Comrie is a game time decision tonight, not sure why though.
Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Toronto
Wednesday, 10.13.2010 / 9:39 AM / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
Defensemen Brooks Orpik and Zbynek Michalek are out of the lineup Wednesday night versus Toronto. Forward Mike Comrie will be a game-time desicion. Details at 11:18 AM entry
We stopped by the Toronto Maple Leafs locker room after their morning skate at CONSOL Energy Center and had a chance to chat with former Penguins forward Colby Armstrong and Leafs head coach Ron Wilson. Here is what each had to say:
On CONSOL Energy Center:
It doesnít even feel like we are in Pittsburgh right now. They did a great job. It looks huge out there on the ice surface, which is a little different than Mellon (Arena). Coming into the visiting locker, this is almost nicer than the old Penguins locker room at Mellon. Itís really comfy to come in here as a road player.
On answering questions about the Penguins leaving when he played in Pittsburgh:
It was weird sitting in the room sometimes fielding questions about where we were going to be until one day when they said we were staying for good. It was really up in the air for a long time.
On being part of the nucleus of a Penguins team that everyone could tell was rapidly improving:
It was very similar to this Toronto team last year. We finished the end of the season very strong with a young group of guys who all got called up together and the next year we made the playoffs. We had a young group that came up together in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. We just grew together as a team. It reminds me of our situation (in Toronto).
On missing out on the Penguinsí Stanley Cup victory:
I donít know. It was a few years after I was traded, which was nice. I knew the hype that was building. The team was getting better year after year and the city was getting more and more excited. I knew it was going to be pretty special. It was a great group of young guys.
On choosing Toronto:
It was my first time heading into free agency, so I didnít know what to expect. Toronto came calling right away and started it off. I was obviously super excited about it. I thought it was a great opportunity for me and a great place to play. It was pretty easy to make that decision.On building something special in Toronto:
We have a lot of great players in here. Phil Kessel is 23 (years old); Dion (Phaneuf) is 25. We have a lot of good, young talent. Our D-corps is very young and has big, strong guys. Hopefully we are building towards something in a positive way. I think everyone can see that.
On playing in Toronto versus Atlanta:
Itís completely different. Itís pretty exciting for sure. The fans are incredible in Toronto. The attention is crazy and the rink is packed every night. Itís a pretty great place to play. Itís something totally different than Atlanta.
On Jonas Gustavsson playing:
We planned two weeks ago how we would start Ė with Giggy (Jean-Sebastien Giguere) getting the first two games and ĎMonsterí starting here. You donít want him sitting around too long to where he goes in rusty in the first five minutes of the game once he plays. He looked good in practice and is ready to play.
On Gustavsson being more consistent this year:
We wonít know until he plays. I am assuming he is going to play as well as he did in the last month last year. He played well during training camp and in the exhibition games, and he has looked good at practice.
On days off at the beginning of the season:
I think early in the season you like to be able to work on things. We are still trying to get down all the little details in our game. The way we played against Ottawa, you would like to continue playing the next night, but I donít see this as being detrimental to what we are trying to do at the start.
On Colby Armstrong:
He wants to do anything to help the team win. He is positive in the room. He chirps a lot on the bench and he keeps things light at times when you need it. He has played hard in every situation we have put him in._______________________________________________ ___________________________
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...
On the defense playing well:
I certainly will be dealing with Brooks Orpik
and Zbynek Michalek
not being in tonight so that will change our dynamic. But we have some depth there. Last game, shorthanded, they played a strong game and theyíve played well in that aspect this year. You can look at the stat sheet and see that Sid and Geno havenít been where you maybe expect them to be on a point-per-game basis, but look at the amount of posts and good chances that weíve had. They both know and we know that if they keep working to get those opportunities and if they keep playing that way, they will find the back of the net.
On the penalty kill with Orpik and Michalek being out
is out and heís one of our best penalty-killing forwards, so weíve had that issue with our forwards units, but Orpik and Michalek being out was certainly taken into consideration on how we decide our lineup for (Wednesday), the fact that our penalty kill needs to have some good solid players out there on the ice.
On Orpikís and Michalekís injuries
We have a better diagnosis for Brooks, heís got a groin strain. Michalek is being seen by a physician later this afternoon and weíll know more about where heís at tomorrow.
On if Michalekís injury will be long term
Heís not in there tonight and weíll see what the doctor says when heís evaluated.
On Jordan Staal being on the ice:
Heís on the ice right now getting comfortable. Itís not really a test for his foot. Heís just getting on the ice and getting into the skates in addition to his off-ice workouts. Itís nice for him to get out there and twirl around a bit. Weíre not to a point yet where heís decided he wants to get into gear and go out for a more serious workout. But itís a sign that heís progressing and heís able to get out there and get some work in. He hasnít been able to do that for a while. But I need to reiterate that thereís no rushing Jordan back. This is a sign that heís ahead of schedule. Heís healing, heís getting better, and heís working hard off the ice.
On how important it is for Staal emotionally just to get back out on the ice:
If youíve spent a little bit of time with him throughout this thing at all, there have been some ups and downs and setbacks. So it definitely gives him a lift in his mindset here to get back on the ice and feel like heís on the road to recovery. Thereís been a jump in his step now that heís back on the ice.
On the defense:
Itís been a focus for our team going into this season, being better in the defensive end. We want to be a team that can win a tight game, and win a one-goal game, a 2-1 game or a 3-1 game. Weíve played well and weíve had that focus. We clearly had that hiccup there against Montreal with goals 24 seconds apart late in the game, but we came back with a strong effort, not only from our defense but with our whole team. That will be something that we continue to talk about and focus on knowing that when we get in those situations being in tight games.
Theyíve played well and theyíve been aggressive. They have some dangerous components to their team. Also, special teams have been a factor them last year and is again for them this year. When youíve had two goals from Tim Brent in youíre first two games, itís going to help you get a good result. Theyíve got a pretty good all-around team with some dangerous players and some pretty good guys back there on defense. J.S. Giguere, I think, is poised to have a good season and he had a great Game 1. So I think we should be ready for a team thatís going to compete pretty hard and come at us.
On Comrie being in the lineup:
Itís a game-time decision.
On having Paul Martin on the top power-play unit
Heís been on the top unit and heís had two goals there. As we said early on in training camp, we can expect to see all those guys Ė Kris Letang
, Paul Martin
and Alex Goligoski
Ė on the top unit at any given time. Tonight, itís going to be Paul Martin
and Alex Goligoski
. Paul will be the guy working the middle of the ice coming across the blue line, so itís a different look, but thatís what heís been doing on the second unit. Heís obviously gifted with the puck and poised.
On if points early in the season are important
I think thereís an urgency on the team right now, based on last year, this summer and going into camp. I donít think thereís a real focus to break down the season and say Ďwe have to get points right now because theyíre going to be tough to get later.í But I think thereís an urgency that should be there right now, getting to our game and coming back home for our third home game. We havenít got a win here yet, so I think thereís going to be some urgency to get back to winning games here and making this a tough place to play.