The Penguins just finished their first back-to-back sequence – at Buffalo on Friday and home against New Jersey on Saturday – since the opening two games of the year in Stockholm, Sweden, against Ottawa.
The schedule makers have been kind to Pittsburgh in the early going but it’s about to even out. The Penguins have four back-to-back series in December and seven in the next two months.
“Those players are in great shape,” head coach Michel Therrien said. “It doesn’t worry me that much, even if we have to travel at times. I’m not worried about that.”
“It’s OK,” forward Evgeni Malkin
said. “I like it. I like to play games. It’s a little different. The second game is more difficult. It’s more physical.”
Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby
said that the players will adapt but there’s no substitute for experience.
“You get used to it by going through it,” Crosby said. “It’s something that you have to get used to. Mentally, you deal with. The more often you go through it, the more comfortable you get with it. We’ll get lots of practice with it over the next couple of months.”>
Three Penguins players were absent from practice at Southpointe on Monday. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury
and defensemen Ryan Whitney and Philippe Boucher did not participate in team practice.
Fleury skated with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar before the normal team practice. Whitney was away getting a special skate made for his foot, the same he had offseason surgery on. >
Therrien has rotated the Penguins alternate captaincy on a month-to-month basis. He said that the alternate captains for December will soon be anointed.
“We will (Tuesday),” Therrien said. Brooks Orpik
and Malkin wore the “A” in October while Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi had the honor in November.