike Babcock) in this building said ‘R&D’ – rob and do. You try to get ideas, concepts, principles and success points from other places and add them together. There is no genius. The genius is in the delivery.

On Eric Godard and calling him an enforcer:
I am not sure that I use that word. He is a tough guy who brings that element to our team. Those are probably the words I would use. He has a presence to his game. When he does that he is a factor for our team – whether he is on the ice or the bench. That is a big part of his role.

On a player like this going away or staying for good in the NHL:
I think it is an interesting question. I think there are teams that seem to play well and don’t seem to be phased by physical play or teams coming after them – they haven’t had an enforcer on their team. There are teams that need a grit element to play their game and keep other teams honest. I don’t think there is a rule whether you should or shouldn’t. I have played on teams that have played frightened and they have still won hockey games. It hasn’t been a factor with them winning or not. Playing your game and feeling comfortable on the ice and creating room for players is always a factor. Sometimes some grit creates that – whether it’s a fight, physical play or a Chris Kunitz type of player who is physical, goes to the net and creates turnovers. That adds that same type of thing for his linemates.

4:39 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma gave the following update on Brooks Orpik, Sidney Crosby and Arron Asham following practice:

On Crosby: "He's day-to-day. It's precautionary - that's probably the best way to say that."

On Asham: "Arron is not much different than we gave you (on Friday). It's an upper-body injury. He's still getting re-evaluating."

On Orpik: "Cleary you guys don't have concern, because you didn't notice he wasn't on the trip (Bylsma playfully harrassed the media). I have been waiting to comment on him for two days, but nobody has asked me to comment. He has had a groin strain and we just wanted him to rest it. It's on the opposite side of where he had the procedure this summer.

3:52 P
Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden, who runs the team's defensemen, has the team doing an interesting drill here. The eight D-men have been divided into two groups - white and black - and are playing a game where they have to shoot the puck from the point off the boards at an angle where the puck will bounce to the front of the net.

This is a practice that has become very popular for defensemen since the lockout - particularly here in Detroit, where the boards are livelier than most rinks.

Head coach Dan Bylsma has also talked about the boards being pretty giving at CONSOL Energy Center, so maybe that's another reason why the Penguins are working on this tactic.

We will talk with Reirden after practice to get the answer for you.

3:10 PM:
With Crosby, Asham, Craig and Orpik not practicing on Saturday, here are the forward combinations and D-pairings employed by head coach Dan Bylsma:



3:02 PM:
Pictures from Saturday afternoon's practice:





2:34 PM:

The Penguins have hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena and are preparing for the beginning of practice. Not on the ice for Pittsburgh are forwards Sidney Crosby, Arron Asham and Ryan Craig, and defenseman Brook Orpik. We'll get you today's lines as soon as they become available.

2:30 PM:

Little more than 27 hours remain in the Penguins' 2010 training camp as the team will conclude the exhibition season on Sunday evening with a 5 p.m. matinee against the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit.

To help prepare for that contest - the final dress rehearsal before their Oct. 7 season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first-ever regular-season contest at CONSOL Energy Center, the Penguins are spending their Saturday afternoon practicing at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Pittsburgh is coming off a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night at United Center. Despite the loss, there were positives to take as goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was solid once again between the pipes and defenseman Alex Goligoski continued his strong preseason play by notching a goal and an assist.

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