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Penguins Report: West Coast Trip 11/2/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
  • PensTV wrapup (5:58 PM).
  • Kennedy practices (1:54 PM).
  • Staal & Letang game-time decisions; Johnson ill (3:40 PM).
  • Kennedy and Staal talk injuries (4:26 PM).
  • Staal, Letang practice; Johnson absent (1:57 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on PK and Sharks’ PP (4:34 PM).
  • Pics (2:37 PM).
  • “I miss you, I’m going back home to the west coast…” (9:45 AM).

Here's the day's scoop in video format with the gentlemanly Sam Kasan (if I look like I just got off the plane after a 6-hour flight, that's probably because I did).

Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On the penalty kill:
I think we have a group of guys, including our goaltender, that have been together for a while. Tony (Granato) has been working with them and they’re on the same page. It’s an aggressive group, but they’re also on the same page being aggressive, which is a very important thing on the penalty kill in trying to minimize teams’ opportunities and where they can have success. That’s something that we’ve had since the beginning, but we continually work on. Tony works on that daily – religiously – from team’s tendencies to what we’re trying to do to where we’re trying to push them, to some of the skills and some of the tactics we’re doing as a group to try and be aggressive. That includes the goaltender, too. Our goaltender has been very good, but he’s also trying to minimize the opportunities and where they get their opportunities from. So we do have a good chance to try to minimize those and give our goaltender a chance to make those saves. As a group, they’ve been doing a great job for a while – not just this year. They’ve been doing a great job and I think it’s something, as a group, we take a great deal of pride in. Tony’s the head and the lead in that department.

On the Sharks’ power play:
Special teams is a battle in every game. You’re looking to win or tie that battle. It’s something we’ve done very well up to this point this year. You’re going against the San Jose Sharks. Whether they’re hot at this particular moment or not or whatever their percentage is, we know what they’ve been in the past. We know the people they have, the arsenals they have there. They’re a very good attacking team. They’re very good at recovering pucks. They’re a very dangerous team at all times, right from the faceoff on. That’s something we’re going to have to be real ready for. Again, special teams is such a factor in the game. We’re looking to win or tie that battle (Thursday).

On Detroit being an influence on the way San Jose plays:
There are some similarities. There are special teams similarities; there are some five-on-five similarities in the two teams. I don’t know if we’re that far off in thinking and what we’re asking our teams and what we’re trying to accomplish out there. A lot of those things that you see in the matchup against Detroit, you see in this matchup as well. You see their team trying to do the things that Detroit has. Every team looks a little different in terms of their personalities and personnel, and we know the personnel is what makes this team unique and special. They’ve added (Brent) Burns in that mix, and watching him in their last couple games, he adds a different element to their already-good power play and also to their five-on-five play. He’s been a real factor for them adding that skating ability, that offensive ability back there.

I wish you would have put yourself in my suitcase: Michelle Crechiolo

Sounds heard around the San Jose visiting locker room...

Tyler Kennedy

On how he feels:
I’m feeling a lot better.

On skating:
I feel pretty good lately. This is just another step to get back to playing.

On when he can return:
They don’t know yet. We take it day-to-day and go from there.

On his symptoms:
In the past I’ve had some headaches here and there. I wasn’t feeling that great. That’s all gone and hopefully we take a step forward the next couple days.

On how long he’s felt well:
Probably for a good 5-7 days I’ve been feeling good.

On when he got injured:
It was a serious of things. I’m not really sure what happened. I was starting to get symptoms. I told the training staff and they took care of it. They said they made the right steps and said I had a concussion. I’m not really sure when it happened. There were a couple things that could have leading up to it.

On his symptoms coming at any time:
Yeah, that’s why we don’t know when it really happened. I feel better and want to make the next step to get back to playing.

On if he’s talked to Crosby about the concussion:
Yes. Sid’s like a doctor when it comes to concussions right now. It’s nice to talk to him, open up to him. He’s got some great insight.

Jordan Staal

On Kennedy being back on the ice:
He’s feeling a lot better. It’s a good step being on the ice and part of the team. It’s nice to see him on  the road and back with the guys.

On how he feels:
I’m feeling better. It’s just a day-to-day thing, see how everything goes and how everything feels tomorrow.

On any problems following practice:
I don’t think so. For the most part I felt pretty good. Again, we’ll see how it reacts tomorrow.

Pens head coach Dan Bylsma said that Staal and Letang will be game-time decisions against San Jose. He added that Kennedy skated yesterday on his own and today without contact, and Johnson missed practice because he is ill.

"I'm going game-time (decision on Staal and Letang). See how they are in the morning and for the game. I'm hopeful that they'll be there for the game.

"Kennedy was on the ice today. Two days ago he road the bike. Yesterday he skated on his own. He passed his baseline. This is the next step for him, getting on the ice in a practice with no contact with the team. It's good to see him on that road.

"Sidney Crosby continues down the road of contact in practice. We know he won't be playing in the next two games.

"Johnson has an illness. Jim Britt didn't do well enough to ensure that he'll backup tomorrow so. Not big enough, not in good enough shape. I think right now he ranks top 3 in video goaltenders in the league."

Pics from the Shark Tank...

Tyler Kennedy brings the ol' boy presence to practice

Letang (left) and Staal (right) are back on the ice. Staal streaking down the ice like the train in the Coors Light commercial

Yes, Crosby made the trip. Yes, he's shooting on Fleury. Yes, he's awesome (left); If Jaws tried to kill Orpik, he would punch him in the face (right)

Jordan Staal and Kris Letang, who both had Monday and Tuesday off with maintenance days, are back at practice. Brent Johnson is not at practice (video coordinator Jim Britt is filling in).

Pens forward Tyler Kennedy, who has missed the last seven games with a concussion, is on the ice for practice with the team. We'll get an update from coach Bylsma after practice on his condition.

Well, we've landed in San Jose. We are currently on the bus heading straight to the rink for practice. And after practice it's off to the hotel.

Today the Pens boarded a 10am flight from Pittsburgh with destination California. The team will take a 5-hour flight to San Jose and will practice in sunny Cali after landing. The team takes on San Jose (Thursday) and Los Angeles (Saturday) as part of the club’s West Coast trip.


Since the Pens are hitting the skies for a 5-hour flight to beautiful California for their West Coast trip, I feel it only appropriate to start the day with “West Coast” by Coconut Records. The band is the brainchild of musician/actor Jason Schwartzman, who appears in one of my favorite films “I Heart Huckabees.”

The video for “West Coast” depicts famous skateboarder/writer/poet Mark Gonzales skating around a German museum. Gonzales was huge back in the 90s when I was still thrashing on the board, as the kids say. Although the irony is not lost on me that the video for “West Coast” takes place not in the west coast, but in Germany (not to mention the ‘Aloha’ written on the back of Gonzales’ jacket). But whatevs, I dig it all. I love the song and video. So without further ado, enjoy.

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