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Penguins Report: Therrien Disputes Semin's Comments

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals forward Alexander Semin has gotten a lot of attention from the media following his comments about Penguins star Sidney Crosby.


The drama continued today when Pittsburgh head coach Michel Therrien was asked about Semin’s comments. Therrien, who has never shied away from giving his opinion, laughed and then responded:

“Is he talking about the youngest guy to get 100 points in the history of the National Hockey League? Is he talking about the youngest guy to win the Hart Trophy and lead the league in scoring? Is he talking about the youngest captain in the National Hockey League to bring his team to the Stanley Cup Final? That’s all I have to say.” ( Therrien Presser )

Semin was quoted by Yahoo! Sports as saying:

“What’s so special about (Crosby)? I don't see anything special there. Yes, he does skate well, has a good head, good pass. But there's nothing else.

"I think that if you take any player, even if he is dead wood, and start promoting him, you'll get a star, especially if he scores 100 points. No one is going to care about anyone else. No one is going to care whether he possesses great skill.”

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis attempted some damage control, telling ESPN.com that “something was lost in translation” during the interview. Semin, who is Russian, answered questions through a translator with Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports.

"I believe he wanted to say that there are many world-class athletes in the NHL and that if one is marketed over the other - then they are regarded as super special," Leonsis wrote in an e-mail to ESPN.com. "We all have high regard for Sidney Crosby - he is a historic and world-class player. And he is certainly one of the best players in the world."

Crosby shrugged off the comments earlier this week.

“I would be better off keeping my opinion to myself,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Crosby once again took the high road when asked about Semin’s remarks following Thursday’s morning skate.

“Everyone’s free to say what they want,” he said. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Whether it’s always necessary to share it with everyone, that’s up to them. It’s up to the person to decide that. It depends on your personality. If guys feel they need to say that, their entitled to that. Not everyone’s in the same boat.”


> Pascal Dupuis will play Thursday night against the Edmonton Oilers at Mellon Arena at 7 p.m., after missing the two previous games with an undisclosed injury.

“I’m ready to go,” Dupuis said. “These five days (with no games) was good for me and I’m ready to go now.”
     
 

 
     


Dupuis was placed on injured reserve retroactively to Oct. 28. He has practiced everyday this week and will skate on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora.

“Geno’s a great player,” Dupuis said. “Sykora’s a great shooter. He proved that he can score goals from anywhere. It’s good to play with guys like that. I’ll play my game and bring whatever I can bring to the line.”

Forward Ruslan Fedotenko practiced for the second straight day but his status for the Edmonton game is still unknown.

“Game-time decision for him,” Therrien said.

Fedotenko suffered an undisclosed injury during last Saturday’s morning skate. He missed that night’s game against St. Louis and Tuesday’s practice. He returned to practice on Wednesday.

“I feel pretty good,” Fedotenko said. “I feel healthy enough to go. It will be the coaches’ decision on it. At 7 o’clock, I guess we’ll make a decision.” 

If Fedotenko does play, he will likely be on the fourth line with Mike Zigomanis and Eric Godard.


> The Penguins will host the Edmonton Oilers for only the second time in the last five years. The two teams will meet twice this season for the first time since the 1999-00 season thanks to the NHL’s revamped schedule.

Despite the rarity with which the two teams play, Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik believes that there won't be any surprises.

“Everyone’s familiar with their team,” Orpik said. “They have a lot of speed, a lot of younger guys that like to skate. Maybe (they’re) not as familiar as say Philadelphia or New York, one of the divisional teams. At the same time, I think we’re pretty familiar with them.”

No one on the Penguins roster is more familiar with Edmonton than forward Matt Cooke. He spent nine seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, who are a divisional foe of Edmonton. Cooke has played more games against the Oilers (45) than against any other opponent.

“Edmonton’s going to come at you a little more while other teams will sit back a little,” Cooke said. “We just have to be prepared to make plays under pressure, win the one-on-one battles along the wall. You’ll see a lot of the game played there, especially coming out of our own end. If we’re strong then we have a good chance of being successful.”


> The Penguins sponsor their 16th annual “Score Against Hunger” food drive on Thursday, when the Penguins meet the Edmonton Oilers.

Every fan who brings a non-perishable food item to the game, or makes a cash donation that evening, will be eligible to win autographed Penguins’ memorabilia.

All food and money collected will be donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for distribution to needy people in the Pittsburgh area.  Fans are encouraged to participate in the food drive since the need to assist hungry people in the area has increased tremendously in the past year.

Food and donations will be collected at Mellon Arena Gates 1, 3 and 10 from 6 p.m. through the first 10 minutes of the first period.

Penguins’ “Score Against Hunger” food drives have collected over 22,500 pounds of food and $18,200 in donations since 1992.


> He said it: Orpik on playing defense in the NHL:

“Defense is a tough position to break into in this league. I think when you come in as a young guy, defense is the hardest thing to learn. That only comes with experience.”


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